Struggling to stay lean through the winter? One of the biggest problems with this season is the propensity to overeat. Of course, the best way to avoid putting on the obligatory 10 to 15 pounds over the next few months is to continue working out regularly and keep your diet in check. But how do you refrain from eating more than you need? Fortunately, we have an entire stack of solutions for you. In this article, we present some of the best non-stimulant appetite suppressants to help you avoid overeating this winter.
What it is: In chemical terminology, this naturally occurring compound is known as 8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide, but for all us non-chemists, it’s what makes chili peppers hot.
How it works: Capsaicin ingestion causes an increase in sympathetic nervous system activity, which increases the release of the hormone noradrenaline into the blood. High noradrenaline levels decrease appetite and increase the release of fat from fat cells into the bloodstream, where it can be burned as energy. So when you take capsaicin, you get the benefits of appetite suppression and increased fat burning.
How to take it: The potency of capsaicin is measured in Scoville units or heat units. For the greatest effect, look for supplements that deliver 40,000 to 90,000 Scoville units per dose. Take one dose 30 minutes before each meal.
What it is: Chromium is a trace mineral found in small amounts in many foods.
How it works: When taken as a supplement, chromium enhances the action of insulin to maintain optimal blood-sugar levels. As such, chromium reduces carb cravings and enhances fat loss. So, like capsaicin, chromium curbs your appetite and helps burn fat.
How to take it: Reports on effective doses range between 50 and 300 micrograms per day. However, the National Academy of Sciences established an “estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intake” range for chromium to be 50 to 200 micrograms per day. For best results, split your daily dose into two or three smaller doses and take them immediately before or after eating (without any other supplements).
What it is: Caralluma fimbriata is a succulent (fleshy) cactus used by tribes in South India to suppress hunger and enhance endurance.
How it works: In a recent pharmacological review published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, it was reported that pregnane glycosides are the compounds responsible for the extract’sappetite-suppressing effects. Animal studies have illustrated that pregnane glycosides act on areas of the hypothalamus (in the brain) involved in hunger and satiety. In a study published in Appetite, subjects who took 1 gram of Caralluma fimbriata extract per day for 60 days had an almost 10 percent decrease in hunger by Day 30 and a 20 percent decrease by Day 60.
How to take it: Human studies used 1 gram per day (100:1 extraction), but potencies may vary with level of extraction. Take as directed.
Phaseolus Vulgaris & Cynara Scolymus Extracts
What they are: Phaseolus vulgaris is the standardized extract of white kidney beans, and Cynara scolymus is the standardized extract of artichoke.<
How they work: What may sound like the ingredients for a tasty Mediterranean appetizer is actually an interesting combination of herbal extracts that has recently been shown to reduce blood glucose and control appetite. White kidney-bean extract contains potent alpha-amylase inhibitors, which decrease carbohydrate metabolism, keep blood glucose low and increase feelings of satiety (fullness). Also, white kidney beans contain phytohaemagglutinin, which has been shown to stimulate the release of two compounds — cholecystokinin and glucagon-like peptides — that regulate food intake.
Artichoke extract contains flavonoids that influence carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It also contains a compound called chlorogenic acid that essentially blocks the absorption and use of consumed carbohydrates.
How to take them:According to a study published in Phytotherapy Research, take 100 milligrams of white kidney-bean extract and 200 milligrams of artichoke extract 30 minutes before meals three times per day. However, because the level of extraction or standardization may vary from product to product, consult the directions on the one you buy and take as directed.
What it is: This soluble fiber is derived from the root of the konjac plant and can take on more than 200 times its weight in water.
How it works: Being a fiber supplement, glucomannan is great for creating a feeling of “fullness” and thus suppressing the appetite. Furthermore, its water-absorbing characteristics provide bulk that cleanses the digestive tract and colon. In a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, glucomannan greatly improved blood-lipid levels and regulated blood glucose to normal levels in Type 2 diabetics. In another placebo-controlled trial published in La Clinica Terapeutica, it was confirmed that a low-calorie diet yielded greater weight loss and was better tolerated in individuals who were taking glucomannan.
How to take it: Take 1 to 3 grams of glucomannan with 250 to 500 milliliters of water an hour before meals.
What it is: This amino acid converts to serotonin in the central nervous system.
How it works: Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in the control of mood, sleep, motivation and appetite. Taking 5-HTP has been shown to decrease appetite, enhance mood and promote deep sleep through its positive impact on serotonin levels. Many find that taking 5-HTP at night (when dieting) helps ward off the nighttime munchies. Several studies have shown that taking 5-HTP daily significantly suppresses appetite.
How to take it:Take 50 to 1,500 milligrams three times per day. Start with the lowest dose and work upward. For best effects on appetite control, take it on an empty stomach 30 minutes before meals. Do not take 5-HTP if you are on antidepressant medication like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.