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Appetite Suppressants

hungry emoticon

The biggest thing that is blocking you to a healthy body is hunger. The opposite of hunger is satiety, both are sensations.  Hunger is the physiological need to consume food while satiety is absence of hunger.  It’s perfectly normal if you get hungry from time to time it’s your body’s way of telling you that you need fuel. However, if you’re constantly craving for food, and falling for it you will definitely gain unwanted weight.

Appetite suppressants are drugs or supplements that reduce or curb appetite, thereby reducing food intake that would increase the chances of weight loss.

Popular over-the-counter appetite suppressants in the market:

Gum Arabic – also known as acacia fiber, arabic gum, gum acacia, acacia, acacia gum, Senegal gum and Gum Arabic is a type of indigestible fiber that has properties that curb appetite and makes you full. 

According to a study by the Nutritional Journal Gum Arabic has the ability to decreased fat digestion and absorption, reduces appetite, promotes fullness and improve glucose absorption in your gut that can aid in weight management.   Another study from Lipids in Health and Disease shows that Gum Arabic can reduce body fat significantly.

Side effects: Gum Arabic can cause bloating, nausea, diarrhea and unfavorable viscous sensation in the mouth.

Bitter Orange (Synephrine) – also known as Citrus Aurantium is a type of citrus fruit that is native to Asia. It is commonly use as herbal medicine and appetite suppressant, because of its active ingredient, synephrine. Synephrine is similar to ephedra. In 2004, the FDA banned ephedra due to serious side effects like irregular heartbeat and elevated blood pressure.

Bitter orange increases the calories that you burn at rest which in effect encourages fat breakdown and suppresses your appetite as stated on Pharmaceuticals

Side effects: Bitter orange contains synephrine which can raise your blood pressure, speed up your heart rate and can also cause anxiety.

Chromium Picolinate – Chromium is an essential nutrient for us because it is necessary for insulin, sugar and lipid metabolism. Chromium picolinate is a form of chromium that can be easily absorbed by the body. Chromium picolinate can reduce cravings by influencing brain neurotransmitters that regulates eating behavior, mood, and food cravings according to “Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics”.

Side effects:  Chromium Picolinate can cause vertigo, skin irritation, headaches, nausea, mood changes, impaired thinking, hives, and coordination.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – these are natural fatty acid found mostly in meat and dairy products.  CLA is marketed in concentrated form as a dietary supplement on the basis of its supposed health benefits like appetite suppressant, boost lean body mass, and help decrease body fat according to a study done by the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry .

The results of the study on the efficacy of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) on reducing body fat have been minimal, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN).

A review published by the European Journal of Nutrition, identified 15 randomized clinical trials of overweight and obese individuals who were supplemented with CLA for at least six months. It does not convincingly show that CLA intake generates any clinically relevant effects on body composition on the long term.   

Side effects:  constipation, diarrhea, and soft stools.

Forskolin - Forskolin can be found in the roots of Plectranthus barbatus (Coleus forskohlii). This plants are commonly found in Nepal, India, and Thailand. There are studies that suggest Forskolin aids in weight loss by suppressing appetite and muscle building. A study published by Nutrients  assessed the effects of supplementation with forskolin on key markers of obesity. Thirty subjects were given 250 mg of 10% forskolin extract twice daily for 12 weeks. The subjects lost significant body fat percentage after 12 weeks. Another study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition said that Forskolin does not appear to promote weight loss but may help lessen weight gain.

Side effects: There were no clinically significant side effects on humans, minor adverse effects includes increased bowel movements according to a journal by Nutrients .

Garcinia Cambogia – also known as Malabar tamarind or Garcinia gummi-gutta is one of the most well-known weight-loss supplements in the market, thanks to the endorsement of celebrity doctor, Dr. Oz. This fruit is found in Southeast Asia, India, and west and central Africa.

It is said that it hinders your body to produce fat and suppresses your appetite since it contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA). A study posted on Journal of Obesity shows that hydroxycitric acid (HCA) increase the release or availability of serotonin in the brain that causes appetite suppression.

Another study published by the Journal of Obesity reviewed twelve randomized clinical trials with 706 participants. They were given garcinia cambogia that contains 1.0 – 2.8 g of HCA per day for 2–12 weeks and it concluded that Garcinia Cambogia generate weight loss on the short term.

A journal posted by Food & Function showed that garcinia cambogia can be an effective appetite modulator. There were 28 people composed of 21 females and 7 males aged 31 in the study.

Side effects: Garcinia Cambogia can cause headaches, gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea and dry mouth. In extreme cases it can lead to liver failure.

Glucomannan – is a dietary fiber that is sourced from konjac plant. It is usually used as a food additive and as dietary supplement products for weight loss.

It is claimed that glucomannan turns into a bulky gel fiber when mixed with water that occupy space in your stomach and stay there longer that makes you feel full.

A study posted by the Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine shows that a preliminary test of the effectivity of glucomannan on weight loss using a dose of 2-4 grams daily gives an impressive result in overweight and obese individuals.  It promotes satiety and fecal energy loss.  It also shows some helpful properties in improving lipid and lipoprotein parameters and glycemic status.

Side effects: Glucomannan may cause bloating, belching, diarrhea, and nausea.

Green Coffee Bean Extract – it is an extract taken from unroasted, green coffee beans. It is usually used as a weight-loss supplement and as an ingredient in other weight-loss products.  It is said that the chlorogenic acid found in green coffee bean extract may boost glucose metabolism and improve blood pressure. It also contains caffeine which has thermogenic effects and staves off hunger.

A study published by the Gastroenterology Research and Practice stated a promising results on the use of green coffee extract (GCE) as a supplement for weight loss.

