Fill ’Er Up

Some people look forward to Thanksgiving because of the time spent with family. Some anticipate the time off from work. But most look forward to the food, those familiar traditional tastes that you’ve probably been eating since your first teeth grew in. Nowadays, though, that enormous spread of food represents a conundrum: Do you risk a dietary disaster while treating your taste buds? Or do you abstain entirely, stick solely to protein-rich roast turkey and miss out on the holiday fun? We propose a middle ground: These supplements will help you control your appetite so you don’t go bonkers, but at least you’ll get to sample the savory flavors of the meal.


The root of the konjac plant is extremely fibrous but contains almost no calories. When taken as a supplement, it expands in the stomach, making you physically feel full — before you’ve eaten anything.

Dose: Take 1 gram with a large glass of water 30 minutes before the meal.


It sounds like a complicated chemical, and its full name, 5-hydroxytryptophan, gives a hint about its function. Tryptophan is the amino acid that triggers those drowsy feelings after eating turkey, but it also helps produce the neurochemical serotonin. Because serotonin levels rise after eating a high-carb meal, taking 5-HTP tricks the body into thinking that it’s already been fed well, turning down the desire to eat more.

Dose: Take 50 to 100 milligrams between 30 and 60 minutes before the meal.

Hoodia gordonii

Arguably the most hyped of appetite-suppressing supplements, Hoodia is derived from a South African cactus, and it targets the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that’s involved in appetite. It’s been shown to reduce food intake by 60 percent.

Dose: Take 300 to 400 milligrams between 30 and 60 minutes before the meal.