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Staying Satisfied with Garcinia

old message This is sour Indian fruit can have a sweet appetite stifling effect. Darrell Miller 01/13/07


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Date: January 13, 2007 02:44 PM
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Subject: This is sour Indian fruit can have a sweet appetite stifling effect.

It’s funny how modern science continues to support ancient systems of herbal healing. Such is the case with Garcinia: The yellowish, pumpkin like fruit of the Garcinia Cambodia tree, long valued in tropical Asian cooking for its sweetly acidic taste, is a traditional Indian remedy for digestive problems that is also used to make meals more filling. Today, Garcinia (also known as brindleberry and Malabar tamarind) is used in natural weight-loss products based on research supporting its stomach satiating powers. Scientists also believe that Garcinia helps block fat formation and regulate glucose (blood sugar) usage—vital functions in an increasingly overweight world.

Filling Up Faster

One reason so many people are losing the battle of the bulge is that temptations to eat-and eat—are absolutely everywhere, often as the focal points of clever and well designed advertising campaigns. (Remember the slogan “belch’a can’t eat just one”?) To make matters worse, restaurants often server overly generous portions and experiments have shown that the more food you serve, the more people will consume. For example, Chicago moviegoers ate 45% more popcorn from larger containers even when they were given stale product (Food Quality and Preference 1/01).

The answer would seem simple—just eat less. But knowing when to say when isn’t easy. That’s where garcinia comes in, specifically an extract taken from the rind called HCA (Hydroxycitric acid). In laboratory animals HCA has upped levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps suppress appetite and elevate mood, which might help take the edge off the depression and binge-eating urges that often affect would-be weight losers. At the same time HCA appears to reduce levels of another substance in the brain called neuropeptide Y, which enhances appetite (Experimental Biology meeting 4/06).

Garcinia Gems

What it is: the pumpkin-like fruit of the Garcinia cambogia tree; this Indian native is used in cooking and in Ayurveda, that country’s system of traditional medicine

What it Does: A popular ingredient in natural weight-loss aids, garcinia is being investigated for possible fat blocking and appetite suppressing functions; it may also help regulate glucose (blood sugar).

Fat Smackdown

The fat that stubbornly clings to your frame doesn’t always start out that way. In many cases, your body actually creates fat from excess carbohydrates (such as the icing encrusted doughnut you couldn’t pass up at breakfast). If you don’t burn off those extra carbs through exercise, they are broken down into citrates that are then transformed into the building blocks of body fat. This process is controlled by an enzyme called citrate lyase; HCA interferes with this crucial enzyme, an action that inhibits fat formation. Researchers believe the body uses those extra carbs to provide more energy; this mechanism may also have the happy side effect of further checking appetite. In addition, results from a Dutch lab study indicate that garcinia may blunt sugar-induced increases in glucose, which can help forestall diabetes development.

Garcinia works best when teamed with other nutrients and herbs, such as chromium, green tea and forskolin. In one investigation, overweight people who stuck to a supervised diet and exercise program supplemented with a combination of HCA, chromium and another herb called Gymnema lost body weight as mass, and showed improved fat burning capacity (Nutrition Research 1/04). This modern usage mirrors Ayurveda’s ancient precepts, according to which individual remedies are generally used in combination for more effective results.

Looking to give your meal more staying power? Then look for garcinia in your favorite weight loss formula. –Lisa James.



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