Side effects: Green Coffee Bean Extract may cause anxiety, jitteriness, fast heartbeat, diarrhea and gas.

Guar Gum – is a fiber extracted from guar beans. It has positive effects on diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure according to this study. It is also use for weight loss since it suppresses appetite and gives a feeling of satiety.

A study published by the British Journal of Nutrition found that it slows down the absorption rate of carbohydrates and stimulates bile production that makes you feel full.

Guarana – is plant that is native in Brazil, its seed is a good stimulant because of its high caffeine content. It has the highest concentration of caffeine in any plant, up to 3.6% to 5.8% caffeine by weight compared to only 2% in coffee. Also the stimulating effects of guarana last longer than coffee since guarana apparently binds with tannins as per this study.  The study also mentions that guarana has very good appetite suppressant properties.  Caffeine is very effective in increasing metabolism and suppressing appetite according to a journal in Frontiers in Psychiatry.

Side effects: Due to its high caffeine content it may cause anxiety, restlessness, upset stomach, fast heartbeat, and insomnia.

Hoodia Gordonii – is a succulent plant with no leaf and a lot of spine. It grows in Botswana, South Africa and Namibia. Locals in Africa chew on this to stave off hunger during long hunts. It contains a chemical known as P57 (glycoside) which is said to suppress appetite.

A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology concludes that Hoodia gordonii decrease appetite.

Side effects: nausea, vomiting, headaches, high blood pressure, dizziness, and odd skin sensations

Saffron Extract - is a highly concentrated substance taken from the Crocus sativus plant. Saffron is considered as  the world’s most expensive spice by weight. It also has medicinal properties, such as cough, whooping cough, asthma, expectorant for loosening sticking phlegm, asthma, sore throat, flatulence, depression, anxiety, boost memory, and heartburn.

It also acts as an appetite suppressant by giving a sense of fullness. A study posted on Nutrition Research concluded that taking 176.5 mg of saffron extract daily over an 8-week period resulted in the reduction in snack consumption and gives the subjects satiating effect that could contribute to body weight loss.

Saffron is also used to improve symptoms of major depression, as stated on the Journal of Integrative Medicine.

Prescription Appetite Suppressants:

BELVIQ (lorcaserin hydrochloride) – it is a weight-loss drug developed by Arena Pharmaceuticals. It curbs hunger by acting on receptors in the hypothalamus part of the brain, which is known to control appetite.

It will make you feel full after eating less food than you normally would. It is usually used for long term weight loss for obese individuals.

Side effects: headache, depression and dizziness.

Saxenda (liraglutide) – Saxendra are prescription medicine in an injectable form. It also use another brand name, Victoza. Saxendra suppress appetite by bumping insulin release from the pancreas and decreases excessive glucagon release. It is use for patients with body mass index (BMI) of above or greater than 27 kg/m2 together with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or dyslipidemia. 30 kg/m2

A study published in Obesity Science & Practice states that Liraglutide helps to induce and sustain weight loss in patients with obesity.

Side effects: low blood sugar, nausea, dizziness, abdominal pain, and pain at the site of injection

Contrave (Naltrexone) – Contrave is composed of two medicines, bupropion and naltrexone. These well-known drugs work together on separate parts of the brain to reduce appetite. They work on the hypothalamus (hunger center) to reduce hunger and the mesolimbic reward system to help manage cravings.

A study posted by Pharmacy and Therapeutics shows that individuals who were given 32 mg of naltrexone and 360 mg bupropion achieved statistically and clinically significant weight reduction when compared with placebo.

Side effects: Nausea, Constipation, Headache, Vomiting, Dizziness, Insomnia, Dry mouth, and Diarrhea.

Qsymia (Phentermine) – It’s a combination of two oral drugs, phentermine and topiramate which are used to treat obesity. Topiramate is a drug that is used to prevent and control seizures (epilepsy). It is also used to prevent migraine headaches and decrease how often you get them.

A study from The Endocrine Society stated that Topiramate can help people lose weight. Phentermine is an appetite suppressant that makes you feel full. The Yonsei Medical Journal, published a study with 68 patients, 35 were given phentermine while the others were given placebo. It concluded that short-term phentermine administration can induce significant weight loss and the shortening of waist circumference without clinically problematic adverse events on relatively healthy obese people.
Side effects: tingling, dizziness, dry mouth, tiredness, trouble sleeping, metallic taste and constipation.

Natural appetite suppressants:

High-protein foods - like lean meats, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, Greek yogurt, black beans, corn, salmon, eggs, oats etc. Eating high-protein foods makes you fuller which will help you avoid overeating.

A study published on Nutrients concluded that subjects that followed higher protein diet experienced greater loss in body weight, fat mass, percent body fat, and waist circumference than women following a higher carbohydrate weight loss diet.

Drink water before every meal - Drinking a glass of water before eating will make you feel fuller after a meal, according to this study published by the European Journal of Nutrition.

Eat foods that are rich in Fiber - fiber rich foods helps you feel fuller longer they can act as a natural appetite suppressant. A study entitled "Effects of dietary fiber intake before meals on weight loss and hunger in a weight-reducing club" stated that addition of extra dietary fiber immediately before meals reduced hunger feelings.

Dark Chocolates - the bittersweet taste of this treat helps you to suppress your appetite. It also contains antioxidants that can curb hunger and control blood sugar. The journal "Eating dark and milk chocolate: a randomized crossover study of effects on appetite and energy intake"  studied 16 young men who were given either milk or dark chocolate. The results show that those who consume dark chocolates felt more satiated, less hungry, and had lower ratings of prospective food consumption.

Eat Ginger - a research posted on “Metabolism” shows that eating ginger can promote satiety and suppress appetite. 


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