Can taking appetite suppressants help you to lose weight faster, or are they a waste of time?
Although they have a role to play in weight-loss, appetite suppressants don’t actually make you lose weight. The efforts you make with diet and exercise are responsible for that. Appetite suppressants only make life easier by providing hunger control.
However, taking this type of supplement can speed up your weight loss in an indirect way by helping you stay on the straight and narrow. The same can be said for eating appetite-suppressing food.
If you have gained weight in the first place, there’s a good chance you are eating too often and/or eating overly large portions of food. This is can be a hard habit to break and the fact that your stomach has become used to feeling full means any attempt to eat less is likely to result in hunger pangs. That’s where a good appetite suppressant can help.
Of course, it’s also possible you have gained weight by making poor food choices. When the meals you eat are loaded with sugar or fat even small portions can help you to pile on the pounds. Especially if you live a sedentary lifestyle.
If poor food choices are the cause of your weight gain, things may be easier because you will only be switching to healthier foods. Unfortunately, the chances of this are pretty slim. It’s more likely you will have gained weight by eating too much. In all probability, you may have made too many poor food choices as well.
Hunger: A Formidable Obstacle You Have to Control
If you don’t control your hunger it will control you. An inability to control hunger is one of the main reasons so many dieters fail to lose weight.
The early stages of a weight-loss diet are usually the worst because the amount of food you eat suddenly has to change. Less food equals more hunger and you got a battle on your hands.
Fortunately, with time the body adapts to eating less food and problems with hunger are no longer such a big issue. That’s a good thing. Who would want to go on controlling their hunger with pills for the rest of their life?
It may be best to think of diet pills that control hunger as being a type of crutch. They are there for you to lean on until your body doesn’t need them anymore.
As you may have noticed, most of the top diet pills contain ingredients that control hunger. That should make it clear what a big problem an out of control appetite can be.
Many other diet pills ingredients aim to speed up metabolism and do other things that help you to burn more fat. However, useful as these things can be, they won’t benefit you at all if you continue to allow too many calories to enter your mouth.
Do You Need to Use Appetite Suppressants to Lose Weight?
Can you lose weight without the help of appetite suppressants? Absolutely. It’s very possible, all you need is the will power to do it. Hunger suppressing supplements can be a good crutch if you need one but it’s still possible to go it alone and many people do. I know that from experience. When I wanted to lose weight and get a six-pack, I did it without using any supplements at all. It was hard work, but nothing is impossible if you are truly motivated and remain true to your cause.
However, hunger is very annoying. It can distract you from your work and interfere with other things you want to do. It’s also a very unpleasant sensation. If you feel you need a little extra help, there’s no reason to be ashamed. Most dieters need help with hunger. If you are one of them you are not alone.
How Do Appetite Suppressants Control Hunger?
Appetite suppressants can work in a number of different ways. Some use one method, others use another and some tackle the problem of hunger in two or more ways at once.
Appetite Suppression Due to a Stress Response
Phentermine is an appetite suppressing drug. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s got a good reputation for getting the job done. It’s also a weight-loss medication that’s can cause a lot of nasty side effects. That’s probably not surprising considering the way Phentermine works.
Phentermine causes the body to secrete hormones that initiate a state of fight or flight. (https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/fight-or-flight-response/)
It’s a stress response. The body would normally go into fight or flight during situations of danger. It’s the body in survival mode.
Several things happen during fight or flight. The blood vessels dilate and the heart beats faster. The bronchi in the lungs dilate as well and respiration increases. All these things help the muscles get extra oxygen to help provide the energy necessary to fight harder or make a speedy escape.
A lot of other changes occur as well and one of the things fight or flight does is turn off hunger. In a life or death situation, hunger is a distraction the body does not need.
Normal fight or flight is a condition that may not last long. Once you are free from danger, things will return to normal. Phentermine places the body in this stress response for extended periods of time.
Now you know some of the things the condition does, it may not surprise you to learn headaches, vomiting, and changes in bowel movements are some of the common side effects Phentermine can present.
Rarer side effects may include heart palpitations, angina, fainting, insomnia, and erectile dysfunction in men.
There’s a reason why doctors have to supervise the use of the Phentermine appetite suppressing drug.
