If hunger cravings are making it tough to stick to your diet, an appetite suppressant could be the key to keeping your caloric intake under control. Since weight loss is a function of your food intake minus your caloric expenditure, dialing back your appetite is a surefire way to improve your weight loss results.
An appetite suppressant increases feelings of satiety, or fullness, making you less inclined to eat and less hungry before your next meal. Some appetite suppressant supplements accomplish this goal by providing extra fiber, which increases feelings of fullness, while others work to alter hunger-generating hormones.
Want to know how more about why an appetite suppressant can help you hit your weight loss goals? Read on to hear about our research team’s most important findings on the research behind appetite suppressants.
Appetite suppressant benefits
1. Appetite suppressants can help accelerate your weight loss
Still not losing weight despite diet and exercise? Maybe it’s time to try to take a more advanced strategy to reduce your caloric intake. Similar to fat burners and thermogenics, appetite suppressants specifically target your cravings to eat more.
By reducing your caloric intake, appetite suppressants shift the weight loss equation in your favor, helping you shed fat faster.
2. Weight loss is a pretty simple equation: if you eat it, you’ve got to burn it, otherwise your body is going to store it
There are ways to modify this equation to tilt it in your favor, and one of the most simple ways is to just not eat it. Appetite suppressants are one great way to make this happen (1). They help decrease your food intake, putting you in a caloric deficit.
3. Natural appetite suppressants can decrease food consumption by nearly 10%
A scientific review paper published in 2010 looked in-depth at several of the mechanisms behind green tea extract’s weight loss effects, concluding that green tea can beneficially modulate the brain’s activity in response to food intake (2).
Does it work in the real world? Research says yes: a green tea-based appetite suppressant reduced food consumption by 8% in a group of overweight and obese men (3).
4. Some appetite suppressants can modify hunger-stimulating hormones
Some appetite suppressants work through relatively simple mechanisms, like providing extra fiber, which takes up more bulk in your digestive tract, making you feel full for longer.
Other supplements take a more sophisticated approach, like 5-HTP. 5-HTP is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in appetite control, and 5-HTP and its derivatives have been shown to reduce appetite before and after meals of a controlled caloric content (4).
So, if you’re not getting the results you want with a simple appetite suppressant, you may want to try out a more powerful supplement that targets hormone levels too.
5. Small amounts of weight loss can have a big impact on health
Even modest amounts of weight loss can have a substantial health benefit. Losing just 5% of your body weight can lower your blood pressure, reduce your blood triglyceride levels, and increase your HDL or “good” cholesterol (5). Of course, more weight loss is even better.
Appetite suppressant side effects
The side effects of an appetite suppressant are going to be contingent on the specific ingredients in the supplement, but there are a few commonalities.
Eating too little typically is not a concern with appetite suppressants. Appetite suppressants aren’t known to be powerful enough to actually diminish your desire to eat to dangerously low levels.
Instead, any concerns are going to be directly related to the specific ingredients and any collateral damage that they cause in your body.
Caffeine is an effective appetite suppressant but can cause jitters and sleeplessness. Many multi-ingredient appetite suppressants contain caffeine, which can cause jitters, nausea, and heart palpitation in high doses and in sensitive individuals (6). The real problem is supplements that include caffeine but don’t list the actual concentration.
Some appetite suppressants might be associated with liver damage. Other supplements, like garcinia cambogia, have some controversy over whether they have any side effects. Some studies in animals have found that high doses of the supplement can cause liver damage (7), while others have found no effects (8).
Studies in humans have found little in the way of negative effects (9), but the controversy is something to be aware of.
Appetite suppressant dosage
The ideal dosage of an appetite suppressant is going to depend on the ingredients in the supplement. Some supplements, like green tea extract, have fairly well-standardized ideal dosages, whereas others, like saffron, are almost totally unstudied in this context. Still, here are some guidelines:
Green tea: aim for at least 270 mg of EGCGs per day. This number comes from research on the efficacy of green tea extract on weight loss and weight loss maintenance (10).
5-HTP: aim for 300-900 mg per day. Again, this is the dosage range typically used in research on 5-HTP for appetite control (11).
Glucomannan: aim for 1-3 grams per day. Glucomannan directly stimulates satiety, and is pretty well-studied for this purpose. A scientific review recommends one to three grams per day as a typical dosage (12).
Appetite suppressant benefits FAQ
Q: What appetite suppressants are safe?
A: When it comes to safety, natural compounds are best. The appetite suppressants with the least number of potential side effects are the most simple ones, like psyllium husk and inulin fiber.
Beyond fiber-based appetite suppressants, green tea extract is a more powerful but still exceptionally safe appetite suppressant. It’s a good next step if you want to go beyond mere fiber-based supplements, but don’t want to deal with potential side effects or less well-studied supplements.
Q: Do appetite suppressants help you lose weight?
A: Yes, appetite suppressants are explicitly designed to help assist you with either losing weight or maintaining weight loss.
An appetite suppressant is not the most aggressive kind of weight loss supplement, as it’s only indirectly helping you lose weight. Unlike a thermogenic or fat burner, it does not directly stimulate the increased metabolic turnover of fat.
Still, if you consistently shift your food intake to lower levels and maintain the same level of energy expenditure, you will absolutely lose weight in a gradual and controlled manner.
Q: Do appetite suppressants really work?
A: Yes, numerous appetite suppressant supplements have been demonstrated as effective ways to reduce feelings of hunger.
To take just one example, a 2008 study showed that a combination of capsaicin, green tea extract, and sweet pepper extract reduced energy intake in a randomized experiment (13).
Q: What is the best appetite suppressant tea?
A: Two very effective and simple appetite suppressant teas are green tea and yerba mate tea.
Both contain caffeine, which is an appetite suppressant and thermogenic by itself, but these teas are particularly effective because they do not induce jitters, anxiety, and the other negative effects that can be associated with caffeine thanks to synergistic activity between the caffeine and other related compounds found in either yerba mate or green tea leaves.
Q: When should appetite suppressants be taken?
A: Appetite suppressants are most effective when taken an hour or so before a meal.
There’s a decent amount of lag-time between any sort of supplement and its effects on your appetite level, so taking an appetite suppressant right before a meal isn’t likely to reduce your caloric intake or increase your feelings of satiety to prevent overeating.
You should expect at least a 20 minute delay between taking an appetite suppressant and feeling its effects.
Since many appetite suppressants have caffeine-containing ingredients like green coffee bean extract, taking an appetite suppressant right before bed isn’t typically a good idea.
Related: Our top appetite suppressant picks
Appetite suppressants can help put a lid on hunger cravings, keeping your caloric intake under control and making your weight loss program more effective.
The best appetite suppressants target the underlying hormones that regulate feelings of hunger and satiety, and appetite suppressants work best when taken in the morning or afternoon, so they can keep your hunger under control all day long.