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    Archive for the ‘appetite suppressants’ Category

    You Say ‘Water’, I Say ‘Snake Oil’

    The beverage industry has always been home to potions that try to provide “added value” (and calories, artificial ingredients, sugars, dyes, and cost) to the very thing most people need to drink more of — water.

    If you thought few things could top the ridiculousness of Coca-Cola and Nestlé’s “calorie-burning” canned drink Enviga (which, thankfully, landed on shelves with a resounding thud in 2007), check out these four “aqua-ceuticals”.

    Warning: this post may cause forceful eye-rolling.

    Continue Reading »


    Who Said It?: Reveal

    oprah-dr-oz-slide“When you eat spicy foods for breakfast, it reduces your appetite at lunch.”

    This quote belongs to Dr. Oz, who shared it as a weight-loss tip in a recent interview with AOLHealth.com.  He then recommends implementing this tip to your diet by adding hot peppers (no quantities are specified) to a breakfast omelette.

    As you may imagine, that is not a quote I am too fond of.

    Yes, a few small (think less than 30 subjects) human studies have theorized that there may be a link between capsaicin (the compounds that makes jalapeño peppers spicy) and appetite reduction.

    Alas, there are a few catches.  For example, the study that achieved this most successfully (published last year in Clinical Nutrition) provided subjects with meals containing 510 milligrams of capsaicin.  That’s quite a bit of capsaicin to down in one meal, so much so that the researchers suggest in the study’s conclusion that “a lower dosage of capsaicin should be combined with other bioactive ingredients [like green tea]” to mimic the effects of the study.

    Another thing worth keeping in mind: hot and spicy foods rev up metabolism slightly (though not enough to result in significant calorie losses) for roughly twenty to thirty minutes after they are consumed, not hours.

    Additionally, a recent study in the European Journal of Nutrition concluded that “a lunch containing capsaicin had no [acute] effect on satiety [or] energy expenditure.”  As for capsaicin’s role in decreasing appetite?  The numbers looked promising, but after statistical analysis, those figures were deemed statistically insignificant.

    This is simply one of those tips that just doesn’t seem practical to me.  It’s one thing to recommend eating a high-fiber food at breakfast (be it beans, oatmeal, quinoa, or adding psyllium husks to a smoothie), or to be sure to have a good source of protein at every meal for optimal satiety.  Those recommendations are realistic, doable, and can be easily implemented.

    Do we really expect someone to thrown in piles of jalapeños into an omelette every morning?  Furthermore, I have yet to hear anyone who lives on Taco Bell and Chipotle mention any unexpected weight loss!

    As far as I’m concerned, this should be filed along with the “OMG!!  Green tea helps you lose weight!!!” studies.


    In The News: Another One Bites the Dust… Yay!

    Those of you who watched my YouTube video on appetite suppressants know how much I loathe them.

    So, as you may imagine, I was pleased as punch to find out today that multi-national giant Unilever has canceled negotiations with Hoodia supplier Phytopharm to use the plant extract in Slimfast products, despite plunking down $25 million in research and developments costs over the last four years.

    Unilever’s official statement is very PR-friendly: “the extract would not meet our safety and efficacy standards.”

    In other words — the whole thing is bunk and they want nothing to do with it. Good!

    By the way, Hoodia was one of the “magic indredients” in TrimSpa. We all know how THAT ended.

    For those of you unfamiliar with Hoodia, it is a plant native to the Kalahari Desert in South Africa, which Natives have supposedly eaten for centuries to keep hunger at bay while on long treks.

    The “magic” apparently occurs due to a molecule in the plant known as P57, which allegedly shuts off appetite by targeting the hypothalamus.

    Mind you, there is absolutely no evidence that Hoodia works. All we have are anecdotal accounts (generously provided by companies selling the product, of course.)

    It’s also silly to assume that processed parts of a plant, either in powder or capsule form, yield the same results as consuming it in unadulterated ways.

    That’s like someone hawking fruit juice concentrates in pill form and claiming they offer the same health benefits as a piece of raw fruit.

    Even if Hoodia did work, appetite suppresants are the worst thing you can do for long-term weight loss.

    They don’t teach new behaviors and can have risky side-effects (remember, the term “appetite suppresant” is a euphemism for “amphetamines.”)

    How about a pill that makes consumers immune to diet scams, frauds, and “magic bullets”?


    FNCE 2008: Out of Towners

    Some of the booths at this year’s American Dietetic Association Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo struck me as very out of place:

    Slimshots: A vanilla-flavored appetite suppresant. Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady) istheir spokesperson. Appetite suppresants at a food conference?

    Corn Refiners Association: Despite current ADA president Martin Yaddrick’s statement that “The American Dietetic Association had no involvement with the recent Corn Refiners Association advertisements. ADA did not review or approve the ad in question, nor any wording in it; nor did ADA have advance knowledge of the advertisement,” the people behind this campaign were present at FNCE with all sorts of literature claiming high fructose corn syrup is just dandy.

    GNC and Vitamin Shoppe: Although these stores sell legitimate vitamins and minerals, they also hawk supplements (which are unregulated) that often succumb to nutrition quackery in their advertising.

    Coca Cola: I am completely at a loss as to how carbonated water with high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners belongs at a nutrition conference. Sprinkling corn fiber into it does not make it “healthy.”



    The Skinny on Appetite Suppressants

    The latest Small Bites YouTube video concerns the multi-million dollar appetite suppressant industry.

    These supposed magical pills are marketed everywhere (most have a higher advertising budget than individual fruit and vegetable boards), promising effortless weight loss.

    Despite the fact that some of these supplements are simply scaled down versions of amphetamines and others have absolutely no scientific evidence demonstrating their effectiveness, consumers continue to seek out these products in hopes of shedding pounds by simply popping a pill.

    I explain why appetite suppressants are a big waste of money — and suggest one productive place that cash can go.


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