A dietitian has cast doubts on the new 'Ice Cube Diet' that promises to melt away pounds by simply popping a "Hoodia satiety cube" into the drink of your choice once a day.
The cube claim to naturally curb appetite so you snack less and ultimately weigh less.
Desert Labs, the company that markets the cubes, say the magic ingredient is hoodia, an herbal supplement South African bushmen have used for centuries to control hunger pangs while hunting game.
However, Jennifer Neily, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Dallas Dietetic Association, is skeptical.
"Hoodia is very rare and protected by strict environmental laws," ABC News quoted Neily as saying.
"So my question is how can all these products that claim to contain it, actually contain it?" Neily said.
Tests done on dietary supplements often show that consumers aren't getting what they pay for-and sometimes they're getting more than they bargain for, including strong prescription drugs like Viagra or steroids.
And, as a government report released earlier this year found, many contain at least trace levels of contaminants such as lead, mercury, arsenic-even pesticides. However, since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has little authority over the supplement industry, very few consumer protections are in place.
Even assuming the cubes are 97 percent hoodia, as it says on the box, that doesn't guarantee they're a dieter's secret weapon either. The few independent studies analyzing the supplement's effect on weight loss have been disappointing or inconclusive.
A private study conducted by the ice cube makers and posted on their website claims that 88 percent of the participants lost a significant amount of weight-but they don't specify any of the details.
What's revealing to Neily is that drug companies don't appear eager to jump on the hoodia band wagon.
"Pfizer actually tried to develop the active ingredient into a drug but stopped trials without any real explanation and Unilever, the makers of Slim-Fast also discontinued developing a drink with Hoodia," she notes.
"Neither said why but let's assume if they could be making money with this, they would be."
All that said, Neily thinks the cubes might help you lose weight -- if the placebo effect kicks in.
"The mind is very powerful. If you truly believe something will help you lose weight, then it well might," Neily added.