Hunger Reduction By Manipulating GLP-1
Saxenda is another weight-loss medication you can only get with a prescription. It’s quite unpleasant to use because you have to inject it under the skin around the abdomen or upper thigh.
The injection provides the drug Liraglutide. It’s a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. In easy-talk, that means it acts on a receptor called GLP-1.
GLP-1 is an appetite-regulating hormone that’s produced in the gut. It’s unclear exactly how the drug interacts with GLP-1 one but Saxenda is an appetite suppressant that works for many people.
Unfortunately, using this drug may cause some people to experience serious side effects, including gallbladder problems and inflammation of the pancreas. (https://www.saxenda.com/about-saxenda/side-effects.html)
A Drug That Tricks the Brain Into Thinking the Stomach Is Full
Contrave is another popular brand of prescription weight-loss medication. It’s a combination of the drugs bupropion and naltrexone.
Bupropion is a drug that’s normally used for treating depression. It also helps people who are trying to stop smoking.
Naltrexone is a drug that’s used for treating people who are dependent on alcohol or opioid drugs like heroin.
Contrave works by stimulating the hypothalamus. It’s the area of the brain that controls hunger. The drug appears to trick it into thinking the stomach does not require food.
Contrave also works on the mesolimbic area of the brain. In doing so it can further help to reduce cravings.
The drug works well for some people but it does not work for all and, as with the other prescription appetite suppressants, there is a risk of side effects. Perhaps not surprisingly because of the things it does to the brain, Contrave may cause some people to experience feelings of depression, suicidal tendencies, or other mental/emotional issues. (https://contrave.com/how-contrave-works/)
Supplements that Work by Providing Satiety
Many appetite suppressing supplements work by providing a feeling of satiety. In a lot of cases, this type of supplement provides dietary fiber.
Dietary fiber is good for filling the stomach. It also takes time to digest so the benefits can last for a while. Psyllium husk is a key ingredient in many supplements of this kind.
Glucomannan is a superior and more popular option. It’s a natural fiber that can absorb up to 50 times its own weight in water. When it sucks up the water the fibers expand to form a gel. When this happens in the stomach it makes it feel full. Glucomannan’s value as an appetite suppressant has been evaluated and confirmed by the European Food Safety Council (EFSA).
I have an in-depth article about glucomannan on another page of this site. (Glucomannan for Weight-Loss)
The big difference between these supplements and drugs is there is no trickery. They physically fill the stomach in the same way as food.
Supplements that Work In Other Ways
Caffeine is a popular diet pill ingredient that can provide mild appetite suppression but it has more value as an energy provider. Caffeine is also a proven fat burner but some people have tolerance issues that mean they cannot use supplements that contain it.
Capsaicin is compound that’s present in several species of red pepper. It’s responsible for giving them their heat. Although it gets the most credit for its abilities as a fat burner, capsaicin is a proven appetite suppressant as well. Some researchers speculate this is due to the compound’s ability to increase sympathetic nervous system activity. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426284/)
Choosing a Good Appetite Suppressant
Unless your doctor provides a prescription, appetite-suppressing drugs will not be legally available to you. Bearing in mind all the side effects these drugs present, using a natural appetite suppressing supplement is probably a better option anyway. That’s presuming you don’t wish to take the bull by the horns and go it alone.
Although some supplements only aim to provide hunger support, many offer a combination of benefits and, by increasing resting metabolism, may help you to burn a few extra calories per day.
However, no supplement will help you unless you exercise restraint and keep your daily calorie intake sufficiently low. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes but, if you are willing to put in the effort there are supplements that can help.
Don’t try to kid yourself otherwise. Unless you watch what you eat, any supplement you buy will be a waste of money.
There are many good appetite suppressing supplements. However, there are far more that cannot do the things the manufacturers claim.
If you are primarily interested in controlling your hunger, I recommend trying a supplement that provides glucomannan. The EFSA says good glucomannan supplements needs to provide one gram of glucomannan, three times per day. Most pharmacies will be able to provide you with a generic glucomannan product at a cheap price.
If you want to buy online, you will find plenty of options but it’s important to check the supplement you choose provides a sufficient amount. If you want a good glucomannan supplement that will help you to burn a few extra calories too, I suggest you check out my Glucomannan Plus Review.