Guarana is a shrub whose seeds are very rich in caffeine—it contains about two to three times the caffeine content of most coffee beans. The herb is said to stimulate both mental and physical energy while curbing appetite. For these reasons, in addition to the fact that gurana is naturally grown, the guarana diet is a popular way of losing weight. Guarana, however, is only recommended to be used sparingly simply because it does have such a high caffeine content.
This creeping shrub is native to the Amazon Basin in South America and is related to maple plants. It is often used in energy drinks, teas, and some soft drinks and is even used as a main source of caffeine over coffee in its native regions. Studies have shown that guarana may increase memory retention, reduce appetite, and increase physical endurance. Supporters of the guarana diet typically rely on these findings heavily to market products. A guarana diet does not normally involve ingesting the plant, but instead focuses on consuming supplements and drinks with a high content of the herb to increase energy and metabolism.
Guarana diet supplements mostly come in pill, drink, and powder form. Drinks can range from juices to teas to carbonated beverages, but it is usually recommended to limit the amount of sugar taken with guarana, so soft drinks are not normally used in the diet. Powder may be a convenient way to make guarana drinks on the go, because usually they only need to be mixed with water. As with any dietary supplements, it's recommended those on the guarana diet read and follow directions carefully.
This plant is used mainly for its caffeine content, so addiction may occur after prolonged use. While using the supplement, some have experienced jitters and high anxiety. Usually the solution to these symptoms is simply cutting back the amount of guarana taken. Side effects reported after ending the guarana diet are headaches, moodiness, and other symptoms associated with caffeine withdrawal. Some have reported weight gain once the use of guarana has stopped.
Before beginning any diet, it is generally recommended that a person speaks with a medical professional. Those who have anxiety conditions or heart problems or who may be pregnant may be advised by a professional to avoid guarana. Even a healthy adult should be cautious when using the extract, especially in conjunction with any medications or other supplements.