The overwhelming increase in obesity is one of the greatest threats to the health of the developed world. As the obesity prevalence reaches epidemic proportions, researchers have been trying to find effective mechanisms to control appetite. This where a natural appetite suppressant comes into the picture.
It is a well-known fact that food intake regulation and physical activity are the two most important factors involved in weight loss control.
Many manufacturers of weight-loss pills promote their products as a fast and safe method to lose weight, but this is not so according to the US Food and Drug Administration.
These products may contain tainted and unlisted ingredients and synthetic additives that may cause adverse reactions.
Consuming natural appetite suppressants like green tea, fenugreek, and saffron, are much safer and healthier ways to reduce appetites. Let us learn more about natural appetite suppressant in detail.
Best natural appetite suppressants
1. Fenugreek extract
This herb contains fiber which helps in regulating blood sugar, cholesterol, and appetite (1). It slows down the emptying of the stomach and delays the absorption of fats and cholesterol, which results in loss of appetite.
During a 2009 study, eighteen participants were given either 4 grams or 8 grams of isolated fenugreek fiber every 30 minutes for three and a half hours.
Participants who took eight grams of fenugreek fiber had significantly increased satiety and reduced hunger for the next meal (2).
Fenugreek also helps the people by reducing their fat intake. A study on 12 healthy men showed that taking 588 to 1176 mg of fenugreek extract decreased their daily fat consumption by 17 percent (3).
Fenugreek has many other health benefits; it also helps in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels in the body.
2. Green tea extract
Green tea extract is rich in many antioxidants that are known to improve metabolism and help in regulating appetite hormones. Green tea extracts contain caffeine and catechins which contribute to its weight loss properties.
According to a study, taking 857 mg of green tea extract for 12 weeks significantly reduced the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin in the body (6).
Though having around 880 to 900 mg of green tea extract is generally considered safe, some people may face mild headaches and hypertension and constipation.
A moderate amount of coffee helps to boost metabolism and suppress appetite. It contains caffeine, chlorogenic acid, and quinides, which are helpful for weight loss.
According to a review of various studies, drinking coffee .5 to 4 hours before a meal can influence stomach emptying, appetite hormones and feelings of hunger (7).
According to one study on 33 volunteers, having three or six mg of caffeine during breakfast helps in reducing appetite for the next meal (8).
The natural appetite suppressant effects of coffee may be different for men and women. During one study on ten men and ten women, caffeine intake of 300 mg reduced the appetite in men by 21.7 percent, but it did not affect women (9).
4. Saffron extract
Saffron extract is known to suppress appetite and reduce sugar cravings. These extracts also have a positive effect on mood regulation as it increases endorphin and serotonin levels.
As a result of serotonin action in the body, saffron can reduce snacking and elevate mood (10). In fact, saffron extract can help improve symptoms of depression and emotional eating.
Saffron also contains a carotenoid compound called crocetin, which helps decrease fatigue during exercise and increases energy expenditure (11).
Eight weeks of treatment with 30 mg of saffron extract can help improve symptoms of depression.
Capsaicin, the compound responsible for the hotness factor of cayenne peppers, can help increase the metabolic rate by 20 percent for up to two hours after consumption.
According to a recent study, when people added cayenne pepper to the tomato soup, they ate 60 fewer calories.
Peppers are free from calories and are loaded with benefits.
The smell of mint is an effective appetite suppressant, which is the reason why many experts recommend peppermint tea as a natural appetite suppressant.
When the scent travels from the nose to the brain, it affects that part of the hypothalamus that registers satiety. So, the brain releases hormones that suppress appetite.
According to a 2007 study by Wheeling Jesuit University, when the participants inhaled peppermint every two hours, they felt significantly less hungry and ate 1800 fewer calories.
Experts do not recommend peppermint tea if you are pregnant and lactating. It can also worsen gallstones and heartburn in some people.
7. Grapefruit essential oil
Numerous studies have been done on the weight loss and appetite suppressant qualities of grapefruit. Grapefruits contain beneficial acids, volatile oils, antioxidants and enzymes that help lower appetite and stimulate the lymphatic system.
However, it is the smell of grapefruit that provides its natural appetite suppressant qualities. Many studies seem to suggest that grapefruit essential oil is quite useful in reducing appetite and weight (13, 14).
Smelling grapefruit helps stimulate ghrelin-induced feeding, and this makes you feel fuller and less likely to give in to cravings.
8. Caralluma Fimbriata
Caralluma Fimbriata is an edible cactus which is used by tribal Indians to suppress hunger and enhance endurance. It increases serotonin in the brain, which decreases carbohydrate intake and suppresses appetite (15).
During one trial 50 young men and women were given 1 gram of Caralluma extract per day for 60 days. This resulted in a 2.5 percent weight loss and a significant reduction in appetite (16).
According to another study on 47 people with BMI more than 25, 500 mg of Caralluma capsules taken twice daily resulted in significant reduction of body weight (17).
The main component of apple cider vinegar (ACV) is acetic acid, which is a natural appetite suppressant. We get craving because of low blood sugar.
Since apple cider vinegar can control our sugar levels, it also helps control cravings and weight gain. After all, added sugars are one of the biggest causes of weight gain.
According to one study, acetate suppresses the centers of the brain that control appetite, and this can lead to a reduction in appetite (18).
10. High fiber foods
High fiber diet dulls appetite and reduces cravings. This happens because dietary fiber slows down the digestion of glucose in the body and keeps you feeling full for longer. Many fiber-rich foods are also rich in nutrition, so they also help alleviate deficiencies and help to keep us hydrated.
Some studies have also found that eating fiber reduces the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin in the body (19). Some other studies have also shown that eating soluble fiber increases the production of hormones that make you feel satiated like cholecystokinin, GLP-1, and peptide YY (20).
High fiber diet can also help lower your risk of stroke, atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension and gastrointestinal disorders.
Water is the best natural appetite suppressant. Not only does it improve your metabolism, but it also can help by reducing your appetite if you take it before meals.
According to a study when obese adults were given 500 ml of water before every meal for 12 weeks, they showed a 44 percent better decline in weight, as compared to the group that did not take water (21).
- Suggested read: How Much Water Should I Drink a Day?
Another study on the effect of water showed that drinking water before breakfast could reduce the number of calories consumed by 13 percent (22).
So, stay hydrated and lose weight.
Precautions while taking a natural appetite suppressant
When you take a natural appetite suppressant, there is always a risk of you developing a reaction. So, be very careful of the dosage and follow instructions carefully. High doses can lead to poisoning, diarrhea, nausea and heart problems.
Avoid using any such supplements if you are pregnant or are breastfeeding. Children and the elderly should also avoid appetite suppressants unless recommended by a doctor.
If you take medication for a heart condition, make sure you consult with your doctor before taking any natural appetite suppressant.
Natural appetite suppressants like green tea extracts and saffron extract can affect your mental state, so people with anxiety issues or depression should not take these without checking with a doctor first. Caffeine can make dizziness or vertigo worse.
Final words on natural appetite suppressant
Certain foods and drinks can also help suppress appetite. They help reduce hunger by increasing satiety levels, slowing stomach emptying and controlling cravings.
While many synthetic pills and supplements claim to reduce appetite, they are not very safe. Natural appetite suppressants and supplements like green tea extract, fenugreek extract, apple cider vinegar, fiber-rich food, and water are more reliable and better for weight reduction. They control cravings, balance hunger hormones and keep fuller for longer.
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