Part Three of a Four-Part Series on Weight Management
Weight management supplements are not designed to do all the work for you. The path to weight loss is a proactive one, taken on by a person who has decided to make an active change in one’s life. Supplements that target satiety serve to assist in those on a weight-loss path in jumping one of the greatest hurdles: self control. Satiety is defined as the feeling of fullness and satisfaction after completing a meal. Hunger and cravings are perhaps the biggest killer of diets.
Michael T. Murray, N.D., director of product safety and innovation at Natural Factors, Monroe, WA, says it best when he explains that, “Ultimately, weight loss success is most often attributed to strategies and tools that impact appetite and portion control. In particular, the ability to experience satiety is a big factor for success.” Let’s take a look at satiety and what it has to offer your shoppers.
Brain. Hunger can be as much psychological as it is physiological. How often have you found yourself in front of an open refrigerator purely out of boredom or stress? Is there no greater cliché than a heartbroken teenager sobbing over a pint of ice cream? Well, for many, this kind of behavior can be chronic and lead to obesity.
In a time where stimulus is constant and stress can be perpetual, Murray says evidence suggests low serotonin levels are a consequence of our busy, stressful lifestyles. Serotonin, generally speaking, is the neurotransmitter that makes people feel happy, so deficiencies are associated with depression and other related conditions such as eating disorders. According to Murray, obesity and carbohydrate cravings can be symptomatic of serotonin deficiencies.
5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), often derived from the seed of Griffonia simplicifolia, is an amino acid that is the step between serotonin and its precursor, tryptophan. Says Murray, “Tryptophan must be converted to 5-HTP before it can be metabolized to serotonin. This conversion is impaired in many people especially if they have either high cortisol [levels] due to stress, insulin resistance or are lacking in key nutrients like B6 and magnesium.” This is not to say that 5-HTP can cure or treat depression but everyone can relate to having stress and if it is negatively impacting their health through overeating and weight gain, 5-HTP may help.
In particular, 5-HTP is known to increase satiety and reduce carbohydrate consumption. Murray describes how 30 years ago, researchers discovered that 5-HTP reduced food intake in rats bread to overeat. Subsequent research revealed that these rats had decreased activity of tryptophan hydroxylase, the enzyme that converts tryptophan to 5-HTP. As a result, less serotonin was being produced and the message to stop eating was being delivered much too late.
People are believed to be similarly predisposed to obesity, perhaps by the same mechanism as the experimental rats. An early 1992 study of 20 overweight women, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that subjects given 900 mg per day of 5-HTP lost 3.1–3.7 pounds without dieting (1). A similar 2009 study in the International Journal of Obesity demonstrated a significantly greater sensation of satiety in the experimental group given three squirts of a sublingual spray composed of natural plant extracts rich in 5-HTP, five times a day over eight-weeks (2).
Murray also suggests using enteric-coated capsules/tablets or chewable 5-HTP as they prevent it from acting in the stomach, which can cause nausea. Women who are pregnant or nursing and those on an antidepressant should not take this supplement before discussing it with a doctor.
Dallas Clouatre, PhD., consultant for R&D at Jarrow Formulas, Inc., Los Angeles, CA, says that saffron extract functions similarly to 5-HTP. A 2010 study of overweight women, published in Nutritional Research, found that subjects taking 176.5 mg of saffron extract per day, over an eight-week period experienced a significant reduction in snacking frequency and body weight compared to placebo (3).
Fiber. Customers may recognize the term fiber from food products promoting “regularity.” These products contain insoluble fiber, which eases the movement of material through the digestive system and increases stool bulk (4). Other important functions of fiber maintain healthy blood cholesterol and glucose levels obtained from soluble fiber that dissolves in water to form a gel-like material (4).
A variety of foods are rich in dietary fiber such as whole-grains, carrots, apples, potatoes, peas, beans and seeds. However, chia seeds in particular, are an exceptional source of fiber, being made up of 5% soluble fiber. Soluble fiber, among its other effects, is known to increase intestinal transit time and delay gastric emptying (5). In water, this fiber becomes a clear mucilage that is highly viscous, allowing it to more effectively produce the desired metabolic effects of dietary fiber (5). In the overall fiber content,
100 g of chia seed has 1.6, 2.3, 2.6, 8.3 and 9.8 times more fiber than barley, wheat, oats, corn and rice, respectively (5). All this fiber would serve to thoroughly enhance levels of satiety.
While food rich in dietary fiber should certainly be part of one’s daily diet, fiber supplements such as glucomannan and PlyGlycoPlex (PGX) both derived from Konjac root, can be just the help someone needs to get on the right path to weight loss.
Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA, nutritional education manager at NOW Foods, Bloomingdale, IL, says glucomannan provides both soluble and insoluble fiber that may increase feelings of fullness, naturally control blood sugar after a meal, serve as prebiotics to feed intestinal microbes and even help trap fats and move them out of the body. “I recommend fiber as the initial satiety supplement to try because of the numerous benefits of adding fiber to the typical diet and the lack of adequate fiber noted in numerous studies of the Standard American Diet,” says Levin.
Murray describes PGX from Natural Factors, a new dietary fiber matrix that has shown impressive results in clinical trials. A highly viscous and soluble fiber, it is produced through a patented process that allows three natural fibers to coalesce and form a matrix with higher levels of viscosity, gel-forming properties and more expansion with water than other fibers. Among its effects, Murray says clinical studies have shown that PGX can increase the levels of compounds that block appetite and promote satiety, decrease levels of compounds that stimulate overeating, reduce the glycemic index of food by as much as 70% and increase insulin sensitivity.
