Move over diet pills! The Alcachofa Diet is a natural, safe solution that is gaining a lot of buzz from Dr. Axe and the famous Dr. Oz. According to Dr. Oz, it can help improve digestion and reduce cholesterol. Dr. Axe says it is great for weight loss and fighting wrinkle-causing free radicals. So what is this beauty-promoting, fat-busting diet system and why is it getting so much attention?

The key ingredient in this diet is surprisingly one of the most affordable and powerful foods that is commonly ignored: artichoke. We will analyze the science behind this key ingredient and research the effectiveness of this diet for weight loss and overall health.

With all the facts presented below, you can make an educated decision for yourself and your family. When all the data is unfolded, it’s easy to understand why these celebrity doctors promote a diet rich in artichoke.

IN SUMMARY, Here Is What You’ll Discover in This Article (Click any of the links below to jump to each section):

What is the Alcachofa Diet and How Does it Work?

The Alcachofa Diet may sound foreign and mysterious, but this is only half true. Alcachofa is in fact a foreign word that means “artichoke” in Spanish. Once that fact is revealed, the diet is easy to understand.

Although artichokes have high levels of antioxidants and fiber, the Alcachofa Diet is more focused on artichoke extract, which is from the outer green leaves of the globe artichoke. Most of us simply throw this part of the artichoke away and cook the fleshy, white artichoke heart. This untapped resource is a wonderful diuretic, choleretic, liver cleanser, and immune system booster.

Users of the Alcachofa Diet believe that alcachofa extract, when ingested as a tea, pill, patch, or drops in water and food, can actually help you lose weight as well by boosting the metabolism and helping the body absorb fat. In order to understand how this works, we will have to dive into the research to distinguish fact from fiction.

The Science Behind The Diet

There are many ways in which the Alcachofa Diet contributes to weight loss. There are so many, in fact, that it is hard to pin down a single major contributing factor. Here’s how it works. Artichokes contain fiber, have a diuretic effect, ease digestive disorders, have prebiotics, and contain a myriad of vitamins and minerals.

The fiber in artichokes can ease constipation and allow for more regular bowel movements.(1) It is also good to ensure fullness throughout the day, which will cause you to feel satiated with less food and thus consume fewer calories.

According to a paper in the April 2009 edition of the Journal of Functional Foods, globe artichoke helps to expel bile, which helps break down fat from food. It also increases urination in order to eliminate toxins from our liver. Increased urination can cause lower water weight. So the diuretic properties of artichokes can help eliminate excess fat from food, lower water weight, and increase bile production.

A study released in 2004 by The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, revealed that artichoke leaf extract actually reduced symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and improved the quality of life of patients with concomitant dyspepsia. In patients with irregular bowel movements, over a quarter of them reported a significant shift from alternating constipation and diarrhea toward a normal bowel movement. Overall symptoms decreased by 41% in patients after treatment.(2)

This is an astounding find, as it proves that it is not just the fiber that is easing digestion. While there is still more research to be done regarding artichoke extract and digestive disorders, this finding suggests that minimal weight loss by eliminating constipation can be achieved with both the fiber in whole artichokes and with the extract as well.

Perhaps some of the explanation can come from artichoke’s prebiotics. Prebiotics are the building blocks for probiotics, which promote good gut bacteria and improve immune health. Colonic bacteria can also be boosted through the use of prebiotics, as was demonstrated by a study published in the June 2005 edition of Phytochemistry.

Fructans are particularly useful prebiotics for weight loss that is found in artichokes and artichoke extract. Fructans modify the gut microflora, contribute to good bacterial growth, and increase the bioavailability of some minerals. The most beneficial thing, however, is its ability to lower your blood glucose concentration. Excess sugar can be converted to fat. Diabetes can also cause disordered fat storage. Fructans in artichokes and other prebiotic-rich foods can directly reduce the amount of glucose that can be stored as fat and reduce your risk of diabetes.

There isn’t, however, any hard data that directly links weight loss to artichoke extract. Although correlation is evident due to artichoke’s properties, a significant causation has not yet been proven.

Health Benefits

The Alcachofa Diet has many more benefits than just losing weight. It can help with weight-related illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular health. This magical plant, whether eaten or extracted, can boost anyone’s diet to improve overall well-being and maintain weight loss. Here are a few of the incredible benefits of incorporating artichokes and artichoke leaf extract into your diet.

Combating Cardiovascular Disease: Both whole artichokes and their extracts have been shown to reduce bad cholesterol, calm inflammation in the body, and increase circulation, thus preventing heart disease.

Controlling Blood Sugar: The fiber in whole artichokes enables users to maintain a steady blood sugar level and reduce the likelihood of insulin spikes and dips. The fiber in whole artichokes also enables your body to absorb glucose more slowly.(3)

Improves Appearance: Antioxidants are power house free radical fighters. These nasty free radicals are everywhere and can cause you to age prematurely. Thankfully, artichokes and artichoke extract contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can help prevent premature aging, dry skin, and wrinkles.(4)

Reducing Cancer: Artichokes contain an abundance of antioxidants. These phytonutrients can help fight off cancer-causing free radicals. Artichokes can both slow the onset of the disease and prevent cancer from spreading.

