How good are appetite suppressants?


Lose weight without hunger - that's what appetite suppressants from the pharmacy promise. They are called CM3, Matricur or Konjac flour and contain fiber that expands in the stomach. Sounds great, but does it work?

And - how harmful are they actually? Experts weigh down: "Compared to the appetite suppressants from 30 years ago and their dangerous side effects, these remedies are harmless. But whether they help and how exactly they work is still lacking meaningful studies," says Düsseldorf overweight expert Hans Hauner. The internist is rather skeptical: "Only a tiny part of the stomach is filled, I'm not sure that that's enough for a feeling of satiety, especially when the stomach is used to large amounts of food."

According to Hauner, the fact that many women still claim that they are less hungry after taking the satiety food can also be due to a placebo effect: "Those who buy such preparation are strongly motivated to lose weight or to eat less. That alone can curb hunger. " And the effect is reinforced because the agents are washed down with plenty of water.

Pills, powders, and capsules against the appetite are not a permanent solution

Pills, powders, and capsules against the appetite are not a permanent solutionIt only makes sense to take them for a while if you also change your diet at the same time. There are also cheaper alternatives: drink a glass of water just before meals; Eat a slice of crispbread or half a slice of wholemeal bread or a few dried fruits that are not too sweet, for example, apricots or apple rings.

Cellulose fills the stomach

Many satiety supplements contain fiber, because they fill you up quickly, are healthy and good for digestion. Cellulose is most commonly used. It is found in cereals and vegetables, for example, and swells up in the liquid. Cellulose is indigestible and passes through the stomach and intestines relatively undamaged. Usually, that's not a problem.

Only when someone eats a lot of fast food and then ingests cellulose does the digestive system first have to adjust to the high-fiber diet; they usually react initially with stomach pressure, gas, and a feeling of fullness. Something similar happens, by the way, if you are used to white bread and then switch completely to whole-grain bread. After a certain transition period, the topic usually settles. However, anyone who suffers from a gastrointestinal disease should never take cellulose preparations without consulting a doctor.

Sponge: CM3

The cellulose sponges CM3 are made from cotton, flax, and wood. They are compressed into a capsule and expand in the stomach to the size of a sugar lump. They stay in the stomach for between six and eight hours before migrating out through the intestines.

The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) had isolated cases of side effects, including intestinal obstruction, in connection with the intake of CM3. As a result, the manufacturer revised CM3. The sponges now have "predetermined breaking points" so that they can fray in the intestine and leave the body more easily.

Powder: BMI 23

Cellulose is also in BMI 23, but as a powder. Together with liquid, it forms a gel in the stomach that is supposed to satiate for a long time.

Also, BMI 23 is said to help you lose weight twice because it can bind fat. It is true: cellulose binds fat - but the quantities are hardly worth mentioning.

Caigua capsules

Caigua capsules are said to be similarly helpful. They contain fruit powder from the Inca cucumber of the same name, which contains cellulose and pectin. Caigua is also said to stimulate the metabolism and boost fat burning. Whether that works is not proven.

Fiber capsules

The "fiber capsules" from bioform want to fight hunger with the fiber pea bran and the thickener carrageenan. Here, too, a gel with a satiating effect should form in the stomach. However, if you think you can improve your fiber balance with the capsules at the same time, you should know that there are 330 milligrams of fiber in one capsule.

With (the recommended) six to nine capsules per day that makes two to three grams. That's not overwhelming when you consider that we should be eating at least 30 grams of fiber a day and women only get an average of 22 grams. Incidentally, four dried apricot halves or one and a half slices of crispbread provide just as many digestive aids as nine bioform capsules.

Konjac flour

Another bulking agent is konjac flour. It is made from the Asian konjac tuber and contains plenty of indigestible fiber. So-called vegetable gums (glucomannans), which can swell 30 to 50 times in liquid, are supposed to ensure the filling effect.

In Asian cuisine, Konjac is valued as a binding agent and for making glass noodles. Therefore, you can usually find the flour in Asian grocery stores; Oral capsules are available from pharmacies. The North Rhine-Westphalia consumer advice center judges it: "Somewhat filling, harmless and very expensive."


In contrast, collagen is digested completely. The protein is the main component of the connective tissue of humans and animals. It binds moisture, and Matricur relies on it. The compressed sponges made of collagen fibers expand about 18 times when taken with liquid (they are then a bit bigger than a sugar cube). According to the manufacturer, they should fill you up for about eight hours. Then the collagen dissolves and is digested in the intestine like any other protein.