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What is a Diet Patch?

Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke

A diet patch is a device used to lose weight by delivering ingredients topically through the skin. It is generally made of adhesive and applied to a discreet area of the skin, such as the stomach, lower back, or upper arm. Diet patches are designed to work similarly to diet pills. Both weight loss products dispense ingredients that are thought to suppress the appetite or aid with fat loss, but diet pill users may be required to follow a strict dosage regime, while patches are applied once and promoted as being effective for an extended period of time. These products have not been conclusively proven to aid with weight loss.

Although the ingredients can vary depending on the manufacturer, one of the most common main ingredients in a diet patch tends to be a stimulant, such as caffeine. Stimulants are thought to suppress the appetite so a user doesn’t feel as hungry. These ingredients are also promoted as helping the body burn fat more quickly. If the particular patch uses caffeine as its stimulant ingredient, a user may have to urinate more often and may lose water weight because caffeine is a natural diuretic, an ingredient that forces the body to urinate more than usual.


A diet patch may also contain ingredients that may possibly aid with the digestion of carbohydrates, the compound found in foods like white flour, bread, pasta, rice, and sugar. Hydroxycitric acid is often used in diet patches and is promoted as having the ability to help keep digested carbohydrates from turning into fat, which would allow a person to eat carbohydrate-rich foods and still lose weight without making any dietary changes. The effectiveness of hydroxycitric acid at preventing carbohydrates from turning into fat has not been conclusively proven, but the ingredient is generally deemed safe even if it is not effective.

Another type of ingredient that is often incorporated into a diet patch is an insulin stabilizer. Insulin is a hormone that is naturally made by the pancreas. Its primary function is to control the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. If the amount of sugar in the blood is too high, a person may feel extremely hungry. Ingredients that help stabilize the amounts of insulin in the body can help prevent sugar from accumulating in the blood and may keep a person from overeating, which can aid in weight loss.

Critics of the diet patch believe the product is not effective at helping a person lose weight. Some believe that some manufacturers do not even include any active ingredients and are a scam. They may also claim that the active ingredients cannot reach the bloodstream effectively by being applied topically to the skin.

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