Golo is a weight loss program which includes a diet plan and a dietary supplement called Release.
In this article we’ll review the Golo Release supplement based on medical studies to give our determination on whether or not it's likely to be effective for weight loss. We'll also review the Golo Diet and highlight some issues we have with the clinical research that the brand has funded.
Golo Release Review
Golo’s weight loss supplement contains three minerals as the first-listed active ingredients: magnesium, zinc and chromium.
We have not come across any medical research suggesting that these three minerals are effective for weight loss. We don't recommend taking vitamins or minerals without a documented deficiency in that vitamin or mineral, because doing so can push blood levels into an unsafe range.
The remaining ingredients are included in a proprietary (prop) blend totaling only 297 milligrams (mg), which is an average of 42 mg per ingredient. We recommend avoiding supplements that use prop blends, because this method of listing ingredients prevents consumers from determining the dosage of each individual ingredient (only the total dose is published).
Rhodiola extract is the first ingredient in the prop blend, and we have not come across any medical studies suggesting this ingredient is effective for weight loss. One animal study actually found that rhodiola extract caused weight gain. We'll consider this ingredient ineffective.
Inositol has been shown to be effective for weight loss specifically in women with an ovarian condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) , but we can’t find any studies suggesting it’s effective for the average patient. Even compared to the PCOS studies, the inositol dosage in Golo may be significantly underdosed.
Golo Release contains berberine extract which we consider an effective ingredient for weight loss, but again it may be underdosed in this supplement. A meta-study on berberine supplementation and weight loss found that this ingredient caused weight loss, but the minimum dose in all trials reviewed was 1,000 mg per day.
Gardenia extract may be effective for weight loss though research is limited. The only human study we could find on gardenia for weight loss used between 3 to 10 grams (depending on body weight), which is many times higher than the gardenia dose in Release.
A clinical trial on banaba extract found that this ingredient caused weight loss. This trial is published in Japanese so we can't assess dosage. We'll consider this ingredient potentially effective.
The next ingredient is a patented salacia extract called Salaretin, which we would consider ineffective for weight loss. An animal trial found that this ingredient had no effect on body weight. The manufacturer's website only lists three clinical trials at the time of updating this article, and none of them relate to weight loss. All three relate to diabetes.
Apple extract is the final ingredient in Golo Release, and we cannot locate any medical trials suggesting this ingredient is effective for weight loss. Consumption of whole apples has been associated with weight loss in research studies, but this doesn't necessarily mean that apple extract at the dose in Golo's diet pills is effective.
There are no inactive ingredients in Golo Release that we consider harmful or toxic.
Overall we find this to be a low-quality formulation and we do not believe this supplement is likely to cause weight loss. There is only one ingredient in this formulation that we consider potentially effective at the included dose.
Golo Diet Review
Golo’s Diet page on their website claims that they recommend “superfoods” to “help detox”. This claim is uncited and we consider it unscientific. We have not come across any research suggesting that eating "superfoods" causes some sort of detoxification process beyond what the body already naturally completes.
We also haven't come across any medical evidence that "toxins" cause obesity. The average person who is overweight is overweight because they consume more calories than they expend on a regular basis; not due to environmental toxins.
We generally recommend that consumers avoid health products and services that provide "detox" benefits, as we consider this to be a red flag about the legitimacy of a brand.
The Golo diet seems relatively straightfoward and we don't consider much of this information proprietary. The brand suggests that eating whole foods is beneficial to health, which we would agree with. Any diet model that eliminates processed foods should improve consumer health on average.
One aspect of Golo's diet that we consider suboptimal is that it doesn’t appear to differentiate between animal protein types. It’s well-established in medical research that animal products sourced from pastured animals are healthier than animal products from conventionally-raised animals.
We have no issue with the Golo Diet, but we don't consider this worth spending money or time on. The brand seems to be suggesting that eating whole foods will improve health and potentially increase weight loss compared to eating an unhealthy diet containing processed foods like pizza or cookies, which we would agree with.
Questionable Medical Studies
Golo has a page on their site called “Studies” where the brand details clinical studies they have funded on Golo's weight loss effects.
We do not consider company-funded studies conducted by for-profit research firms as legitimate medical research, and we recommend that consumers consider results from all such studies to be worthless.
