Weight Loss in a Bottle?

More Like Money Loss in a Bottle, According to Nutrition Action Healthletter


"Step off the scale and into the CortiSlim lifestyle!" screams the front page of "When everyday stress holds you back from looking and feeling your best, positive change is within your reach when you commit to live the CortiSlim Lifestyle."

That "CortiSlim lifestyle," however, bilks consumers for millions by making baseless claims for overpriced pills, according to an article in the May issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter, the 900,000-circulaton newsletter published by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

Along with a stable full of similarly named competitors, CortiSlim is a dietary supplement that promises to make pounds melt away by suppressing cortisol, a hormone that, among other things, helps keep blood pressure up during traumatizing events. But there's no good evidence to suggest that the ingredients in CortiSlim help lower cortisol levels, or that lowering cortisol levels even helps promote weight loss, according to CSPI.

"CortiSlim may not melt away unwanted pounds, but it can very efficiently melt away unwanted dollars," said CSPI senior nutritionist David Schardt. Taking CortiSlim as directed can cost up to $5 a day.

Another weight-control claim CSPI examines is that of Enova, a new cooking oil produced by Archer Daniels Midland. The company maintains that more of this blend of modified canola and soybean oils is burned as energy and less is stored as fat. According to CSPI, Enova doesn't boost metabolism, so if the body doesn't store it in fat cells, it's going to store something else there instead. "At two or three times the price of regular vegetable oils like olive or canola, Enova is not the answer to the obesity epidemic," says Schardt.

CSPI also examines supplements containing conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which over the years has been variously touted as a cancer fighter, a weight-loss promoter, and a fat burner. One new Norwegian study found that one brand of CLA, Tonalin CLA, might indeed help people lose a few pounds over one year, at least for a few months. The same study, though, shows worrying changes in blood chemistry that could signal increased risk of heart disease and stroke. CSPI's advice? Until researchers show that CLA works and is safe, don't try it.

Published ten times a year, Nutrition Action Healthletter is famous for its exposés of the nutritional content of restaurant meals, and other foods. Introductory subscriptions cost $10 and can be ordered online at

Contact Info: 

Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at] or Ariana Stone (astone[at]