These Five Foods Safely Suppress Your Appetite

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Black pepper, spinach and other common foods can assist in appetite control, helping you stay on a natural path toward health and wellness

Being overweight or obese is the result of a complex set of interactions among genetic, behavioral and environmental factors.[i] And despite the seemingly countless weight loss diets, strategies, potions and devices offered to Americans today, it's important to know that healthy weight loss entails comprehensive lifestyle changes, including a balanced diet.

As part of a natural strategy, you may explore a range of natural herbs, spices and foodstuffs to suppress or control your appetite in a risk-free way, versus taking appetite suppressant pills that typically come with nasty side effects.

1. Black Pepper

Piper nigrum, commonly known as black pepper, is a highly reputed herb in the traditional Indian medicinal system of Ayurveda. Much of its benefit comes from the component piperine, a bioavailability enhancer and a potential obesity fighter.[ii] Pungent spices like black pepper are also appetite-suppressing.

A 2018 study put this to the test, evaluating whether the consumption of a black pepper-based beverage would affect appetite sensations, postprandial glucose levels, gut hormones, thyroid function and gastrointestinal health after eating a white wheat bread "challenge" meal with 50 grams (g) of carbs.[iii]

In the study involving 16 healthy subjects, the researchers concluded that the black pepper beverage might be beneficial for modulating appetite. According to the study, the beverage modulated appetite by reducing hunger, desire to eat and "prospective consumption," while increasing satiety and fullness.[iv]

2. Spinach

A long-term human study from Lund University in Sweden found that a spinach extract containing green leaf membranes known as thylakoids reduced hedonic hunger by up to 95%, as well as increased weight loss at 43%.[v]

Hedonic hunger is the craving that people have for unhealthy foods such as sweets or junk food. In the study, thylakoids reinforced the production of satiety hormones in the body, leading to better appetite control and increased weight loss.

"Our analyses show that having a drink containing thylakoids before breakfast reduces cravings and keeps you feeling more satisfied all day," said Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, author and professor at Lund University.[vi]

In an animal study, authors evaluated the appetite-suppressing effect of a flavonoid-rich extract of spinach leaf.[vii] Spinach demonstrated a promising effect by inducing a quicker-than-normal release of cholecystokinin, a short-term satiety signal. This may be due to the high flavonoid content, they added.

3. Fennel

Fennel, which belongs to the Apiaceae family, is an ancient medicinal plant with known antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. An animal study on fennel's effect on body weight, feed intake food efficiency rate and serum leptin showed it could reduce the rate of food efficiency -- or the percent of food intake stored as fat -- in the subjects.[viii]

In research among overweight women in South Korea, nine healthy subjects were given fennel tea, fenugreek tea or placebo tea, then provided with a lunch buffet, after which their food consumption was analyzed.[ix] The researchers then measured subjective appetite, hunger, fullness, desire to eat and prospective food intake.

Drinking the fennel and fenugreek teas significantly aided in suppressing subjective appetite among the participants. Compared with placebo, fennel tea translated to less hunger and prospective food intake as well as greater feelings of fullness.

4. Flaxseed

A food and fiber crop rich in dietary fiber and omega-3 fats, flaxseed is also widely explored for appetite suppression.

In two randomized studies with 24 and 20 subjects each, a small dose of flaxseed fiber substantially suppressed appetite along with energy intake. Administered as drinks or tablets, flaxseed fiber produced similar responses.[x]

In a separate study, four different meals were tested in 18 young men in a double-blind study. Test meals were served after an overnight fast, with flaxseeds in varying forms as the fiber source.[xi] The findings suggested that flaxseed fiber may suppress postprandial lipemia, the rise in blood triglycerides after eating, as well as appetite. Subsequent energy intake, however, was not affected.

5. Yogurt

A fermented milk product viewed as an essential food and nutrient source, recent clinical evidence suggests yogurt is involved in controlling body weight, therefore helping reduce the risk for Type 2 diabetes.[xii]

Factors at work include yogurt's unique composition, including its lactic acid bacteria, which may affect gut microbiota. Yogurt intake may lead to increased body fat loss, decreased food intake, increased satiety and altered gut hormone response.

"The relative energy and nutrient content and contribution of a standard portion of yogurt to the overall diet suggest that the percentage daily intake of these nutrients largely contributes to nutrient requirements and provides a strong contribution to the regulation of energy metabolism," the authors explained.

Discover more abstracts on appetite-related weight problems on the database.


[i] Institute of Medicine (US) Subcommittee on Military Weight Management. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2004.

[ii] Shah S et al "Effect of piperine in the regulation of obesity-induced dyslipidemia in high-fat diet rats" Indian J Pharmacol. 2011 May-Jun; 43(3): 296–299.

[x] Ibrugger S et al "Flaxseed dietary fiber supplements for suppression of appetite and food intake" Appetite. 2012 Apr;58(2):490-5. Epub 2012 Jan 5.

[xi] Kristensen M et al "Flaxseed dietary fibers suppress postprandial lipemia and appetite sensation in young men" Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Feb ;23(2):136-43. Epub 2011 Jul 29.

[xii] Panahi S et al "The Potential Role of Yogurt in Weight Management and Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes" J Am Coll Nutr. 2016 Jun 22:1-15. Epub 2016 Jun 22.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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