Monday, July 28, 2008

Hoodia and Appetite Control

By Philip Mc Donald

Hoodia has become quite popular due to the fact that several journalists have broadcast reports of its powers. During a 60 Minutes segment, Leslie Stahl reported that she had used Hoodia and had not experienced any adverse side effects. Tom Mangold, a BBC News correspondent, reported that in addition to a noticeable decrease in his appetite, he found that Hoodia produced a feel-good, almost aphrodisiac effect.

But is there any actual proof that Hoodia suppresses the appetite? Clinical studies have been performed on Hoodia, but perhaps the Bushmen of South Africa present some of the most compelling non-clinical proof. For centuries they have eaten Hoodia Gordonii to suppress their appetites while on extended hunting expeditions. As far as anyone can tell, they have not experienced any ill effects; Hoodia is just an accepted, normal part of their lives.

In 2001, Phytopharm completed a double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical study in healthy, but overweight volunteers using the P57 extract from Hoodia Gordonii. When compared, the P57 group had a significant reduction in caloric intake with no adverse side effects. On average, the P57 group ate about 1,000 calories less in a day than those in the control group.

So, what makes P57 (and Hoodia Gordonii) so effective in suppressing the appetite? The belief is that Hoodia (specifically the P57 found in the hoodia) imitates the effect that glucose has on nerve cells in the brain. Basically, it fools your brain into thinking you are full when you're not and this cuts your urge to snack on unhealthy food. In fact, hoodia is more powerful than glucose in telling the brain that you are full.

Actually, Hoodia seems to have a more powerful effect on limiting the appetite than glucose. According to Dr. Richard Dixey of Phytopharm, the hypothalamus is the area of the brain that senses glucose sugar. Blood sugar rises when you eat, causing the cells to activate and send the message that you are full. It appears that Hoodia contains a molecule that is approximately 10,000 times more potent than glucose. It causes the hypothalamus to send a signal to the cells to make you feel as though you are full, even if you have not yet eaten. In addition, you do not have any desire to eat.

Just remember, you still need to eat, not matter how much Hoodia you consume. We all need food to survive. You will need to learn the difference between real hunger and hormonal hunger. Real hunger is when your body does not have enough food to function and hormonal hunger is caused by fluctuating insulin levels. Hormonal hunger is usually the downfall of dieters, causing carvings for sweets and other junk foods.

You do need to continue to eat meals when you experience real hunger, but you will be eliminating all this snacking due to hormonal hunger. While hoodia can help eliminate both types of hunger, we feel it is unhealthy to skip meals. The real advantage we see to hoodia is that it suppresses cravings for snacks when you are not experiencing real hunger, but hormonal hunger.

What makes Hoodia different from other diet pills is that diet pills and or supplements work by attempting to increase the rate at which our body burns fat and that comes with serious health risks. Hoodia supplements are different because they actually prevent weight gain. As much as everyone argues about the best path to weight loss, it actually is as simple as basic math. You can not gain weight if you consume less calories than you burn. With Hoodia, you have a powerful weapon to fight hunger and therefore consume fewer calories.

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