Have you heard the TV and radio commercials for Right Size Smoothies? If yes, you may have been intrigued by the claims that Right Size smoothies contain an “all natural, appetite suppressant clinically proven to knock out hunger”. I was intrigued too and that is why I decided to do some digging and see if there was any scientific proof for using this product over just making your own smoothie. Also see my 2015 review of Right Size Smoothies for more information.
Smoothies And Weight Loss
Generally I like the idea of using a smoothie to help curb appetite. Smoothies, if made correctly, tend to be light and buoyant. This means that they tend to fill you up while not containing many calories. This part about being “low calorie” is critical for any smoothie.
Weight loss boils down to one thing and one thing only – cutting calories. Any smoothie that is not low in calories is not going to help with weight loss. To their credit, Right Size Health and Nutrition (the company that makes Right Size Smoothies) actually mentions this fact on their website (RightSizeOnline.com) and quote a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a well respected peer-review medical journal that shows weight loss is more about calories than carbs, protein or fat intake.
Right Size Smoothies contains about 100 calories per scoop (that’s 29 grams or about 1 oz) so, it’s fairly low in calories.
Also, to their credit, the company, points out that:
- There is no “magic bullet” for weight loss
- That weight loss is a “personal journey” and…
- That there is no “one size fits all program”
I like these statements because they are in line with the facts.
So, what can we say about these smoothies? What follows is what I could dig up on the product and, as far as I know, this is one of the first unbiased reviews of Right Size Smoothie.
What is Appemine?
According to the advertisements, the active ingredient in Right Size Smoothies is a product called Appemine. You must remember that while the word, Appemine, sounds like a drug, it is not.
Rather, Appemine is a name the company has given to its proprietary blend of ingredients. I know this because when I searched the National Library of Medicine (pubmed.com) for the word “Appemine” no studies were found that contained the word Appemine.
Also, when I did a Google search for “Appemine” the only stuff I saw had to do with Right Size Smoothies. That tells me, the company created the name. There is nothing wrong with this, it’s just marketing. Appemine sounds a lot like the word appetite. I'm guessing that’s why the name was chosen.
As an aside, I’ve always found it interesting that people who take supplements tend to be very much opposed to taking prescription medications; yet, supplement companies sometimes give their products drug-like sounding names. I guess this a way to boost consumer confidence in a products potency? In other words, if it sounds like a drug, people may think the FDA has reviewed it for effectiveness? I'm not sure and this is just an observation on my part. Take it for what it is.
Appemine is not a single product but is actually composed of the following ingredients, according to the company’s website:
- Cinnamon twig
- Galangal root
- Cayenne pepper fruit
- White willow bark
- 50 mg of caffeine
I'm going to assume that the ingredients are listed in order of greatest quantity to lowest since that is how things are usually listed on food labels. If my assumption is correct, then guarana is found in the highest amount, followed by fiber, cinnamon twig, and so on.
Let’s review the weight loss evidence for these ingredients individually: This is the only way we have to determine if Appemine works because, to my knowledge, there is no peer-reviewed evidence published for Appemine itself.
The company’s website mentions “our research” of Appemine but does not list where the research is published. A “pilot study” (preliminary study) is also mentioned is but again, nowhere can we see where that study is published.
Right Size Smoothie Ingredients
This is a caffeine containing plant that shows up frequently in weight loss products. There is at least one study that guarana can help weight loss but it’s in combination with other products (not found in Right Size Smoothies). I found no peer-reviewed studies showing that guarana alone (or in combination with other ingredients in Appemine) is effective for weight loss. Nevertheless, caffeine may make people feel more awake (it does!) and a more awake person may do more physical activity, which burns more calories. That makes sense to me.
The website also says that Right Size Smoothies contain 50 mg of caffeine. It’s not clear from if this 50 mg of caffeine is in addition to the caffeine contained in guarana or not. Even though the website says Right Size Smoothies will not make you jittery, those who are sensitive to caffeine should be cautious.
Guarana is also known to interact with several medications (like blood thinner drugs for example) so check with your doctor before using.
Fiber may help with weight loss because fiber has no calories and fills people up. So, this makes sense. Right Size Smoothies contain about 5 grams of fiber per serving. Remember there are 28 grams in 1 ounce. So, your not getting a lot of fiber but every little bit helps I suppose.
This is basically the spice cinnamon which some research (but not all of it) hints may help lower blood sugar levels. It turns out that most studies show that cinnamon does not lower blood sugar. If you don’t believe me, here is a study you can read for yourself:
Cinnamon is generally considered safe but there is some concern that in high amounts it may damage the liver. I don’t think there is much cinnamon in Right Size Smoothies but to be safe, those with liver issues should see their doctor before using the product.
This is a type of ginger. I could not find any peer reviewed studies supporting its use with weight loss.
Cayenne Pepper Fruit
Cayenne pepper contains Capsicum, which is the chemical that burns your mouth when you eat peppers. I'm guessing that cayenne was added to the product because of the theory that spicy foods might raise metabolic rate and help speed /promote weight loss.
