Appetite suppressants – my totally non-scientific study

Could a bowl of soup (or half a sandwich) and a small piece of fruit eaten before mealtime help you eat less? (Photo by Ann Maniscalco)

Some of you read my other blog on “appetite suppressants”, but for those who didn’t, here’s a brief re-cap: As I roamed the aisles at my neighborhood pharmacy looking for some D-vites, an item in the weight-loss product aisle caught my attention. For $2.25 (plus tax), this one-serving bar is to be eaten a bit before a meal to help curb one’s appetite so he/she can eat less and still be satisfied. I decided to compare this bar with other “appetite suppressants”: before-meal noshings that have a comparable calorie content (approximately 160 calories).

One day, I tried “Product #1” (the bar), and then the next day, I chose “Product #2” (which turned out to be half a medium-sized banana and a cup of fat-free yogurt. I was anxious to see if the bar did a better-than-expected job of quelling the hunger pangs as they set in, and result in my eating a fair amount less than I normally would. If so, I’d almost consider it a meal substitute.

After consuming the bar with a cup of water 30 minutes (per package directions) before my lunch, I filled my plate with a little less food than I’d normally eat. By the time 30 minutes had elapsed, I was indeed less hungry, but not close to full. About an hour after my meal, I thought I might be overly-full, but that didn’t happen, and by late afternoon, the pre-supper hungries had set in.

The next day, I jumped through the same hoops, this time preceding my lunch with the fruit/yogurt combo. Amazingly (gasp!), my appetite was curbed yet again. The rest of the afternoon proceeded as did the previous day’s.

Well, my conclusion in this experiment (that, admittedly, has no shred of scientific accuracy or control) was that “product # 1” didn’t do any more toward helping me eat less lunch than did “product # 2”, because by the time I added the 160-calorie bar to my lighter meal, the calorie count was probably higher than it would have been normally.

 My personal opinion (FWIW): probably anything we consume (with that amount of calories) 30 minutes to an hour before a meal is going to diminish our appetite. And the yogurt/banana snack I chose was definitely cheaper.

Now this is not to say the bar is without merit, by far! It was quite delicious while providing 4 grams of fiber and 5 of protein. It’d be handy to carry one with me on days when I’m on the run and my mealtime may be delayed, or just as a healthy and satisfying treat. However, for normal days, I think I’ll just stick with my healthy eating plan, which usually includes a piece of fruit OR a half-cup 1% milk mid-morning.


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Filed under calorie reduction, counting calories, decisions, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, label-reading, nutrition data, snacks

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