Chlorophyll for Weight Loss

Fresh green lettuce
Fresh leafy greens. (Image: Torsakarin/iStock/Getty Images)

Chlorophyll is what gives plants a green color. Proponents claim it can help with everything from increasing your energy level to lowering your risk of cancer, but scientific evidence for these and other uses, including weight loss, is limited. It's also possible to get too much chlorophyll, and it can cause some side effects, so speak to your doctor before adding chlorophyll to your daily routine.

Alkaline Diet and Chlorophyll

Proponents claim that chlorophyll can make your body more alkaline, which may be one reason people think it helps with weight loss. The alkaline diet limits acid-forming foods, such as red and processed meats, fried foods, sugary snacks and alcohol, and instead encourages alkaline foods, such as vegetables, almonds, soy products, lentils, unsweetened fresh fruits and sprouted grains. Some people take this too far in the hopes of increasing weight loss and other beneficial effects, according to an article on the ABC 2 website, and take supplements, such as chlorophyll, or drink baking soda to make the body more alkaline. This can actually backfire and cause the body to be too alkaline.

Calorie Considerations

Whether you follow the alkaline diet or try just adding chlorophyll supplements to your diet in the hopes of losing weight, you won't achieve significant and lasting results unless you watch your portion sizes and cut calories. Even healthy foods can cause weight gain or limit weight loss if you eat too much of them.

Food Versus Supplements

Studies are lacking when it comes to whether chlorophyll itself can lead to weight loss, but eating more chlorophyll-rich foods may help. These foods tend to be low in energy density, or calories per gram, which means you can eat a lot of them without eating very many calories. This may help some people lose weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, because they can fill up without going over their recommended calorie allotment. Examples of chlorophyll-rich foods include spinach, parsley, bok choy, sugar peas, green beans and arugula.

Potential Risks

Chlorophyll is generally considered safe and nontoxic. However, ingesting a large amount of chlorophyll could cause chlorophyll poisoning, which can lead to diarrhea, stomach cramps and loose bowel movements. Chlorophyll can also make your tongue look black or yellow or turn your feces or urine green and cause mild itching, according to MedlinePlus. Pregnant women shouldn't use chlorophyll supplements because they haven't been proven safe for this group, the Linus Pauling Institute warns.

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