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Originally published August 6 2004

The Palm Springs Diet Promises to Help You Lose Weight, But Does It Really Work?

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

Following the popularity of the Hamptons Diet and the South Beach Diet, a new diet product is emerging on the market called the Palm Springs Diet. This isn't a book, but rather a product that promises to help people lose weight by taking nutritional supplements. But does the Palm Springs Diet really work? Are the ingredients in the supplement known to promote fat loss? Let's take a closer look and find out.

The three primary ingredients in the Palm Springs Diet are chitosan, capsaicin, and gingko biloba. First, looking at chitosan, it's easy to see how this could help some people lose weight, because chitosan is a natural fiber derived from shellfish that absorbs fat and prevents your body from turning dietary fat into body fat. I've talked about chitosan for many years and even promoted its use under certain circumstances.

Chitosan is great for absorbing bad fats that you don't want your body to digest. Those bad fats include fried foods and hydrogenated oils -- which are commonly found in cookies, crackers, and margarine products at the grocery store. So chitosan all by itself can aid in weight loss, but it is certainly not a magic bullet solution, because you can still overeat the wrong kinds of foods and gain plenty of pounds, especially if you avoid physical exercise.

The next ingredient on the list is capsaicin. This herb is being used in this formula as an appetite suppressant, but capsaicin is better known for being an intestinal cleanser and for stimulating circulation in the internal organs. As a weight loss supplement, capsaicin is not especially well-proven. In fact, there are far superior ingredients that could be used in a weight-loss supplement. So capsaicin seems to be an interesting ingredient, but certainly not a major promoter of weight loss.

The third ingredient is gingko biloba, an herb that is best known for enhancing mental clarity and blood circulation in the brain. Gingko is a well-documented herb that has been used around the world for thousands of years, and it is frequently used in a variety of nutritional supplements formulas today. But as a weight loss herb, I don't think gingko has tremendous potential. Again, there are many other medicinal herbs that offer far more power in terms of appetite suppression and weight loss than gingko biloba.

So these are the three ingredients in the Palm Springs Diet product, and dieters are advised to take two pills before each meal, three times a day. It is being marketed as a very easy diet, something that's easy to follow and doesn't require a lot of thinking or planning in the same way as the Atkins Diet or other low-carb diets. However, I see a very big problem with this Palm Springs Diet: if it doesn't require people to alter their food choice and engage in physical exercise, I can guarantee you that it won't make you lose weight.

If you're taking chitosan, capsaicin and gingko biloba, but still consuming high-fat foods in massive quantities and combining that with high-carbohydrate foods (which this product does not protect against in any way), there's no question you're going to continue to gain weight. For example, this product would make virtually no difference whatsoever on your body's reaction to the consumption of soft drinks or processed foods made with large amounts of added sugars or refined white flour. Those products will still spike your insulin and blood sugar levels and will still result in your body storing additional body fat, meaning that you gain weight. Chitosan doesn't interfere at all with the digestion of carbohydrates.

Even worse, the directions for the Palm Springs Diet are to take these chitosan supplements before each and every meal, and that means that chitosan could actually interfere with the absorption of important fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins D and E. So the frequent consumption of chitosan could actually cause nutritional deficiencies in people following this Palm Springs Diet. This is why in the past, even when I've recommended chitosan, I've only recommended it as an emergency defensive supplement, to be taken only on those rare occasions when you consume undesired fats, such as milkfats found in ice cream, or hydrogenated oils in margarine, or the saturated fats found in red meat.

But you don't want to be taking chitosan on a regular basis, because it will interfere with the nutrients that need fat to be absorbed in your body. Chitosan will also, of course, interfere with the absorption of any good fats you might have in your diet. If you're eating foods made with extra-virgin olive oil, extra-virgin coconut oil, or various omega-3 oils, this chitosan will interfere with their absorption, inhibiting the positive health effects that these oils provide. These oils are especially important for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and preventing heart disease. Taking chitosan will block your absorption of these healthy oils, and, in a sense, prevent the prevention of heart disease in your body.

The Palm Springs Diet plan doesn't say much about eating healthy and engaging in physical exercise. It appears to be primarily a supplement, and this supplement is, as I have explained here, not likely to help many people lose weight in the long-term. Even worse, it may compromise their health by creating nutritional deficiencies and interfering with the absorption of healthy fats. The bottom line is that I don't recommend the Palm Springs Diet supplement products. As you know, I do recommend quite a few nutritional supplements, and I take many supplements myself, so I am not in any way biased against nutritional supplements like many doctors and some nutritionists are. In fact, I think it is impossible to be a healthy human being without supplementing your diet in one way or another. However, supplementing with chitosan, capsaicin and gingko biloba before each meal is not at all a good way to lose weight or provide your body with optimum nutrition.

Furthermore, the fact that this diet does not focus on food choice and the importance of physical exercise leads me to believe that it is really just a product sales gimmick, and not really a system that will help most people lose weight and keep it off for life. If you really want to lose weight, you have to do three basic things. The first is to avoid the foods that cause obesity. The second is to consume the foods that provide optimum nutrition and promote healthy body weight (like supergreens foods), and the third thing is to engage in regular physical exercise. The Palm Springs Diet, in my opinion, does none of these three.


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