The goji berry is also commonly known as the wolfberry. It’s a small, bright red berry that’s native to Asia and Europe and is eaten either fresh or dried. In the United States, a number of fitness and nutrition companies tout the goji berry as a “superfood” and use it as an ingredient in weight-loss products that are intended to help consumers drop pounds more quickly.
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In the United States, goji berries are most commonly sold dried in bags or packages. They are about the size of raisins and range in color from light pink to red. It’s also possible to import fresh berries or buy gojis in the form of juice, smoothies, shakes or powdered nutritional supplements.
Goji berries have several significant health benefits. MyPyramid.gov states that fresh fruits and vegetables can reduce the risks of overweight and obesity as well as guard against cancer, diabetes, bone loss, kidney stones, stroke and heart disease. In a Fox News article, medical researcher Chris Kilham also states that goji berries may help to normalize immune system functions and prevent macular degeneration.
Goji berries are low in calories and rich in antioxidants, and they do contain a variety of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients that can promote health and proper nutrition. However, it’s inaccurate to believe that they can aid weight loss. Kilham calls claims of sweeping curative properties and dramatic weight loss effects related to the goji berry “wholly illegitimate” and “deceptive.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, the only method of weight loss that is safe, reliable and healthy in the long term is a combination of regular physical activity and a balanced, low-calorie diet. MyPyramid recommends daily servings of whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, lean proteins and vegetables. Goji berries can certainly be part of a healthy diet that encourages gradual weight loss, but they are no more important than any other beneficial food in the eating plan.
It’s important to fully investigate claims that any nutritional supplement or weight loss product makes before trying the item. According to Dr. Monica Zangwill in an article for the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so ads for the products may make claims that have not been supported by credible scientific research. Before using goji berries or related products as a weight loss aid, speak with your doctor.