A 2015 study published in Physiology & Behavior, demonstrated how PGX promoted satiety across multiple meals. Fourteen healthy women were tested for satiety after eating a standard evening meal and breakfast the following morning. Fullness scores among subjects who took the fiber were significantly higher than the control group both after the evening meal and breakfast the next morning, despite only having taken the fiber prior to the first meal (6).
HCA. Garcinia cambogia extract, a weight-management supplement popularized most recently by Dr. Oz, is bound to be on your customers’ radar. A well-researched ingredient, it contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which Paul Dijkstra, president and CEO of InterHealth Nutraceuticals, Benicia, CA, explained in Part Two of this weight management series, “competitively inhibits ATP-citrate lyase, an enzyme involved in the first steps of energy storage and conversion…interfering with the formation of fatty acids.”
Basically, HCA encourages the body to metabolize the fatty acids for energy rather than storing fat.
Clouatre points to a 2002 study published in the International Journal of Obesity in which subjects given 300 mg of HCA saw both a reduction in energy intake (consumed less calories by way of snacking) and sustained satiety between meals (7). The study’s authors attribute reduced energy intake to increased fat oxidation and the prolonged satiety to both fat oxidation and ketone body formation (7). Another study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2009, measured the length of satiety and found that those given 2 g of HCA experienced satiety after a meal for 70 minutes longer than those given placebo (8).
While the safety of Garcinia cambogia has been called into question, with some studies claiming that it can cause inflammation and liver toxicity, most studies contradict such claims. In one review of the available research Clouatre et al. write, “The limited reports of toxicities thus far have been linked to improperly manufactured materials and/or to peculiarities with the animal models used” (9).
Protein. Consuming protein-rich foods or supplementing one’s diet with protein powders is particularly popular among those who frequent the gym, for the purpose of building muscle. However, protein is also helpful for achieving and maintaining satiety. It does so by stimulating cholecystokinin (CCK) production, explains Jenn Randazzo, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., educator at Vega, Burnaby, BC, Canada. “CCK, a peptide hormone found in the brain and the gastrointestinal tract, slows the rate at which food is moved from the stomach to the small intestines,” says Randazzo. “The longer food remains in the stomach, the longer you feel full.”
A 2015 study that tested the effects of snacking on satiety found that when subjects consumed yogurt with added whey protein three hours after their lunch, there was a significant reduction of caloric intake and prolonged satiety that extended 45 minutes longer than other snacks (10). Not all proteins are the same. For example, products by Vega utilize plant protein while whey protein is dairy based.
Jarrow Formulas, Inc. makes a whey protein supplement (SlimWhey) that also contains HCA. This can certainly enhance satiety as well as promote endurance and post-exercise recovery, as Clouatre explains that “HCA in various trials has been shown to improve repletion of glycogen after exercise and even encourage the development of lean tissue.” NOW Sports also carries a variety of proteins including whey, soy, green pea, sprouted brown rice, plant protein complex, casein and egg white.
Fish peptide. Relatively new to the weight management sector is a proprietary fish peptide (brand name Slimpro) derived from Northern Blue Whiting fish. The peptide is “rich in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), which work naturally to increase CCK and GLP-1 in the body,” explains Jamie Spell, managing director of Nutraceuticals International Group, Bloomingdale, NJ. This is similar to the way protein stimulates CCK, only with the addition of GLP-1, which is a peptide released from amino acids in the L-cells of the intestinal mucosa (11). Because concentrations of GLP-1 increase 20 minutes after completion of a meal and peak 60 minutes after, it is believed to contribute to intermeal satiety (11).
Spell says that there are currently four separate clinical studies that have supported the efficacy of Slimpro. A 2016 study published in Food and Nutrition Research showed both increased serum levels of CCK and GLP-1 as well as a change in body composition after supplementation with fish peptide. Nobile et al. write, “Body weight, BMI, fat mass, and circumferences (waist, thighs, and hips) were statistically significantly decreased when compared with placebo after 90 days of treatment” (12). More notably, this change was not from a drop in water weight but an actual reduction in fat mass.
Much like the other satiety supplements mentioned previously, research has also shown reduction in blood glucose levels, specifically without the secretion of insulin. Slimpro is also well tolerated and has demonstrated no adverse side effects.
Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar may be the ideal solution for someone who is just trying to limit how much they eat and snack. John Westerdahl Ph.D., MPH, R.D., CNS, director of health sciences at Bragg’s Live Foods Products, Santa Barbara, CA, explains that apple cider vinegar lowers the glycemic index of food. “The organic acids in the apple cider vinegar seem to inhibit the enzyme that converts starch into sugar,” says Westerdahl. “This will help keep the blood sugar under control so you become less hungry.”
He says that a good way of achieving satiety through apple cider vinegar is to add one or two tablespoons to a glass of water and drink it during a meal. One study demonstrated increased short-term postprandial satiety among subjects who ate cooked farina cereal spiked with 30 mL of apple cider vinegar than those who ate the cereal without vinegar (13). Westerdahl also recommends a whole food plant-based diet (mostly vegetarian) as it is filling and contains fewer calories.
All these supplements taken alone may certainly help to limit the amount of food someone eats, perhaps preventing further weight gain, but creates no real progress. Progress is achieved by improving one’s overall diet, exercising or both. Add satiety supplements to this equation and by eating better, less often and being more active, customers are bound to experience results. WF
This editorial series is sponsored by:
Published in WholeFoods Magazine March 2016
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13. L. Bollinger et al. “Effects of apple cider vinegar on postprandial blood glucose and satiety.” http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/26/1_MeetingAbstracts/638.15. Accessed 1/28/2106.