This type of clinical research differs significantly in regard to bias than the clinical trials we cite on Illuminate Health, which are published in peer-reviewed medical journals with high standards of methodology. Any health brand can pay a for-profit research firm to conduct trials on their products, but not every health brand can fund clinical trials that are actually included in medical journals.
All four studies listed on Golo's Studies page found their program to be effective for weight loss.
Golo's clinical studies did not include a placebo control (according to the brand themselves), which makes the data quality even worse in our opinion. A placebo control is a group receiving no active treatment, which allows researchers to isolate whether the active treatment is comparatively effective.
As an example, a weight loss supplement may be taken by one group while a placebo (inactive) pill may be taken by another group, while both groups exercise once-daily. This allows researchers to determine how effective the active treatment is (in this case the weight loss pill), because it's compared against a group not receiving that treatment.
We find Golo's research to be underwhelming and it does not make us more likely to recommend this diet program.
Questionable Health Claims
Golo claims on their website that insulin resistance is the "root problem" causing obesity. This claim is not cited.
While insulin resistance is certainly associated with obesity, we have not come across any convincing medical evidence that insulin resistance is the cause of obesity. We find it to be inappropriate for brands to be making bold, unconventional health claims without medical citations for those claims.
Golo also has an interactive feature on their site that diagnoses risk for insulin resistance. We find this to be highly unethical, highly inappropriate and unscientific. We do not recommend that patients receive health diagnoses from supplement companies online. Insulin resistance can be diagnosed with blood tests ordered by a doctor.
In 2021, Golo was sued in a class-action lawsuit for false advertising.
The plaintiff claims that Golo's program was ineffective for weight loss, and that the brand made false health claims on their website.
At the time of updating this article, this lawsuit appears to be ongoing.
Our Weight Loss Supplement Recommendations
We recommend dietary fiber as a safe and effective weight loss supplement.
An extensive medical review published in The Journal of Nutrition found that dietary fiber intake directly predicts weight loss when consumed at a high enough dose. Fiber is zero-calorie plant matter that makes you feel full faster, and consume fewer calories overall.
The fiber supplement we recommend is SuperGut Fiber Mix. It contains a clean and effective formulation: a blend of three different types of unflavored dietary fiber and zero additive ingredients. It can be mixed into liquids or foods. Interested consumers can buy SuperGut fiber at this link.
We recommend using two fiber mixes per day, which provides 16 grams (g) of total fiber. This is within the fiber dosing range associated with the greatest weight loss outcomes in the above-linked study (8-29 additional grams per day).
Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is another dietary supplement which has been shown in clinical trials to cause weight loss.
MCT oil is quickly absorbed by the body and increases metabolic rate, which causes fat loss. A meta-study on MCT oil documented weight loss of 1.12 pounds. The trials lasted 10 weeks on average. This equates to a potential annualized weight loss of 5.84 pounds with MCT oil supplementation.
We recommend Bulletproof MCT Oil as our top MCT oil product, because it has a clean and effective formulation. The only ingredient is MCT oil derived from coconuts, and the product has no questionable additives. Interested consumers can buy Bulletproof MCT Oil at this link.
The effective dose range of MCT oil for weight loss (based on the medical review) is 1.7 g to 10 g per day. Bulletproof's MCT oil provides 14 g in one tablespoon, so around two-thirds of one tablespoon should be a maximally-effective dosage.
Does Golo Cause Side Effects?
Since Golo is a weight loss program, many consumers are curious about whether the Golo Diet or Golo pills are likely to cause side effects.
In our opinion the Golo Diet is unlikely to cause any side effects. It appears to be a whole foods diet. Occasionally patients who switch from an unhealthy diet high in processed foods may experience indigestion when consuming a whole foods diet higher in fiber, but we don't find the Golo Diet likely to cause harmful side effects.
We also don't believe that Golo Release is likely to cause any harmful side effects. While we don't recommend the supplement due to efficacy concerns, we did not identify any potentially harmful or toxic ingredients in our formulation review.
Golo YouTube Review
One of the most popular reviews of Golo is published by a nutritionist who has a channel called "All Things Nutrition." They review whether the diet and supplement are effective, and whether they recommend it to patients: