Appetite suppression pills waste of money, say experts

Last Updated: Mar 11, 2013, 15:12 PM IST

Washington: Over-the-counter pills that promise to help people suppress their appetite to lose weight may not be as effective as more natural approaches, experts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have said.

UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences Professor and Chair Timothy Garvey, M.D, revealed that a web search of ingredients getting attention recently, like Hoodia gordonii or green coffee bean extract, has exposed countless products that cannot always be trusted.

"There are little or no rigorous data addressing the efficacy of these sorts of compounds. People buying these products are likely to be wasting money," Garvey said.

Instead, Garvey added that patients with obesity complications should seek direction from their health care providers.

"There are proven lifestyle modification programs and medications that can be helpful," Garvey added.

There are steps one can take to naturally lower appetite.

UAB Wellness Director Lauren Whitt, Ph.D., recommended starting the day with protein.

"It has long been suggested that people eat breakfast to help with hunger throughout the day, but your breakfast must have protein," Whitt said.

"Egg whites or low-fat yogurt are excellent sources of protein that will keep you feeling fuller longer because it takes the body more time to digest and absorb them," she noted.

Later in the day, before hunger strikes, Whitt said a portion of an unsaturated fat could do the trick.

"Oleic acid, which is found in unsaturated fats, helps quell hunger. It may sound counterintuitive, but this is healthy fat, so snack on a couple tablespoons of peanut butter or an ounce of nuts," Whitt said.

Lastly, she suggests tossing a certain citrus into the mix.

"Eating grapefruit between meals, or with a meal, helps lower the insulin levels in your body," she explained.

"Insulin regulates your blood sugar and fat metabolism, so keeping insulin levels in check helps you fight the urge to grab a quick, sugary snack," she added.