What is skinny fiber and does it work? To me, the name skinny fiber is funny because I thought all fiber was supposed to help people lose weight. I did some digging into Skinny Fiber and discovered what this weight loss supplement contains and the research on its ingredients. As I researched this product I heard a lot of talk a lot about enzymes helping people lose weight, but is it really the enzymes in Skinny Fiber or is it something else? In this review, I’m going to break Skinny Fiber down to its individual ingredients – and show you the research on those ingredients – and in doing so, hopefully help you see if it might be right for you.
Who Makes Skinny Fiber?
On the product website (SkinnyBodyCare.com) I saw no name for the company that makes the product. I found that strange. On the About Our Company page of the website, I see a pictures of guys in hard hats and smiling people giving me the thumbs up but nothing about the name of the company. Based on this, I assume that the name is Skinny Body Care.
I believe the pictures of guys in hard hats on the website are stock photos and are not representative of how the company looks.
On the website Whois.com, I discovered that the website SkinnyBodyCare.com was created on 10/14/2009 and registered by someone named Ben Glinsky. On the product website, Mr Glinsky is listed as the “CEO and Founder” of the company. On the Whois.com page for the website, the address given for the company is 3634 Long Prairie Rd. Suite 108-113 Flower Mound, TX 75022.
As you can see from the link I provided, this is a strip mall according to Google Street view. There is nothing wrong with this, but to me, it doesn’t look like anyone in hard hats is conducting scientifically precise supplement manufacturing at this location.
On the Contact Us Page of SkinnyBodyCare.com they list another address for the company:
341 W 6100 S Murray, UT 84107. As you can see from the link I provided, this is some sort of a manufacturing facility. The address also has this part also “MS #1420.” I’m not sure what “MS” stands for.
As an aside I will mention that this is the same address listed as the location of the company that makes the testosterone booster supplement called Nugenix. See my review of Nugenix for more information. I believe the Murray Utah address is where supplements are shipped from or perhaps made and shipped?
Update (10/9/15): There are several addresses now listed on the SkinnyBodyCare.com website. The US address now listed is: 423 Bussen Underground Rd St. Louis, MO 63129. This address corresponds to United Fulfillment Solutions. My guess is that this is where the product ships from.
Skinny Body Care has a rating of “F” according to the Better Business Bureau file as of 7/16/14 (check the BBB file for updates on the rating). All complaints were resolved according to the BBB. The BBB lists this contact phone number for Skinny Body Care : 817-479-9198. See the BBB file for more information and the nature of the complaints.
The Skinny Fiber Lawsuit
I was made aware of a lawsuit involving Mr. Glinsky, founder of Skinny Body Care, via someone who left a comment below. It appears to involve another company called Master Strategies LLC which its said, owns the trademark to Skinny Fiber. Instead of going into detail here I’ll just refer you to the bloggers website where you can read more about this.
Skinny Fiber And Weight Loss
On the page of the products website (SkinnyBodyCare.com) called “3 for free” a page that tells how people can get 3 bottles of Skinny Fiber for free, they say “studies prove that when you use Skinny Fiber with others, it helps all of you stick with it and get results.”
But, there are no published peer reviewed studies on Skinny Fiber, so who is to is to say Skinny Fiber works better with a friend who also takes? I believe there are no studies on Skinny Fiber because if studies existed, I assume they would be listed on product website.
Even if there are no studies on Skinny Fiber itself, there are weight loss studies on some of the ingredients. So let’s now take a look at them to see what we can discover.
Skinny Fiber Ingredients
According to the label I’ve seen, each bottle has 60 capsules and a serving size of the product is 2 capsules. In 2 capsules, there are the following ingredients:
|% Daily Value|
|Total Fat 0 grams||<1%|
|Total Carbohydrate 1 gram||<1%|
|Protein 0 grams||<1%|
|Sodium 5 grams||<1%|
|Proprietary Blend 1160 mg||N/A|
|Glucomannan (tuber) powder|
|Caralluma fimbriata (whole plant) powder|
|Cha de Burge (leaf) powder|
|Proprietary Enzyme Blend 260 mg||N/A|
N/A = no daily value established
Other ingredients: Gelatin capsule, microcrystalline cellulose and magnesium stearate
Let’s look at each ingredient separately.