Whether or not this is true (I'm not convinced), I'm going to guess that the amount contained in Right Size Smoothies is not enough to do much good since cayenne is not listed as one of the top ingredients, meaning it may not contain much of this chemical. Also, the idea of a spicy weight loss drink may not appeal to everybody.
In theory cayenne may interact with blood thinner medications but again I think the possibility of this is low. Still, get your doctors OK if you use blood thinner medications because it doesn't take much off something to alter the way blood thinners work.
White Willow Bark
This is actually a compound that is related to aspirin. Specifically, white willow bark is metabolized to aspirin in the body. White willow bark frequently shows up in weight loss products because of a belief that it works synergistically with caffeine – and ephedrine.
Bodybuilders know this combination as “ECA” which stands for ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin. There is however no ephedrine in Right Size Smoothie (that’s good!). Ephedrine is a banned substance in America. I'm guessing they added white willow bark to the product because the company feels it will help weight loss even without ephedrine. I could not locate any proof one way or another on this.
Because aspirin is a known and potent blood thinner, people who are using blood thinner medications should see their doctor or pharmacist before using Right Size Smoothies. Even though there is probably very little white willow bark in the product, even a little may be enough to “over thin” the blood resulting in disastrous consequences. Likewise, those with kidney/liver issues should also speak their doctor first.
Persons sensitive to aspirin should avoid Right Size Smoothies. One case report exists where severe, life threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) occurred in a woman after using a supplement containing white willow bark.
On other websites I see people saying that Right Size Smoothies contain bitter orange (also called Citrus aurantium) which is an ephedra look-a-like compound. This is not true. Right Size Smoothies do not contain bitter orange. That’s a good thing because bitter orange raises blood pressure and heart rate.
Of all the ingredients in Appemine, caffeine has the most evidence for weight loss. The problem however is that most of the research is on the combination of caffeine + ephedrine (which is currently banned from supplements in America).
Also the research on caffeine (in combination with ephedrine) tends to use more than the 50 mg of caffeine found in Right Size Smoothie. For example, one study of caffeine (and ephedrine) used almost 200 mg!
Caffeine would be expected to make a person more alert. As mentioned previously, this might lead to more physical activity performed and hence, more calories used.
Caffeine also has a mild fat burning effect. The fact that most studies combine caffeine with other products (like ephedrine) is a testament to its less than spectacular solo effect on weight loss.
Because Right Size Smoothies contain caffeine they should be avoided several hours before bed otherwise they may cause insomnia. Caffeine can also raise heart rate and blood pressure. Caffeine also can have multiple drug interactions so it’s always wise to consult your doctor before using any caffeine containing products.
Some have suggested that caffeine may be inappropriate for those with diabetes because of thoughts that it may make the body less able to respond to the hormone, insulin. I wanted to mention it just in case any diabetics are reading this.
While not touted on the website very much, Right Size Smoothies contain about 9 grams of protein per serving.That's not a lot (remember there are 28 grams in 1 ounce).
Protein might help curb appetite because it takes longer to be digested and we humans tend to work harder (metabolically speaking) to assimilate protein; This bumps up metabolism a little bit and is the reason protein is found in many weight loss shakes and diets.
Lack of protein can contribute to sarcopenia (loss of muscle that occurs as we get older). I am, admittedly, considering a worst case scenario but I wanted to mention it because as a personal trainer whose oldest “client” was my 104 year old grandmother, I’ve seen what happens when people do not eat enough calories and/or protein.
Because of the lack of calories and protein, Right Size Smoothies should not be used as a meal replacement by older adults whose goal is not weight loss.
Calories, Calories, Calories!
When you use Right Size Smoothies, the website recommends replacing 2 meals a day with 2 smoothies. So, you could have a smoothie for breakfast and a smoothie for lunch and a regular dinner.
Each Right Size Smoothie has about 100 calories. Suppose you ate a dinner that was 1000 calories (which is a lot by the way).
1000 calories for dinner
200 calories (from 2 Right Size Smoothies)
= 1200 calories per day
That’s actually less calories than many people eat in a day.
So, are you losing weight because of anything special about Appemeine or are you losing weight because you are eating fewer calories?
Even the Right Size Smoothie website says it all boils down to calories in the end, so I think you have your answer.
We have heard this “replace one or two meals a day and eat a sensible dinner” statement before haven’t we? This is the same reasoning used by Slim-Fast for their diet! Remember the “Special K Diet” where you eat a bowl of Special K cereal at breakfast and lunch and a regular dinner? Special K doesn’t have many calories either (unless you eat the whole box at once!).
I not trying to drag Slim-Fast or Special K through the mud. Rather I want to point out that others have used the same logic in the past. Slim Fast, Special K, Right Size Smoothie and others all work on the same premise: they get you to eat less calories. The logic is sound and it will work. But what about after you go off the diet?
If by now you think I'm slamming Right Size Smoothies, technically I not. I just want to give you all the facts and arm you with more information than you would get if you simply listened to the commercials.
