Many women take diet pills to help increase their weight loss or maintain the losses they’ve already achieved.
Women looking to lose weight have the additional challenge of a hormonal profile that’s tilted towards keeping more fat mass on their body.
There are a lot of different diet pills for women, and they don’t all have the same efficacy. Many of them don’t work at all.
To sort out the diet pills that work from the ones that don’t, our researchers completed a comprehensive review of the options currently on the market. Here’s what we found:
LeanBean is the trendiest fat burner for women in 2020.
The premium product has success that comes from a formula specifically engineered for women, making it a morning ritual with professional bodybuilders and Instagram models.
LeanBean has a formula designed to control diet (suppressant) while accelerating metabolism as well (like many thermogenics). The result is faster weight loss allowing for increased fat burning all over the body. No harmful additives. All natural.
How it works
Each serving of Leanbean is stuffed with garcinia cambogia, green tea, green coffee, turmeric, cayenne pepper, konjac, and chromium.
The result: Better energy and strength as well as a lower body fat percentage.
Our verdict: The premium (and most effective) diet pill for women we’ve seen.
And results like these, as shown by these LeanBean users:
(Tip: choose the 3-month pack so you can save money and get a month free)
PhenQ is an all-in-one weight loss formulation that targets multiple elements of the weight-loss process.
At 142.5 mg per serving, it packs in a bit more caffeine than some of the other options on our list. So this may make an excellent choice if you tend to need an extra ‘boost’ to get you through the day as well.
Although it’s not specifically targeted for women, it has been proven to be super effective for both women and men.
In addition to helping with fat burning, it also works to stop fat production, suppress appetite, boost energy levels, and improve mood.
It boasts an entire list of other powerful weight loss staples… including chromium picolinate, nopal, caffeine, and l-carnitine furmarate.
An easy top-3 option for female diet pills.
Powher’s fat burner is the latest supplement from Ultimate Life.
Its very premium, and you will pay for it.
But it’s probably worth it for most.
It has been designed with more natural stimulants to give your body a bigger boost than other products.
The formula focusses on appetite suppression to help with weight loss, achieved through the use of glucomannan – or konjac fibre.
This soluble fibre expands when it soaks up water. The expansion in your stomach promotes feelings of fullness and reduces the amount of food you need to eat.
3g per day of glucomannan can help with weight loss, and that’s how much a daily dose of Powher Cut contains.
The result: an effective supplement for people who want a bit more of an energy boost.
4. Transparent Labs Fat Burner
There are only 3 proven ways to lose weight fast, increase your metabolic rate, eat less, and be consistent with whatever you do. Transparent Lab’s fat burner helps you do all 3.
It’s packed with thermogenic ingredients like green tea extract help increase your metabolism. It includes HTP-5 and other similar ingredients which have been shown to help fight cravings and suppress your appetite. And it comes in one easy to take the pill, which means it’s easy to be consistent.
On top of all this, Transparent Lab’s delivers a fat burner that’s non-GMO, has no artificial sweeteners, no artificial coloring, and no preservatives.
If you’re looking for a no-nonsense fat burner, you’ll have a hard time doing better than this.
5. Evlution Trans4orm
Evlution has top-quality weight loss supplements, and Trans4orm is no exception.
This formulation is particularly suited for women because it blends weight loss herbal extracts like huperzine A and green tea extract with B vitamins and amino acids to make sure your body isn’t lacking in any metabolism-boosting nutrients.
The caffeine content (175 mg per serving) should synergistically interact with its green tea content, creating higher levels of fat burning.
6. Skinny Gal
Skinny gal has a lot of the most popular and well-known herbal extracts that promote weight loss: african mango, garcinia cambogia, raspberry ketone, white kidney bean extract, and green coffee bean extract, to name just a few.
There aren’t so many ingredients that it seems purposeless, but it would be nice if the ingredients list was more clear about the amounts of each supplement included in the mixture.
As it stands, most of them are hidden behind a proprietary blend.
Nutratech’s Atrefen is an incredibly popular diet pill that relies on a relatively small number of targeted ingredients to boost weight loss.
They aren’t necessarily the most popular supplements on their own, but Aftrafen seems to have hit on a winning combination–the ingredients work better together than on their own.
The only downside is that the caffeine content is hard to estimate, so if you are sensitive to caffeine’s adverse effects, be cautious with the dosage of this diet pill.
8. Sheer Strength Appetite Suppressant for Women
Sheer Strength uses a pretty simple design for this supplement; there’s only a couple of primary ingredients, and they are all focused on controlling your hunger pangs.