Glucomannan (also called Konjac root) is a fiber that helps people feel full. It’s in many weight loss products I’ve previously investigated including:
This fiber is added to weight loss supplements because there is indeed some research that shows glucomannan can help weight loss. Studies usually use about 1 to 3 grams per day. Two capsules of skinny fiber have a 1.15 grams total of its proprietary blend of ingredients. Since glucomannan is listed first in the blends ingredients, I take that to mean it is mostly glucomannan but how much skinny fiber actually contains I do not know.
Also see my review of Metamucil and weight loss for more insights.
This ingredient can also be found in other weight loss supplements including Healthe Trim that I previously reviewed.
In 2013, a study titled A pilot study investigating the effect of Caralluma fimbriata extract on the risk factors of metabolic syndrome in overweight and obese subjects: a randomised controlled clinical trial researchers noted that Caralluma fimbriata (1 gram per day for 9 weeks) caused a 2.2 inch reduction in waist circumference relative to a placebo as well as decrease in waist to hip ratio. Those who received Caralluma fimbriata also appeared to have a decrease for the smell, taste and look of food. That of course, could lead people to eat less.
Tip. A pilot study is a “baby study.” Researchers start with pilot studies to see if their is a reason to perform a larger study with more people.
In a 2007 study of 50 men and women that lasted 60 days, titled Effect of Caralluma fimbriata extract on appetite, food intake and anthropometry in adult Indian men and women, those who received 1 gram of Caralluma fimbriata per day were noted to have a significant reduction in waist circumference and hunger levels compared to those who received a placebo.
In 2010 a study titled the Antiobesogenic and Antiatherosclerotic Properties of Caralluma fimbriata Extract noted that rates which were given Caralluma fimbriata experienced less food intake and reduced body weight gain compared to rats that did not receive Caralluma fimbriata.This was a study of an extract of Caralluma fimbriata but the study does not say which specific extract of the herb was used.
Chá de Bugre
Also called Cordia ecalyculata and Cordia salicifolia. The Skinny Fiber website says that Chá de Bugre can “support a healthy metabolism” and is an “appetite suppressant.” So, I searched the National Library of Medicine for:
- Chá de Bugre weight loss
- Chá de Bugre obesity
- Cordia ecalyculata weight loss
- Cordia ecalyculata obesity
- Cordia ecalyculata appetite
I found no human evidence that Chá de Bugre helps people lose weight. I also saw no evidence that this stuff fights cellulite either.
The only research I found was a 2010 mouse study titled Evaluation of the genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of crude extracts of Cordia ecalyculata and Echinodorus grandiflorus noting that as much as 2000 mg per kilogram did not reduce body weight or food consumption.
Mice and humans are different, but any way you slice it, 2000 mg per kilogram of body weight is a LOT more Chá de Bugre than is in any weight loss supplement!
Chá de Bugre is a popular ingredient in so-called Brazilian diet pills, but I have to ask the question why, if there is no evidence it works ―and some evidence it might not work―why is this stuff in a weight loss supplement?
The Chá de Bugre ingredient concerns. If you looked closely at that study I linked to, you saw the words “cytotoxic” and “genotoxic.” See the side effects section for more on Chá de Bugre.
The Enzyme Blend
On the Skinny Fiber website they say:
“The biggest CHALLENGE to losing weight is that most of us are NOT getting enough enzymes from our food to properly DIGEST what we eat.“
But, they give us no proof for this statement.
The label says that 2 capsules of Skinny Fiber is said to contain 260 mg of the following enzymes:
- Amylase (carbohydrate digesting enzyme)
- Protease (protein digesting enzyme)
- Lipase (fat digesting enzyme
- Glucoamylase (sugar digesting enzyme)
- Papain (protein digesting enzyme)
- Cellulase (carbohydrate digesting enzyme)
- Bromelain (protein digesting enzyme)
So, do any of these enzymes help people lose weight? I am not aware of any proof that enzymes help weight loss.
The thing to remember is that enzymes that are eaten are quickly destroyed by the acidity of the stomach soon after they are consumed.
Just to double check, I searched the National Library of Medicine for these terms:
- Enzymes and weight loss
- Enzymes and obesity
If studies exist, these search terms should reveal them.
I saw no studies to support the claim that lack of enzymes are the “biggest challenge” facing weight loss. Likewise, I saw no studies showing that enzyme supplements promote weight loss either.
So, if there is no proof that enzymes help weight loss, why is the Skinny Fiber company saying enzymes do this? Where is the proof?
I don’t think they have any proof. I think all the talk about enzymes is just good marketing. The logic here is if people think something is new or different, they might give it a try.
If anyone can show me proof that the enzymes in skinny fiber cause weight loss in people, please let me know and I will gladly update this review.
How Much Sodium?
If you looked closely at the label above, you saw that 2 capsules contained “5 grams” of sodium, which the label also indicates is less than 1% of the Daily Value for sodium. Since I know the Daily Value for sodium is really 1500 mg to 2300 mg (1.5 to 2.3 grams) this would mean Skinny Fiber actually exceeds the daily value by a LOT.
My instinct is that this is a probably label typo and that the product really has only 5 mg of sodium rather than 5 grams. If this is a typo, then it needs to be addressed by the company.
If I am wrong, and Skinny Fiber really has 5 grams of sodium (in only 2 capsules), then people with heart disease, high blood pressure and kidney issues need to be aware of this and consult their doctors because this is way too much for most people.
Ingredients That Might Work
Looking at the research on each of the ingredients in Skinny Fiber, I see two ingredients that might help people lose weight
- Caralluma fimbriata
And, of those two ingredients, I think glucomannan has the most evidence.
Ingredients That Probably Don’t Work
I see no good weight loss evidence for the following ingredients in Skinny Fiber
- Chá de Bugre
If anyone becomes aware of evidence for any of these ingredients, please share in the comments below so I can look at it. I’ll be happy to amend my review as new information comes to light.
Skinny Fiber And The Balancing Act
On January 22, 2014, Skinny Fiber was featured on the The Balancing Act, a TV show on the LifeTime Network. The interview featured Ben Glinsky, the CEO of Skinny Fiber and Kayla Ballog, who lost 40 pounds while taking the product. I looked up Kayla. She has a facebook page where she lists under “contact information” SkinnyBodyCare and other websites related to skinny fiber. Kayla is a Skinny Fiber distributor. There is nothing wrong with this, but it was not mentioned in the Balancing Act segment.
In the Balancing Act interview, when speaking about why Kayla was able to 40 pounds, Mr Glinski said:
“The reason that this product was able to work is because the enzymes were able to get her body in a condition where losing weight was possible.”
Enzymes? But, as I’ve already pointed out, there is no proof that enzymes cause people to lose weight. In fact, the very name – “Skinny Fiber” – tells you that it’s not the enzymes that are causing weight loss. It’s the fiber.
Think about it, they don’t call it “Skinny Enzymes” do they? When in doubt, the simple answer is usually the correct answer. As I see it, the simple answer is that Skinny Fiber is a fiber supplement.
Unfortunately, Danielle Knox did not ask what enzymes in Skinny Fiber promoted weight loss.
Kayla mentioned during the interview that she doesn’t exercise and yet still was able to lose 40 pounds. While I am happy for her accomplishment, I must say that when people go on a diet ―and don’t exercise― they lose both fat and muscle. When people exercise while dieting, they lose mostly fat and only a little muscle. This is important because muscle fibers that are lost (die) do not come back. This is why they say exercise is part of a healthy weight loss program.
I’m disappointed that even Danielle Knox, who conducted the interview, looked down on exercise. Hey Danielle, weight loss without exercise is not healthy.