I think if people do what the company recommends than yes, I'm pretty sure Right Size Smoothies will promote weight loss. The same is also true for:
- Special K
- The Atkins diet
- The Cookie Diet
- The Grapefruit Diet
- Eating 2 Subway sandwiches a day
- Body by Vi shakes
- Herbalife Formula 1 shakes
Or any other calorie restriction program
Also, once people stop reducing calories and go back to eating like before, than the weight will come back very fast. One of the reasons for this is because of an elevation in an enzyme called glycogen synthase. This enzyme helps you store glycogen – your storage form of carbohydrates.
When you reduce calories, your body starts to use its glycogen (carbohydrates) to maintain your energy levels. To compensate, your body raises the concentration of the glycogen synthase enzyme so that when you eat normally again, glycogen is made very fast.
Glycogen loss will also help explain any quick weight loss you see with Right Size Smoothies (or any other diet). As you deplete your glycogen levels, you free up a lot of water in your body. This is why you may have noticed frequent trips to the bathroom during the first several days of any diet.
How Much Does Right Size Smoothies Cost?
Currently, Right Size Smoothies cost just over $50 per container if you buy it from the product website. Each container has 30 servings. So, if you make two Right Size Smoothies per day, a container will last you about two and a half weeks. That means, you’ll pay about $100 a month. You may be able to get it cheaper as some supermarkets and chain drug stores now carry Right Size Smoothie.
Here is Right Size Smoothies on Amazon for those who want to compare prices.
Here is the smoothie recipe I make myself in my kitchen.
Other Right Size Products:
There are other products I see on the Right Size Smoothie website that you should be aware of.
1. Weight Loss Water. Generally speaking, water is water and has zero calories. The Weight Loss Water they are selling contains 50 mg of caffeine, 5 grams of fiber, some fish oil and other stuff reviewed above plus the mineral chromium picolinate which is useless for weight loss. Also this so- called “slimming water” contains 15 calories per serving. So it has more calories than tap water! How is that going to help? My advise: use tap or bottled water and save the money.
2. “Nutritional Supplements” At this time the Right Size Smoothie website lists several supplements that people can purchase. These currently include:
a. A green tea supplement that contains Appemine
b. A multi-vitamin that contains Appemine.
Ok, here is the scoop on green tea. Drink the tea and forget the green tea supplements. I review green tea in my book,Nutritional Supplements: What Works and Why if you want to know more.
As for the multivitamin, has it been tested to see if it curbs appetite?As far as I can see, it has not.
They also sell sugar free syrups. Sugar free does not mean calorie free.
In my opinion, these supplements and other products are just added profit centers to help the company make more money.
I have nothing against capitalism and free enterprise. I just dont see any advantage to these other products. If you’re going to choose just one product to use, stick to Right Size Smoothie mix and forget the other products.
Does Right Size Smoothie Raise Cholesterol?
What you are reading on this site is an updated version of my original review of Right Size Smoothes I wrote in 2009. One of the comments made on that original review was from a person who said Right Size Smoothies raised her bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. I have seen comments like this elsewhere on the web (even on the Right Size Smoothies website too!). I'm not sure if Right Size Smoothie will do this or not but to be safe, get your cholesterol checked by your doctor when you use right size smoothie just in case. Here is my original Right Size Smoothies review with ALL of the comments
Do Right Size Smoothies Work?
Based on the evidence and rational thinking, I draw these conclusions about Right Size Smoothies:
1. Appemine is a made-up name. Appemine is not a drug or supplement. It is composed of several ingredients.
2. There is no peer-reviewed clinical evidence published on Appemine as an appetite suppressor in humans.
3. The evidence in support of most of Appemine’s ingredients is either lacking or very little. At this time, there does not seem to be any published peer-reviewed evidence that the combination of ingredients in Appemine promotes weight loss in humans.
4. There appears to be no published peer-reviewed evidence in humans or animals that compares Right Size Smoothies to any other weight loss product or drug proving that it is equal or superior at promoting weight loss.
5. Cutting calories by using of Right Size Smoothies – or any other low calorie meal replacement product – will likely promote weight loss.
6. Cheaper meal replacement products exist that will probably do the same thing.
7. The weight that is lost through Right Size Smoothies (or any other low calorie eating plan) is likely to return once the diet has stopped.
8. Consumers can probably due without using the added supplements marketed on the website.
Overall, I don’t think Right Size Smoothies are bad. In comparison to most of the other weight loss products I see advertised, the claims made for the product are tame and, as I said previously, I like how the makers of the product take the high road and discuss calories as the key to weight loss.
I just don’t see any good proof that the ingredients in Right Size Smoothies are superior to anything else-including my personal smoothie recipe . Considering the price of the product, I want to see published peer-reviewed proof that Right Size Smoothies do what it’s supposed to do. Testimonials are not enough for me. Demanding published, peer reviewed proof (even if it’s conducted by the maker of the product) is the only way we will know whether a nutritional supplement really works.
For those who are interested, here is Right Size Smoothies on Amazon.