The prevalence of obesity is increasing worldwide. Bioactive phytochemicals in food supplements are a trending approach to facilitate dieting and to improve patients’ adherence to reducing food and caloric intake. The aim of this systematic review was to assess efficacy and safety of the most commonly used bioactive phytochemicals with appetite/hunger-suppressing and/or satiety/fullness-increasing properties. To be eligible, studies needed to have included at least 10 patients per group aged 18 years or older with no serious health problems except for overweight or obesity. Of those studies, 32 met the inclusion criteria, in which 27 different plants were tested alone or as a combination, regarding their efficacy in suppressing appetite/hunger and/or increasing satiety/fullness. The plant extracts most tested were derived from Camellia sinensis
(green tea), Capsicum annuum
, and Coffea
species. None of the plant extracts tested in several trials showed a consistent positive treatment effect. Furthermore, only a few adverse events were reported, but none serious. The findings revealed mostly inconclusive evidence that the tested bioactive phytochemicals are effective in suppressing appetite/hunger and/or increasing satiety/fullness. More systematic and high quality clinical studies are necessary to determine the benefits and safety of phytochemical complementary remedies for dampening the feeling of hunger during dieting.
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