On Feb 5, 2014 Skinny Fiber was featured again on another episode of The Balancing Act. Seeing two Skinny Fiber segments on the same TV show in less than a month got me curious.
So, I called The Balancing Act to to learn more.
I was told that the segments seen on the Balancing Act are called “Branded Entertainment Segments.” In other words, the segments feature different brands (products) in a way that is meant to both inform and entertain people.
When I called The Balancing Act, I was told that while the Skinny Fiber segments are not “infomercials,” the featured companies do pay a “pre production fee” prior to being on the show.
I was also told told that companies that do not pay this pre production fee would probably not be featured on The Balancing Act.
So how is this not an infomercial?
In both infomercials and branded entertainment segments, there is an upfront cost to be paid and no tough questions asked about the product. The only difference I see is that we all know an infomercial when we see it.
I’d bet most people did not know the Skinny Fiber segments were paid segments.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this partnership between companies and broadcast media. I bring this up for those who didn’t know what they were watching.
Protandim has also been featured on The Balancing Act so see that review for more information.
The 90 Day Challenge
There is a Skinny Fiber 90 Day Challenge. To quote Ben Glinsky, in the Balancing Act interview, the reason for the 90 day challenge is that:
“the enzymes that we have in this product have to build in your body and until your body gets healthy enough with those enzymes to be able to let go of that extra fat, losing weight is almost impossible.”
What enzymes is he talking about? He doesn’t tell us.
In my opinion, the reason for the Skinny Fiber 90 Day Challenge is to get people doing something on a regular basis. If they do something regularly, it becomes a habit. If people spend 90 days trying to lose weight, many of those people will be successful to some extent.
Many weight loss companies have had a “challenge” that lasts about 90 days or so. In my opinion ,this can all be traced back to the book, Body For Life by Bill Philips, which got people to exercise, eat well and take supplements made by EAS (Bill Philips was the owner of EAS). It was a win for people because many lost weight and it was a win for EAS because they made a lot of money from people who purchased their supplements. For those who are curious, the supplement company, EAS, was later purchased by Abbot Labs, a pharmaceutical company.
Let’s do the math for those who are thinking about doing the Skinny Fiber 90 day Challenge:
1 Bottle of skinny fiber costs $59.95. 1 Bottle has 120 capsules which is a 1 month supply.
59.95 X 3 months = $179.95 plus shipping and handling to send it to you.
I still believe glucomannan is the active ingredient in in Skinny Fiber. And Glucomannan is a lot less expensive. I don’t believe enzymes have anything to do with how the product works.
How Many Per Day?
Most distributors advocate taking Skinny Fiber at least 30 minutes before eating. Take with 1 -2 glasses of water. As for how many capsules per day to use, since Skinny Fiber has no clinical proof, I feel its anyone’s guess. Remember, clinical research on individual ingredients (like glucommanan for example) does not always equate to clinical proof for the product (in this case, Skinny Fiber).
I feel, as with any new supplement, its best to start with less than is recommended. For example, starting with only 1 pill per day for the first week, followed by 2 pills the following week, and so on until reaching what the company recommends. I have seen some distributors advocate 4 capsules per day and others 6 capsules per day. When in doubt, I feel less is better.
How Much Water?
I’ve noticed some Skinny Fiber distributors putting a lot of emphasis on drinking a lot of water. Water is good although I would caution against drinking so much water that you feel bloated. While water is critical to being healthy, drinking too much is not always the best. There is a medical condition called hyponatremia (high-poe-nay-tree-me-ah). Also called “water intoxication” this condition results when too much water is consumed.
Basically all the water consumed dilutes the electrolytes in the blood. This can cause headaches, fatigue, confusion and even loss of consciousness. People have died from hyponatremia. I mention this rare condition,not to scare anyone, but to rather give people something to think about if they encounter others who place an unusually high emphasis on water while taking supplements.
Does It Contain Caffeine?
Skinny fiber has no caffeine. It is essentially a just a fiber supplement.
Does It Contain Gluten?
As far as I can tell Skinny Fiber is gluten free.
Does Skinny Fiber Contain HCG?
