Nutrition. Appetite suppressants, do they really work?

Appetite suppressants are a temporary solution in case of a little peckishness between two meals. If these actually bring a feeling of satiety to the body, it is not a good food solution. There is even a risk of gaining weight over time.

A consistent energy supply

In terms of energy intake, appetite suppressant foods are effective. They effectively cut the small hungers which arrive before the meal. Among the best known: apple, cottage cheese, pineapple, grapefruit, eggs, lentils or even oat bran.

These foods cut the feeling of hunger by bringing something fast to the body: “Apple, konjac powder or agar-agar, for example, will swell the stomach and absorb water, which has an effect on satiety”, explains Nathalie Bédia, dietician in Grenoble.

Foods rich in protein such as eggs or cottage cheese are also good appetite suppressants, as they tend to easily stall us. Same goes for high fiber foods like lentils.

A temporary solution

However, even if these foods cut hunger, this solution is not the right one. “Appetite suppressant foods must remain very punctual”, specifies Nathalie Bédia. She also adds that “the appetite suppressant will work for a maximum of 2 hours and it will tend to make the problem worse because the craving for fat and sweets will be greater afterwards. »

However, appetite suppressant foods can still be effective in certain situations, especially before eating (about an hour before). These will then play their role of appetite suppressant without replacing a meal, since the effects of satiety will have disappeared at lunch or dinner time. However, Nathalie Bédia is also not against a snack with a low glycemic index at 4 p.m., for example a cottage cheese and an apple.

Appetite suppressants are synonymous with poor nutrition. Adobe stock illustration

Signs of an unbalanced diet

But appetite suppressant foods are synonymous with poor nutrition: “If we use an appetite suppressant food, it’s because we ate badly at the start, it’s because our diet isn’t working. You have to relearn how to eat,” explains the dietician.

The appetite suppressant food can sometimes also be associated with an emotional lack because, for her, “the feeling of hunger is often linked to our emotions such as stress, fatigue, anxiety or boredom. The idea then is to work on yourself to find another solution than turning to food. This work can be done with a psychologist for example, but also with a dietitian.

Tips for a good diet

The appetite suppressant, however, is considered snacking, which causes weight gain in the long term. To avoid having to resort to it, Nathalie Bédia recommends eating more slowly during meals, which allows the brain to assimilate the food ingested and bring about a feeling of satiety more quickly. The body will then only consume what it needs. Staying well hydrated between meals is also recommended.