Though it's most commonly used topically to heal burns and promote skin health, it has also been used to treat a variety of other conditions.
In recent years, it has even become a key ingredient in juices, herbal supplements, and diet drinks geared toward weight loss.
This article reviews the benefits and side effects of aloe vera for weight loss, as well as how to use it.
There are two ways in which aloe vera may aid weight loss.
May Boost Metabolism
Some research shows that aloe vera could boost your metabolism, increasing the number of calories you burn throughout the day to promote weight loss.
In one 90-day study, administering dried aloe vera gel to rats on a high fat diet reduced body fat accumulation by increasing the number of calories they burned.
Other animal research has shown that aloe vera could affect the metabolism of fat and sugar in the body while preventing the accumulation of belly fat.
Still, more studies are needed to determine whether aloe vera may offer similar health benefits in humans.
May Support Blood Sugar Control
Aloe vera may help improve blood sugar control, which may help increase weight loss.
In one study, consuming capsules containing 300–500 mg of aloe vera twice daily significantly reduced blood sugar levels in 72 people with prediabetes.
Another study in 136 people found that taking an aloe vera gel complex for 8 weeks reduced body weight and body fat, as well as improved the body's ability to use insulin, a hormone involved in blood sugar control.
Improving blood sugar control can prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, which could prevent symptoms like increased hunger and cravings.
Aloe vera could help promote weight loss by boosting your metabolism and supporting better blood sugar control.
Aloe vera intake has been associated with several adverse health effects.
Some of the most common side effects include digestive issues, such as diarrhea and stomach cramps.
While aloe vera can act as a laxative to help promote regularity, excessive use could increase your risk of adverse effects like dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
It's important to note that while its laxative effects may reduce water retention, the resulting loss of water weight is only temporary and not a sustainable weight loss strategy.
What's more, since this succulent may reduce the absorption of certain medications, it's important to consult your healthcare professional before using it if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any medications.
There is also concern about the cancer-causing effects of aloin, a compound found in non-decolorized, whole leaf aloe extract.
However, most aloin is removed during processing, so it's unclear whether commercial aloe vera products may also be harmful.
Furthermore, it's important to avoid eating aloe vera skin gels and products, as they may contain ingredients and additives that should not be ingested.
Finally, products containing aloe vera latex, a substance found within the leaves of the aloe vera plant, have been banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to safety concerns.
Aloe vera intake can cause several side effects and may decrease the absorption of certain medications. Unprocessed and unrefined extracts may also contain aloin, which is a carcinogenic compound.
How to Use It
Aloe vera leaves are comprised of three main parts — the skin, latex, and gel.
The gel is safe to consume and can be prepared by cutting the leaf in half and using a spoon or knife to scoop out the gel.
Be sure to wash the gel thoroughly to remove any dirt and latex residue, which can give the gel a bitter taste.
Try adding the gel into smoothies, shakes, salsas, and soups to bolster the health benefits of your favorite recipes.
You can also eat the skin of the aloe leaf by adding it to salads and stir-fries.
After slicing and washing the skin, you may also opt to soak the leaves for 10–30 minutes before adding them to your recipes to help soften them up.
The gel and leaves of the aloe vera plant can be consumed in a variety of recipes, including smoothies, soups, salsas, salads, and stir-fries. Always be sure to remove the latex layer.
The Bottom Line
Aloe vera is commonly found in weight loss products, including herbal supplements, juices, and diet drinks.
It may help promote weight loss by boosting your metabolism and improving your blood sugar control.
However, it may also be associated with several adverse effects and should be used in moderation as part of a healthy diet.
If you decide to give aloe vera products a try, be sure to purchase them from a reputable supplier.
- Can Moringa Powder Help You Lose Weight? - EcoWatch ›
- How to Lose Weight on a Vegetarian Diet - EcoWatch ›
These simple vegan breakfast recipes are going to revolutionize your morning routine. They each have just seven main ingredients, so you can whip together a veritable vegan feast that will keep you sated until lunch.
From meatless bacon to quick chia pancakes, the recipes are healthful, packed with plant-based ingredients and free of items associated with animal suffering and the horrors of the meat, dairy and egg industries.
If you're new to making vegan meals, these simple recipes are a great way to start:
You're only seven ingredients away from devouring these waffles.
Toast is the perfect breakfast item, but not by itself. This recipe features a special combination of avocados, cherry tomatoes and garbanzo beans to help make it a filling meal.
This delicious mix of oats, cinnamon, chia seeds, almond milk and vanilla extract will having you saying, "Oh my oats."
Nothing is more comforting than potatoes first thing in the morning. This hash is packed with breakfast "sausage," black beans and baby spinach.
This super-simple, soy-free breakfast sandwich includes a delicious white bean mash.
You'll definitely agree that these quick, fluffy pancakes are worth setting your alarm back just a touch.
This one's so simple, so quick and hearty enough to keep you full until lunch.
Here are not just one, but five choices for easy power smoothies.
With salt and pepper, baking soda and garlic powder probably already in your kitchen, we figured that we could justify saying that this has "seven main ingredients" and squeeze it on the list. Adorn this delicious chickpea-flour pancake with goodies like salsa, avocado, hummus or cashew cream.
Want your breakfast to taste like ice cream? We thought so. Simply blend frozen banana, mango and frozen raspberries with almond milk and açaí powder, which comes from Brazil's antioxidant-rich super-fruit.
You're going to want to make this as soon as you see how easy it is.
Chocolate and quinoa? You'd better believe it.
Nut butter, banana, almond milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla extract round out the sumptuous flavors of this vegan French toast.
14. Tempeh Bacon
Interested in going vegan but haven't yet made the switch? Our free vegan starter kit can help you.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.