Hoodia Gordonii, Caralluma fimbriata, and Rhodiola Rosea aren’t top-tier weight loss supplements, but that’s because they are specifically for suppressing appetite, not burning fat. If you want a targeted supplement to do exactly that, then Sheer Strength’s diet pill is a good choice.
9. Skinny Fiber
Skinny Fiber is another targeted-purpose diet pill for women. As the name suggests, it focuses on several different kinds of fiber to help suppress your feelings of hunger.
The supplement also comes with several enzymes to prevent some of the gastrointestinal effects of high fiber consumption, so this can be helpful if you are having gas or bloating in response to changing to a healthier diet.
Outside of the moderate fiber content, though, Skinny Fiber isn’t going to do a lot for your weight loss.
10. Shred Her
Shred Her combines a few B vitamins with a “fat incinerating mix” that includes a lot of fat burning stimulants.
Some of them are great, like green tea extract and green coffee bean extract, but it could do without the bitter orange extract–the best supplements on the market aren’t using that ingredient anymore because of safety concerns.
In addition, the proprietary mix hides the actual amount of most of the ingredients, so you don’t know what dosage you are getting.
Best overall diet pill for women: Leanbean
Leanbean combines all-natural ingredients that promote both suppress appetite and boost fat oxidation. It’s free from harmful synthetic additives and it’s a hit both with everyday women and serious athletes, making it our all-around winner.
Best diet pill for weight maintenance: PhenQ
For maintaining weight, you want to lean away from diet pills that rely on heavy doses of stimulants—the effects just aren’t sustainable long-term. That’s why we chose PhenQ, which has only a moderate amount of caffeine and a solid combination of metabolism boosters and fat oxidizers to sustain weight loss.
Best diet pill for rapid weight loss: Transparent Labs Fat Burner
The math is simple: if you want to lose weight quickly, you need to boost your caloric expenditure and cut down on your caloric consumption. With solid doses of green tea extract, caffeine, and cayenne pepper, Transparent Labs is definitely going to kick your metabolism up to the next level.
Best diet pill for losing belly fat: Powher
While it’s hard to target any specific area of your body for weight loss, Powher is hard to beat if you are trying to drop that last bit of belly fat. With a great combo of appetite suppressants and fat burners, but only a modest 100 mg dose of caffeine, it’s the perfect pick for shaving off stubborn fat.
Best diet pill for women over 50: Leanbean
Leanbean uses all-natural ingredients and is easy on the stimulants, including only a small amount of naturally-occurring caffeine found in green coffee bean extract. It’s the perfect fit for women over 50 looking for a diet pill.
Best diet pill that works without exercise: Evlution Nutrition Trans4orm
Exercise is a great way to lose weight, thanks to its fat oxidizing effects. But if you can’t make it to the gym, you should at least try to replicate some of its effects—that’s where Evlution comes in, with a synergistic combination of caffeine, green tea extract, and B vitamins.
Who should buy diet pills for women?
Women who are looking to drop weight quickly and efficiently should consider a diet pill that’s specifically formulated for women.
These supplements are designed to accelerate your weight loss and improve your ability to eliminate fat and keep it off.
As such, the two primary groups who can benefit from a diet pill for women are women who are on a weight loss program and women looking to maintain their weight after completing a weight loss program.
How we ranked
The diet pill industry is fraught with imitation products, low-quality supplements, and downright dangerous ingredients.
Because of this, we had some pretty stringent requirements for the products that we were ranking. First, we immediately excluded anything with potentially dangerous ingredients, like synephrine.
This compound is a chemical analogue of ephedra (also known as ma huang) which was pulled from the market because of dangerous side effects. Despite several reports of similar side effects, like abnormally high heart rates, plenty of products with synephrine are on the market.
We were also careful with the caffeine content—while caffeine pills themselves are a potent fat burner in and of themselves, women are particularly prone to some of the negative side effects of caffeine, such as jitter, anxiety, and sleeplessness.
Women who take some types of birth control can also experience the effects of caffeine for up to two times as long as people who do not, so high doses were a definite no-go for a high quality diet pill for women.
We also eliminated products that didn’t have much in the way of weight loss supplements other than caffeine—some low-quality products rely on the buzz from caffeine to do all of the heavy lifting.
After eliminating products with unwanted ingredients and too much caffeine, we looked for supplements with synergistic effects.
One easy example is the interaction between theanine and caffeine, most often taken advantage of by including green tea extract.
Theanine amplifies some of the positive effects of caffeine, while tamping down on jitters and anxiety. Another example is the combination of appetite suppressants and thermogenics used in a product like Leanbean, which helps with both reducing energy intake and increasing energy expenditure.
Finally, we penalized products that had ingredients masked behind a proprietary blend instead of being listed separately. Some companies have good reason to keep the specifics of their supplements under wraps, but too often, this strategy is used to hide the fact that the actual dosage of the effective ingredients in a diet pill is just not that high.
Losing weight is hard for many women– and certain ingredients in a diet pill might just help. Diet pills specifically designed for women try to target specific mechanisms of metabolism.
Women typically maintain a lower muscle mass content than men, resulting in a lower calorie burn while at rest. Women also have lower testosterone levels which can affect the ability to grow muscle mass, which compounds the first problem.
Solving this might involve supplements that manipulate your body’s metabolic activity, or that curtail your appetite and help you eat less food.
Other supplements might increase your body’s preference for burning fat as a fuel. All of these metabolic actions can have beneficial effects on the body and help propel you towards your weight loss goals.
Losing weight is difficult, and women can have it especially hard. That’s because men have an easier time building up muscle mass over the course of a diet and exercise program, and adding muscle mass increases your body’s baseline metabolic rate.
Moreover, boosting testosterone levels helps men achieve weight loss easier thanks to the indirect effects of muscle-building and increased vigor and energy levels from higher levels of this male sex hormone. Women have neither of these advantages.
Appetite-suppressing agents make you feel full for longer and decrease your need for additional food. Then, thermogenic agents like green tea extract, green coffee bean extract, and others increase the rate at which your body burns energy. The effect is faster and more effective weight loss.
Diet pills for women can work well for women who have already lost weight and are looking to keep it off. The same factors that make it hard for women to lose weight also make it harder for them to keep it off. In fact, weight regain after a weight loss program is so common that researchers have a name for it—the “relapse period.”
One study pegged the amount of weight regained in the first year following a diet plan at 50% of the amount of weight originally lost, on average (1).
Another study specifically on obese women showed that after completing a low-calorie diet and returning to a maintainence diet, the womens’ level of fat oxidation dropped sharply (2). Wh
at this means is that without a concrete plan to keep your body oriented towards a healthy body size, you have quite high odds of regaining much of the weight you worked so hard to lose. Here’s where a diet pill for women can help.
Garcinia cambogia is a popular and promising ingredient in diet pills for women. One of the most popular ingredients in diet pills for women is Garcinia cambogia. This herbal extract, also known as hydroxycitric acid (HCA), has shown promise in some randomized clinical trials of weight loss supplements.
According to a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Obesity, Garcinia cambogia has a statistically significant effect on short-term weight loss, though the magnitude of this effect is fairly small, amounting to only a 2 pound loss (3).
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, since the goal of a weight loss supplement isn’t to be a miracle cure–it’s to help and assist (or supplement) your overall weight loss program.
Researchers reported many of the studies showed conflicting findings, were poorly-designed or controlled and included only a small number of participants, so conclusions about HCA’s efficacy for weight loss is weak (4).
The mechanism by which Garcinia cambogia actually functions to help you lose weight isn’t clear. Some researchers think that it increases the activity level of the mitochondria in your cells, the “power plants” that burn fat for energy.
Others, however, think that it affects levels of certain chemicals in your brain which regulate your appetite. It’s clear that there’s more research needed on Garcinia cambogia.
If nutritionists discover how Garcinia cambogia works, it might be able to be combined more effectively with other weight loss supplements to increase the amount of weight it can help you lose.
Caffeine is one of the most reliable ingredients for weight loss. Surprisingly, some of the strongest evidence for weight loss efficacy points to the humble caffeine molecule as a particularly effective supplement.
According to a review study by researchers at City University of New York, Brooklyn found that consuming caffeine helps non-elderly people who have lost weight maintain their overall health (5).
Risk factors for type two diabetes are markedly lower in people who have lost weight and consume caffeine on a regular basis, the researchers found.
Additionally, researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands mention caffeine alongside other supplements that show promise as thermogenic supplements (6)–meaning that they tell the body to “turn up the heat” by increasing metabolism and overall calorie expenditure potentially leading to body fat loss.
Green tea extract is both safe and effective. Another promising thermogenic supplement that you can find in diet pills for women is green tea extract, containing two potentially thermogenic ingredients – caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Long known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, green tea has become increasingly popular as a weight-loss aid.
Research out of the University of Geneva published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that a single dose of green tea extract increases fat oxidation and total energy expenditure over a 24 hour period when compared to a placebo (7).
This effect is not explained solely by its caffeine content; the active ingredients in green tea seem to work synergistically with caffeine when its present, as well as without it, to burn fat and increase the number of calories you expend, even when you are at rest (8).
Green coffee bean extract may also be a useful ingredient in a diet pill for women. Green coffee bean extract might be considered a “cousin” of green tea extract, and while the research on it is not as robust as that on green tea, the results are promising.
According to a meta-analysis of five different studies that examined green coffee bean extract’s effect on weight loss, green coffee bean extract may produce substantial weight loss in a short amount of time (9).
While the authors of the review noted that the research conducted so far has some methodological problems and biases, they nevertheless concluded that the evidence for green coffee bean is very encouraging.
It’s not known to what extent green coffee bean extract interacts with caffeine, given that caffeine is also a natural component of coffee beans.
The negative effects of diet pills are mostly centered around compounds that try to artificially boost your body’s resting metabolism.
These pills are a crude version of “exercise in a pill”–by increasing your metabolic rate, they increase your energy expenditure. However, this is a pretty blunt tool, and while it may help, it may also induce adverse side effects.
Due to the inadequate federal regulation of supplements in the US by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), products may be sold for years while producing serious side effects in individuals before the government takes action.
After serious health problems started plaguing people who took diet pills containing ephedra, in 2004 the FDA banned their sale in the United States. (10) At that point many manufacturers reformulated their products to use synephrine instead, a substance found in bitter orange.
Research from 2011 cautioned use of synephrine due to reported abnormal heart rhythms and lack of safety data. (11) However, a 2017 analysis of 30 studies, funded by the makers of a bitter-orange product, refuted these claims stating that no cardiovascular events are associated with synephrine intake at doses of 100mg or less per day. (12)
Still, however, there are concerns that it can have deleterious effects on your health.
A meta-analysis of studies reported headache and gastrointestinal symptoms as some as the most commonly reported side effects, but they did not differ substantially from the placebo groups. These findings support the safety consensus of Garcinia cambogia for most people. (13)
Serious side effects have also been reported with other supplements or ingredients: colitis with Hydroxycut products (14), hepatitis and liver failure with OxyELITEPro (15), and liver damage with green tea preparations. (16, 17) The potential risk increases when multiple herbal and thermogenic ingredients are combined.
Due to the potential side effects, especially of liver damage, discuss supplement use with your doctor and follow up regularly to minimize your risks.
The effective dose of the active ingredients in a diet pill often depends on product formulations, absorption rate and the individual themselves. Studies show varying dosages and duration of consumption for each ingredient.
For example, Garcinia cambogia has been studied at doses ranging from 1.0 to 2.8 grams per day, from 2 to 12 weeks. Studied dosages of ECGC include 90mg up to 856mg per day. (18)
The best approach is to use a top-ranked supplement, with that is carefully designed to have optimal doses of all the important ingredients, and avoid supplements that hide the exact amounts of their ingredients by using them in a “proprietary blend.” (19)
Q: Are Alli diet pills effective for women?
A: Alli diet pills are one of the few diet pills and weight loss supplements that has been approved by the FDA as an over the counter treatment for weight loss.
These diet pills (also referred to by their generic name, orlistat) do work well for women, with a few caveats. First, Alli diet pills actually work by blocking the absorption of fat in your diet. This has two consequences.
First, Alli will work much more effectively for women who are eating a diet that is high in fat. If you are already on a low-fat diet, Alli won’t affect your energy intake very much.
Second, Alli does come with some side effects that are linked to the fats that aren’t getting absorbed by your stomach. They can stick around in your digestive tract and cause gastrointestinal side effects like gas and diarrhea.
Not everyone gets these side effects, though, and Alli does certainly have clinical evidence supporting it.
Q: What are some medically proven weight loss supplements for women?
A: The strongest medical evidence for weight loss supplements supports green tea extract, caffeine, and orlistat (also known as Alli).
Commercial blends of different ingredients for weight loss aren’t usually tested in clinical research, unfortunately, but these key ingredients do have some strong evidence behind them.
Green tea extract is an incredibly safe and effective way to suppress appetite and increase energy expenditure; evidence for its efficacy ranges from observational research on frequent green tea drinkers to randomized controlled trials on green tea extract in obese women.
Caffeine is also known to be an effective weight loss supplement, though it does have some additional side effects compared to green tea extract.
Finally, orlistat or Alli (discussed earlier) has United States Food and Drug Administration approval as an over-the-counter treatment for weight loss.
