8 Best Appetite Suppressants To Lose Weight

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Appetite suppressants affect the nervous system and convince the body that it isn’t hungry, and is commonly used by those who are trying to lose weight, along with adjustments to diet and activity levels.

Best Appetite Suppressants

There are countless appetite suppressants on the market, with varying levels of efficacy and a range of potential side effects. Below is our list of the best appetite suppressants available, along with their health benefits, side effects, and proper dosage instructions.

Fenugreek

Native to Europe and parts of Asia, fenugreek is an herb whose different parts are used in different medicinal and culinary applications.

  • Benefits: When eaten, fenugreek is believed to slow the rate at which sugars are absorbed in the stomach, which is beneficial for diabetics. This can slow the onset of hunger, stabilize blood sugar levels, and prevent snacking between meals, as evidenced in this study from Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.
  • Dosage: Taking 1 gram of fenugreek seed extract once daily is appropriate for periods of up to six months. You can also consume fenugreek in food like a traditional herb.
  • Side effects: Side effects of using this herb may include diarrhea, bloating, gas and dizziness, along with the risk of hypoglycemia, when taken in excess. Pregnant women and children should not use this herb.

Glucomannan

Glucomannan is a type of dietary fiber extracted from the tuber or root of the elephant yam (Amorphophallus paeoniifolius). This fiber can be added to meals in flour or pasta and is also available in supplement form. It has been used in Africa and Southeast Asia for medicinal purposes and an important food source for millennia.

  • Benefits: As a low-calorie, water-soluble fiber, it soaks up a lot of water in the gut, forming a gel-like substance that slows the absorption of protein and fat, and also delays stomach emptying. This can lead to feelings of fullness and satiety.
  • Dosage: It is recommended that you consume 1 gram of glucomannan 15-45 minutes before each meal for the best results.
  • Side effects: It may cause soft stools, diarrhea, bloating, and excess gas, but these symptoms are uncommon.
A despondent looking man staring down at a plate of food placed alongside a glass of water in front of him

Are appetite suppressants good for you? Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Gymnema Sylvestre

Gymnema is a woody shrub whose leaves have been used medicinally in Ayurvedic and African traditional medicine for generations.

  • Benefits: The leaves contain a compound—gymnemic acid—that slows the absorption of sugar by the intestines. Furthermore, this chemical suppresses the taste of sweetness by affecting the receptors on your taste buds, which can reduce cravings for sugar and help with weight loss goals, as shown in this review of its efficacy from the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.
  • Dosage: There is limited evidence of a safe dosage range, so consult with a physician or natural healer about appropriate dosage levels, based on your age, health status, and other medications.
  • Side effects: Side effects of Gymnema sylvestre supplements include gastrointestinal distress, low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), and potential interactions with various diabetes medications.

Griffonia Simplicifolia

Native to West African countries like the Ivory Coast and Togo, Griffonia simplicifolia is a plant with leaves, seeds, and juice that have many medicinal uses.

  • Benefits: The seeds, in particular, contain a type of amino acid called 5–hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). In the body, after it crosses the blood-brain barrier, this amino acid is converted to serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter and hormone that is linked to reducing hunger. Studies have shown that regular use of this herbal supplement, or a pure 5-HTP supplement, can aid in weight loss.
  • Dosage: Dosage ranges from 25-100mg supplements taken daily; you should begin with a low dose to gauge your body’s reaction.
  • Side effects: Side effects can include anxiety, depression, and difficulty concentrating, as well as dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea.

Caralluma Fimbriata

Also known as Indian cactus, Caralluma fimbriata is trusted by Ayurvedic practitioners as an effective appetite suppressant.

  • Benefits: This plant is known to inhibit certain enzymes in the body, which prevents the fat formation and instead burns fat for energy. There are also claims that consuming this plant will affect the nervous system‘s appetite control centers, though the research on this is less conclusive.
  • Dosage: You can eat the plant as a cooked vegetable, pickled or even raw, but there are also supplements of the extract from Caralluma. An oral dose of one gram of the extract per day is believed to have a positive effect on appetite suppression.
  • Side effects: There are no known toxicities or widely reported side effects, although allergies to Indian cactus do exist.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid

You have likely heard of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) because it is a polyunsaturated fatty acid found in proteins like beef and milk.

  • Benefits: When taken as a concentrated supplement for appetite suppression, it is said to increase weight loss by affecting those genes and hormones that control your appetite. Research has shown that the effect is small, but it can help with fat burning and your at-rest metabolism.
  • Dosage: The suggested dosage for CLA ranges from 1-6 grams per day, depending on your body type, overall health, and your body’s reaction to the supplement.
  • Side effects: Side effects are known to include diarrhea, gas, and inflammation when taken in excess.

Garcinia Cambogia

Garcinia cambogia is a popular appetite suppressant supplement that is derived from the peel of the fruit-bearing the same name.

  • Benefits: The active ingredient in the peel that affects appetite and weight loss is hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is known to increase serotonin in the brain, which reduces your appetite, while also blocking fat formation in the gut and lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. All of this combined can result in measurable weight loss!
  • Dosage: It is not recommended to consume over 3 grams of this extract supplement per day.
  • Side effects: Reported side effects include digestive symptoms, skin rash, and headaches. Furthermore, if you are on medication for depression or have any other long-term health issues, speak with your doctor before using Garcinia cambogia.

Yerba Mate

This is a type of herbal tea made from the Ilex paraguariensis plant that is popular in many South American countries.

  • Benefits: This naturally caffeinated beverage is linked to the increased burning of fat stores, increased weight loss, and reduced appetite, as noted in this article published in Nutrients.
  • Dosage: In some areas of the world, yerba mate is drunk continually throughout the day.
  • Side effects: There is a risk of high blood pressure, anxiety, and difficulty focusing, along with gastrointestinal side effects caused by the caffeine. A cup or two of yerba mate every day can do wonders for your dietary goals.
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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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