Preventing Anemia: Whole artichokes contain roughly 4% of your daily iron needs.(5) For someone who is anemic or at risk of falling low in iron, the Alcachofa Diet could prevent a whole host of nasty symptoms including fatigue, weakened immune system, and digestive disorders.(6)

Detoxing the Liver: Artichoke extract can induce bile production in the gall bladder.(7) This can help with gall bladder stones and better allow the liver to remove dangerous toxins and improve digestion of fatty foods. Artichokes also contain the flavonoid silymarin, which can protect the liver.(8)

Improving Digestion: The iron, enzymes, fiber, and antioxidants in artichokes can reduce symptoms of digestive issues, including chronic conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Artichoke extract can also help induce bowel movements and improve bile function.

Nutrition: Artichokes are rich in more than just iron and fiber. They are also great sources of folate, vitamin C and K!(9) As for antioxidants, artichokes have an oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) score of 9,400. Dr. Axe has put artichokes as his number 5 choice for his Top 10 Antioxidant Foods.

Side Effects and Interaction

Although artichokes and artichoke leaf extract have been linked to a plethora of health benefits, the artichoke leaf extract and its tea may not be safe to continue for more than 23 months, according to Nutritionist Heidi Skolnik. Artichokes and artichoke extracts are safe for regular consumption if not consumed to the same extent as the Alcochofa Diet, which is up to three times a day.

Artichokes are considered likely safe for everyone if consumed in foods and possibly safe when taken as an extract or tea. Some people, however, may experience some intestinal gas or an allergic reaction to artichokes. High risk individuals are those who are allergic to plants such as daisies, marigolds, ragweed, chrysanthemums, and other herbs in the Asteraceae/Compositae family.(10)

There is currently not enough reliable information to determine the safety of artichokes or artichoke extract in abundance for pregnant or breast-feeding women. It is better to err on the safe side. Although artichokes can improve digestion, it is important to speak with your doctor before consuming artichoke extract if you have bile duct instruction or gallstones, as both conditions may get worse due to excess bile flow.(11)

Tips to Using Artichokes

There are pros and cons to using artichoke extract instead of whole-food artichoke hearts. For instance, consuming artichoke extract has been linked to boosting lipid metabolism, improving digestion, increasing bile production, and containing nutrients and antioxidants that promote good health. The extract and tea made from it are both using the outer layer of the globe artichoke, which is often discarded.

It is easy to incorporate artichoke leaf extract into your diet. Although the flavor is not the most palatable, a few drops in your meals would be a simple option to meet the dietary requirements of the Alcachofa Diet. You can also opt to sip artichoke leaf tea or artichoke water three times a day, or use a combination of methods.

If you want the benefits of the artichoke hearts, then also consuming the plant in its physical form can help you avail of even more weight-loss benefits. The fiber in whole foods, and especially in artichokes, can help you obtain regular bowel movements, and become satiated with less food. You can add artichokes to pizza, dips, sandwiches, salads, and even bake them and eat them whole!

This diet does not call for you to limit your intake of certain foods, but instead promotes adding powerful, health-promoting food and extracts that are often taken for granted. As with any tincture or diet program, it is important to take a whole body approach to weight loss and general health. Eating more artichoke or drinking extracts will not work as well if you maintain a bad diet and poor exercise regime.

What Do Users Have to Say About It?

Artichoke extract was given a five-star rating by users on WebMD. According to BDHeart, a 45-54 year old male, “After drinking 1.5 liters of artichoke tea, my blood pressure lowered from 150/100 to 113/77. I did not take any medicine. The fresh artichoke was sliced and dried for use as a tea.” Another user whose reviewer name was Alcachofa user, gave the Alcachofa diet a glowing review, while also presenting a warning to some who may be allergic. She said, “I’ve been taking alcochofa viles alone for one week, then added one pill of demograss every day now for a month. With a healthy diet and working out at least three times a week, I have lost 18 pounds. Great product. Just make sure you drink lots of water. If you are allergic to ragweed, which I am, you may break into a small rash. If you take your allergy medicine, it goes away in a week and you will not need to take an allergy medicine. Your body becomes used to it. Results are amazing. Keep doing this until you reach your goal. Stay consistent and the results will show!” (12)

The Verdict

Although there is quite a bit of evidence to conclude that the Alcochofa Diet can be beneficial to your overall health, there is not a lot of research to prove a direct correlation between artichokes and weight loss. There are plenty of factors that could contribute to weight loss, but there is nothing concrete. Although a diet high in artichoke extract and artichoke hearts may not be well-balanced and even unsafe for a minority of the population, it is completely safe for most individuals. No one ingredient is a magical cure for excess body fat. As one of the reviewers of artichoke extract said on WebMD, it’s a good product to use along with a change in diet and regular exercise. With this combination, long-term weight-loss is within your grasp.

Nicole Manuel is a freelance writer with over six years of experience. Her articles have ranged from economics and finance to health and fitness. She lost 50 lbs. three years ago and has been inspiring people to lose weight, be healthy, and save money eating well ever since.