Q: What kind of diet pills for women work fast without exercise?
A: If you are looking to lose weight without exercise, the biggest challenge you’re going to face is burning fat. Exercise is an excellent way to up your body’s rate of fat oxidation, so if you aren’t exercising, you’ll need to try to accomplish that another way.
We like the fat burners and thermogenics included in Leanbean, BeLive Fusion Burn, and Skinny Gal when it comes to diet pills for women who aren’t going to exercise, as they all include some of the top supplement ingredients for increasing fat oxidation.
Of course, the best solution would be to start exercising as well—though we realize that this isn’t an option for everyone.
Q: What is a good diet pill for women who eat less than 1000 calories per day
A: For women who are on a very aggressive diet plan (often used in women who are very obese), you have to battle against two ways your body will resist the changes your diet is inducing: appetite and metabolism.
Contrary to popular opinion, there is no evidence that aggressive, ultra-low calorie diets are any worse than a slower weight loss plan. In fact, in women who are very overweight, they might even be preferable because of the significant health risks associated with serious obesity.
When you are on an aggressive weight loss program, your body will instinctively reduce your metabolism and increase your appetite in an attempt to slow the amount of weight you are losing.
Diet pills with appetite suppressants, like Leanbean and Evlution Trans4orm, might help you stick to your meal plan, while diet pills with fat-burners, like BeLive Fusion Burn and Atrafen, can up your metabolic rate, keeping your rate of weight loss high.
Q: How do diet pills work?
A: The category of diet pills for women is a broad one, but diet pills focus on at least one of the two key determinants of weight loss: energy intake and energy expenditure.
While most people think about energy intake solely as a function of the number of calories you choose to eat, which seemingly has nothing to do with a supplement, the story is a little more nuanced than this.
A diet pill that includes appetite suppressants can reduce your feelings of hunger, which will in turn reduce the number of calories that you eat at your next meal.
More sophisticated supplements might also include a carb blocker, which prevents your body from absorbing some of the carbohydrates that you eat. This way, even if the food you eat stays the same, the calories you absorb actually go down.
On the other side of the coin you have supplements included in diet pills that increase your energy expenditure: these are fat burners and thermogenic agents, like green tea extract or garcinia cambogia. The connection to weight loss here is more straightforward.
Q: What does the fiber in diet pills do?
A: Fiber is one of the simplest and safest appetite suppressants out there. Dietary fiber signals to your digestive system that you are full, and decreases feelings of hunger.
It also slows the rate of absorption of calories that are already in your stomach, preventing steep rises and falls in blood sugar that can drive overeating.
However, the dosage level in most diet pills isn’t enough for fiber to have a major effect on weight loss. Instead, taking a dedicated fiber supplement might be better.
Q: Are diet pills bad?
A: Diet pills for women certainly have a checkered history, due to dangerous side effects from ingredients like ephedra, and the continued presence of supplements that have potentially risky ingredients such as synephrine.
Even major brands, like Hydroxycut, have had to reformulate their supplement numerous times through the past few decades because of safety concerns regarding the ingredients.
Still, there are several high-quality diet pills out there with well-thought out ingredients whose efficacy is backed by scientific research, so it’s not accurate or fair to paint all diet pills across the board as “bad.”
Q: How do you lose weight without a diet pill?
A: Losing weight the old-fashioned way involves shifting your body’s metabolism so that it steadily burns more calories than you are consuming in your diet.
There are a huge range of weight loss programs designed to achieve exactly this effect through a combination of specific dietary rules and exercise, usually without any diet pills or weight loss supplements.
The success of many people on these sorts of weight loss programs is a testament to the possibilities of achieving significant weight loss without a diet pill, though many women find that a diet pill can help (though not replace) their weight loss routine.
- Appetite suppressants
- Natural weight loss supplements
- Multivitamin for women
- Prenatal vitamins
For a woman trying to lose weight, a diet pill may help, though research shows benefits vary and its likely to be a subtle change. If you end up purchasing diet pills, we would recommend a legit brand like Leanbean.
Some ingredients, like green coffee bean extract or green tea extract, appear to increase your body’s preference for burning fat while at rest, and increase your overall energy expenditure. Others, like garcinia cambogia, may decrease your appetite and thus lead to you consuming fewer calories throughout the day.
Whichever route you choose, using a high-quality diet pill with safe ingredients to assist you in reaching your weight loss goals and always check with your doctor to minimize the risks.
For BodyNutrition‘s #1 diet pill for women recommendation, click here.