I see no evidence skinny fiber contains the HCG hormone. I don’t believe it does. Here is my review of HCG diet research for those who want to know more about this.
Skinny Fiber Side Effects
Because Skinny Fiber is basically a fiber supplement, I think its safe for most healthy people. That said, I was somewhat concerned by the finding that at very high levels, Chá de Bugre might break chromosomes (at least in mice).
The term used in the Chá de Bugre study I mentioned above, is “clastogenic” (class-toe-jen-ik) which is fancy-talk for something that can damage chromosomes. This isn’t good because theoretically, breaking/damaging chromosomes could lead to really bad things happening (like cancer!). The mouse study I found noted “non- significant” clastogenic effects but I want to bring this to peoples attention nonetheless.
I feel people should specifically ask their doctor and pharmacist about Cha de Burge before using it. Tell them you saw a study where it broke chromosomes in mice. Show them the study! I linked to it so you can print it up.
So, how significant is this mouse study for humans? I don’t know. What about using less than this mouse study used? I don’t know this either. Since it is listed last in the ingredients, there is not much Chá de Bugre in Skinny Fiber (that’s good). For now, I think its risks outweigh any benefits – and I can’t find any benefits for Chá de Bugre either.
So, given the fact that there is no good proof Chá de Bugre helps weight why is it in Skinny Fiber?
Skinny Fiber And Breast Feeding?
It’s wise for women who are breast feeding to ask their doctor about the supplements they take. This is because of the possibility that some supplements may pass from the mom to the baby in the breast milk. That said, my opinion is that women should not use skinny fiber while they are breastfeeding because of the Chá de Bugre ingredient.
While my rationale for this opinion is based only a mouse study, the idea of something that breaks chromosomes does not sit well with me. Babies are growing at a much faster rate than adults are. Proper cell division is required for healthy growth.
If Chá de Bugre breaks chromosomes, in mice, would this have an effect on growing babies? I have no idea – and nobody else does either. I’m not aware of any human research on this issue, but even if there was, nobody will be testing this idea in a baby to see if it happens or not. Because of this, I feel its best and wait until after you stop breast feeding if you are going to take Skinny Fiber.
How To Buy Skinny Fiber?
If you try to buy Skinny Fiber at the product website ―SkinnyBodyCare.com ―you are asked for the name of the distributor who referred you. If you do not enter the name of a distributor, you can’t buy Skinny Fiber. Part of me liked this because it means the website isn’t competing for sales with distributors. So, from a Skinny Fiber distributor point of view, this is a good thing.
Sellers of Skinny fiber have sometimes said that the products sold on Amazon are counterfeit, yet they can not prove to me that they are. I personally believe the notion of counterfeit Skinny Fiber is an internet myth, maybe invented by distributors. The idea of “counterfeit” supplements also came up during my review of Zi Xiu Tang Bee Pollen so see that review as well as the comments below for a discussion of this issue.
How to Return Skinny Fiber?
There is no customer service number listed on the Skinny Fiber website that I could locate. There is a return address of MS #1420 341 W 6100 S Murray, UT 84107, which as I stated above, appears to be where the product is shipped from. If people purchased Skinny Fiber from a distributor, I feel it’s best to get return information from the distributor rather than just send the product back for a refund. There may be extra steps needed to return the product. I would imagine that returning a product purchased on Amazon might be easier.
Does Skinny Fiber Work?
While I won’t totally rule out the possibility that Skinny Fiber might help some people lose weight, I think it’s overpriced and over-hyped. As far as I can tell Skinny Fiber is just an expensive fiber pill with active ingredients that cost less. Compare Skinny Fiber on Amazon to the ingredients that I feel are its active ingredients ―glucomannan and Caralluma fimbriata. Of these two, I believe glucomannan is the main ingredient in Skinny Fiber.
Could the same weight loss be obtained by taking only 1 or 2 of these ingredients? It would be an interesting experiment that I hope somebody tests because as I said, I think Skinny Fiber is expensive. Here is Skinny Fiber on Amazon to see what others are saying.
What do you think?