Reverse Health is a weight loss app for women. The brand suggests that women need a different approach to weight loss, and includes meal planning, support from medical professionals and supplement recommendations.
But is women-specific weight loss scientific or is this just a marketing strategy? Is there really research backing the idea of gendered weight loss? Is Reverse Health likely to be effective or is it a waste of money? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Reverse Health?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review medical research on weight loss to give our take on whether a woman-specific program is actually likely to lead to better outcomes.
We’ll also highlight some questionable health claims on the Reverse Health website and share our concerns about the company’s data collection.
Is Woman-Specific Weight Loss Effective?
Reverse Health’s entire value proposition centers on the idea that women need a different weight loss strategy than men. The brand claims that their program “focuses on female physiology” but does not cite one single medical study in their section about woman-specific weight loss.
We consider this to be an unscientific approach, and we haven’t come across any convincing medical evidence that women and men have different optimal weight loss strategies.
As we discussed in our review of another gendered weight loss product called Trimtone, weight loss is a simple thermogenic process that affects both men and women exactly the same: calories consumed versus calories expended.
While it’s true that men and women have entirely different hormone systems, that doesn’t change the simple scientific fact above.
We suggest that consumers be wary of any brand making gendered weight loss claims, because in our opinion it signals a brand that may be more focused on marketing than good science.
But is Reverse Health likely to cause weight loss? We’ll analyze in the next section.
Will Reverse Health Cause Weight Loss?
The Reverse Health app has four components that we find promising in regard to weight loss: personalized meal plan with calorie tracking, exercise program, accountability group and supplements.
Calorie tracking is arguably the most important factor for consistent weight loss, because it’s easy to overconsume if you’re not reading Nutrition Facts labels to count the day’s calories. A 2017 medical review found that “dietary tracking was found to be an important component of successful weight loss” after analyzing data from many clinical trials on weight loss.
Exercise is proven to have positive effects on weight loss efforts, which makes sense because exercise burns calories. A meta-study published in the Obesity Reviews journal analyzed the effects of exercise training on weight loss in overweight and obese patients. After six months, there was an average weight loss of 3.57 pounds.
Accountability groups are clinically shown to be effective. Having support from other people with the same goal can be motivating, and a 2010 medical review found that social support in a weight loss community caused significantly superior outcomes.
Supplements can cause weight loss if they’re formulated properly. As we documented in our Golo reviews article on a weight loss supplement, there are a number of botanical ingredients that are clinically proven to cause weight loss.
Based on the core components of Reverse Health, we consider the app to be likely effective for weight loss if users follow its recommendations. However, we can’t identify any reason to believe this program is more effective than any other weight loss app or program, because it doesn’t appear to be clinically proven.
Questionable Health Claims on Reverse Health Site
There are a number of questionable health claims on the Reverse Health website that we disagree with.
The brand claims that “increased lifespan and slower aging” is a benefit that users have experienced. There is no proof of this claim and we find it highly unlikely. How would a user of a smartphone app be able to objectively determine that their aging is slowing down? It seems like an illogical and unscientific claim.
Reverse Health also includes a graphic, shown above, suggesting that users lose 28 pounds after only 12 weeks of using the app. However, this data is entirely uncited and the brand does not appear to have funded any clinical trials, so we don’t understand where these numbers come from. If it’s just user self-reporting, we consider that very poor data quality.
The brand also has a confusing “Research” page on their website with results like the one shown above. Oral collagen supplementation is certainly an effective way to improve skin quality, but we’re unsure why this study would be cited for a weight loss app.
Should You Give Reverse Health Your Data?
There is an extensive quiz on the Reverse Health site that asks personal health questions like “are you currently going through menopause” and whether you have health issues like kidney disease or cancer.
We’re unsure why a weight loss app needs to know if its users have cancer, but we urge users to be extremely cautious about giving personal health information to wellness companies. Data security is a serious issue, and it’s also unclear to use based on the Terms on the Reverse Health website whether or not the brand sells user data.
As we discussed in our Noom reviews article, unless a health brand can prove that their data is anonymized, stored securely, has never been hacked and is not sold, it may not be worthwhile to share it.
Our Clean Weight Loss Picks
There are food-based nutrients which have been shown in medical studies to be effective for weight loss.
Dietary fiber was shown in a medical review published in The Journal of Nutrition to cause 16 pounds of weight loss in 6 months when combined with moderate caloric restriction (750 calories per day below baseline).
Supergut Fiber Mix is our top fiber supplement, because it contains three different types of fiber powder, and retails for only $1.75 per serving at a subscription rate.
MCT oil was shown in a meta-study to cause more than one pound of weight loss over 10 weeks. This equates to potential annualized weight loss of 6 pounds per year with less than one tablespoon's worth of MCT oil per day.
Bulletproof MCT Oil is our top MCT oil product, because the only ingredient is MCT oil derived from coconuts. and it currently costs only $15.50 for over a month's worth of product.
Ginger intake "significantly decreased body weight" according to a 2019 meta-study on ginger and weight loss that analyzed data from 14 clinical trials.
Pique La Ginger is our top ginger product, because it's an organic tea in convenient crystallized form, and all that's needed is to pour the powder into a glass and add hot water.
All three of the products mentioned in this section are entirely free of additive ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy or unsafe.
Pros and Cons of Reverse Health
Here are the pros and cons of the Reverse Health weight loss program in our opinion:
- Contains four research-backed strategies
- Should be safe
- Questionable health claims
- Claims of average weight loss without proof
- Questionable data security
- Doesn’t appear to have been studied in clinical trial
- Gendered weight loss may be unscientific
- Unclear benefits over other weight loss apps