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What About Appetite Suppressants?

December 24th, 2008

Let’s take another look at the concept of appetite suppression and appetite suppressant supplements. They’ve both been around a long time. But is that a good strategy for everyone trying to lose weight, or just certain people? And do any of the products work?

The concept behind appetite suppressants is pretty straightforward; just about everyone grasps the idea of controlling food intake as a necessary part of lasting weight loss. But just like exercise, you either control your food intake, or you’re just not going to lose any weight.

But controlling your food intake and suppressing your appetite aren’t quite the same thing.  Appetite suppressants can help with some aspects of the process, but not others:

  • Controlling portion size – Appetite suppressants help you be satisfied with smaller portions
  • Controlling when you eat – Appetite suppressant can be used strategically to minimize hunger at times you don’t want to or need to eat, or want to avoid temptation.
  • Controlling what you eat; focusing on nutrient-dense healthy food and eliminating junk calories from convenience and snack foods – Appetite suppressants have no effect.

Appetite suppressants have never been the all-in-one weight-loss solution that so many products have suggested they are.  And they’re not for everyone.  But for certain people, appetite suppressants are a really effective tool when strategically applied to their diet and exercise program. Maybe not me and maybe not you, but certain people can really benefit.

Who needs an appetite suppressant?

Anyone for whom over-eating or inappropriate eating contributes to their weight gain or difficulty losing weight. You have to be honest with yourself; is overeating or eating between meals really contributing to your difficulty losing weight? How much of it is a lack of exercise and poor food choices? All an appetite suppressant is going to do – if it even works – is temporarily reduce your appetite.  That can be a good thing at certain times, but for the modern dieter trying to eat the oft-prescribed 5-6 small protein rich meals per day, an effective appetite suppressant is probably going to get in the way of that.

Being hungry is one thing. But if you  snack or over-eat out of boredom, stress, social anxiety or just because the food is there then you’re a good candidate for an appetite suppressant. So, which one to use?

What’s the Best Appetite Suppressant?

1) Glucomannan fiber:  This should be your go-to appetite suppressant, safe, effective, no side-effects and virtually foolproof.  Also sold as and known as konjac root, glucomannan is a type of bulk-forming fiber that you take before meals with a glass of water. By adding fiber and bulk to your meal before you eat it, you’re going to feel full sooner, and with less food. Because glucomannan is a fiber and doesn’t work via the nervous system like other appetite suppressants, it’s easily the best choice for ongoing or long-term use. There are good clinical studies supporting the effectiveness of glucomannan for weight loss, with other benefits too. The main reason it’s not more popular is that, as a fiber, it’s not sexy or exciting and the weight loss industry, which thrives on such things, has never really figured out how to market it in appealing terms.

2) Caralluma extract:  This is a newer appetite suppressant ingredient based on Indian Caralluma fimbriata herb. The manufacturer’s claim that clinical studies attest to the effectiveness of caralluma extract. We haven’t had much customer feedback about caralluma extract, pro, con or neutral.  In the meantime, we’d go with glucomannan.

3) Hoodia. Anyone remotely concerned with weight loss has probably heard of Hoodia by now. It’s the African cactus that was supposed to be the huge appetite-suppressant weight loss miracle. Some people claim good results with hoodia, but just as many have said otherwise. There’s still no consensus on whether hoodia’s just not that effective or if it is, and inconsistency with hoodia products is the bigger problem. In the meantime, we’d still go with glucomannan.

4) L-phenylalanine. Taken on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, the essential amino acid L-phenylalanine is an effective appetite suppressant that tends to positively affect mood and alertness also. The ability of L-phenylalanine to suppress appetite diminishes with continued use, so it’s not the best option for longer-term use.

5) Thermogenics and diet formulas. Most of the popular diet formulas like Hydroxycut Hardcore and Meltdown have appetite suppressant properties, but are primarily stimulants and metabolic modifiers.  It’s hard to evaluate them on an ingredients basis because they all use proprietary blends. They all contain caffeine, however, which is an effective appetite suppressant in a dose-dependent sense, but caffeine’s stimulant properties limit its use.

Glucomannan gets our vote as the best all-around appetite suppressant for anyone who wants to try this approach to enhance their weight loss. If you decide to try glucomannan or another appetite-suppressant, we hope you’ll see great results and drop us a line to let us know how it worked for you.

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