Can appetite suppressants help you lose weight?

Most of us are dissatisfied to some extent or another with our body shape. A lot of people are a lot heavier than they would like to be, and there have been endless ideas put forward about how to get to the weight you want to be. One of the things we all know is that if we eat too much we put on weight, and that we can lose weight by eating less. I get some surprised looks sometimes when I suggest that excercising isn’t very helpful for getting slim. My logic is that what matters is how much you eat relative to how much energy your body burns. If you exercise you deplete your blood sugar, and this makes you hungry. Your problem now is one of willpower. But if you have the willpower to overcome your hunger, you could do that just as easily without exercise. In fact the act of burning up your energy quickly has probably made it harder not easier to resist your cravings.

In some ways you are setting yourself up for a fall because to your existing worries about your body image you are now risking getting into feelings of guilt and inadequacy about your lack of character in following through your plan.

There is one very seductive idea that seems to help get out of this. If you could somehow suppress your feelings of hunger then the amount of willpower needed is less and you have a chance of keeping to your diet. It sounds very promising. There are numerous offerings in this area. Some are pharmaceutical chemicals and some are natural products. One natural product that is particularly prominent in this area is Hoodia Gordonii, this was the so called active in the Huge Lips Skinny Hips product I reviewed a while back. I have to say that what I have seen so far of the evidence for the effect of this material has not impressed me, but let us leave that aside for the moment. If there is a natural product that can suppress your hunger, why not use it?

I think the answer to that is that fat deposition is controlled in the body by a hormone called insulin. This breaks down fat when we need energy and stores fat when we have plenty available. It also seems to control our feeling of hunger. The information it works on to make these decisions is your blood sugar level. If you cut off the feedback loop between our feeling of hunger and our blood sugar level I suspect that the insulin will not simply burn down the fat. My guess is that it will go into starvation mode and start preparing the body to get through a famine. When you eat you will have no feedback telling you you are full either, so there is a very good chance you will eat too much.

All in all, I don’t think that this is a strategy that is likely to be successful. When you think about it, the main reason there are so many obese people about is that refined sugar and carbohydrate messes up the feedback system between hunger and blood sugar levels. It is very unlikely that messing around with the system even more, getting insulin levels even further out of control, is going to help.

My advice – don’t use appetite suppressing agents even if they have very convincing data behind them. As it happens, I have yet to see convincing data behind an appetite suppressant anyway.

One thought on “Can appetite suppressants help you lose weight?

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