What are appetite suppressants?

Appetite suppressants are drugs that work on the brain to trick you into thinking you are not hungry. They act primarily on neurochemical transmitters in the central nervous system to reduce appetite and hunger. In this way, food intake is reduced.

Prescription appetite suppressants can be used in addition to a healthy diet and increased physical activity to achieve and maintain significant weight loss. But while some are intended for short-term use, others can be used long-term. In addition to prescription drugs, there are “natural” appetite suppressants that claim to help suppress your appetite and lose weight.

How do they work?

The term appetite suppressant refers to a prescription drug that helps us feel less hungry so we eat less and lose weight. But some herbal and natural diet pill manufacturers also use the term to describe herbal products that aim to curb hunger . On average, people who combine prescription appetite suppressants with healthy lifestyle changes (a nutritious diet and exercise) lose 3% to 9% of their starting weight in 12 months.

We may see advertisements for appetite suppressants in magazines or online. Although appetite suppressants can help some people lose weight, they may not work for everyone. There are many reasons why people maintain or gain weight, and the amount of food they eat is only one factor.

Appetite suppressants do not target emotional eating, mindless eating, or sedentary behavior, all of which are also commonly associated with being overweight and obese. These work in a number of ways: some make us feel less hungry or full sooner, while others make it harder for the body to absorb dietary fat. However, neither prescription nor natural appetite suppressants are a replacement for certain lifestyle changes to achieve weight loss.

Additionally, before starting any appetite suppressant, we should discuss with a physician any underlying medical diagnoses, previous medical emergencies, current medications, and general concerns that could interfere with the suppressant. Some prescription appetite suppressants warn of use among people with heart disease, uncontrolled or high blood pressure, glaucoma, a history of eating disorders, or hyperthyroidism.

Side effects

Weight loss supplements are not for everyone, so speaking with a doctor is recommended. They may encourage us to try other things, such as making changes to our diet, exercise, and sleeping habits. They may also suggest managing any emotional problems before trying an appetite suppressant. But if lifestyle changes haven’t worked, then an appetite suppressant might be fine.

As with any medication, appetite suppressants sometimes cause side effects, which can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Digestive problems like nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and stomach pain

Side effects are usually mild, but not always, and some experts believe the risks are not worth it. An appetite suppressant, liraglutide, has caused thyroid cancer in animal studies, although it is not known whether it causes the disease in people. In rare cases, appetite suppressants cause liver damage . We should call the doctor if we notice signs of liver disease, such as jaundice (yellow skin or eyes).

If we decide to try an appetite suppressant, it is advisable to speak to a doctor if we have any side effects.

yerba mate como supresor del apetito

Natural appetite suppressants

Some products are available online and in health food stores or pharmacies that claim to be natural appetite suppressants. Fiber, for example, helps us feel full longer after eating. For this reason, some fiber supplement manufacturers call it a natural appetite suppressant.

If we are considering purchasing a herbal product to control appetite, it is recommended to make sure we gather all the facts before purchasing. You may even want to speak to a doctor or pharmacist before purchasing one. Some products are expensive and may not be as effective as they promise.

The following are some of the most popular natural appetite suppressants.


Fenugreek is a Mediterranean herb with seeds that smell and taste like maple syrup. The seeds and ground extracts are used in cooking, spice mixes, medicines and cosmetic products.

Fiber can act as a natural appetite suppressant by prolonging satiety, and fenugreek seeds are rich in fiber. One study also found that drinking fenugreek tea compared to a placebo caused a greater feeling of fullness in overweight women.

Fenugreek is considered safe in amounts normally found in food, but its safety in large doses is unknown. There are some potential side effects, such as diarrhea, nausea, and digestive tract symptoms. Fenugreek can also cause allergic reactions in some people. In very rare cases, fenugreek can cause dizziness and headaches. People taking it alone and in combination with other herbs have reported some cases of liver toxicity.


Extracted from the root of the konjac plant, glucomannan is packed with soluble fiber. It is said to help increase satiety and prolong the time it takes for food to leave the stomach. Several clinical trials have evaluated glucomannan, but the effects on weight loss have been inconsistent.

Taking glucomannan is not without risks. In the short term, it appears to only have minor side effects, such as belching, bloating, loose stools, abdominal discomfort, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. However, not much is known about the long-term safety of glucomannan.

Yerba mate

Yerba mate is a plant native to South America and is known for its energetic properties. Animal studies have shown that consuming yerba mate over a 4-week period significantly decreased food and water intake and helped with weight loss.

GLP-1 is a compound generated in the intestine that regulates appetite, while leptin is the hormone responsible for signaling fullness. Increased levels lead to less hunger. Other studies have also shown that yerba mate, in combination with other ingredients, can help reduce hunger and appetite.

Yerba mate appears to be safe and does not cause serious side effects. The recommended doses are: drink 3 cups of tea (330 ml each) a day; or take 1 to 1.5 grams per day of powder.

Conjugated linoleic acid

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a type of trans fat that is found naturally in some fatty animal products. Interestingly, it has several proven health benefits. CLA has been shown to help with weight loss by increasing fat burning, blocking fat production, and stimulating the breakdown of fat.

Research shows that CLA also increases feelings of fullness and decreases appetite . Additionally, it appears to help reduce body fat . Studies consider CLA to be safe and no adverse events have been reported at doses up to 6 grams per day. It should only be taken with meals.

café como supresores de apetito

Green tea and green tea extract

Caffeine and catechins are the two active components in green tea associated with weight loss. Many studies have sought to test whether green tea and its components produce a reduction in body weight, specifically through increased energy expenditure, fat oxidation, decreased fat absorption, and reduced lipogenesis.

Studies conclude that there could be a moderate effect on weight loss, but the effect would be small and not clinically relevant. There have been no studies directly investigating whether green tea or green tea extract works as an appetite suppressant.

However, there is evidence that green tea extract can cause liver damage , particularly when taken on an empty stomach.

Garcinia cambogia

Garcinia cambogia is a fruit tree found in Asia, Africa, and the islands of Polynesia. The bark of the tree’s fruit contains high levels of hydroxycitric acid (HCA). HCA is believed to suppress food intake and reduce weight gain.

Garcinia cambogia and HCA tend to have mild side effects, including headache, nausea, gastrointestinal problems, and upper respiratory symptoms. However, its long-term safety is unknown. Some people who took supplements containing garcinia cambogia had cases of liver toxicity, but garcinia cambogia could not be directly implicated as the supplements contained additional ingredients.


Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. Coffee and its high concentration of caffeine are known to have many health benefits. Studies on coffee show that it can help with weight loss by increasing calorie burning and fat breakdown.

Also, coffee can help decrease your appetite, thus helping you lose weight. It seems that ingesting caffeine between 0.5 and 4 hours before a meal can influence stomach emptying, appetite hormones and feelings of hunger. Also, drinking coffee can make people less likely to eat more during the next meal and throughout the day, compared to not drinking it.

Caffeine could also help increase metabolism by up to 11% and increase fat burning by up to 29% in lean people. However, keep in mind that caffeine intake of 250 mg or more can raise blood pressure in some people.