Fenugreek is an herb commonly used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It is also popularly used worldwide for its medicinal attributes, such as the increased production of breast milk. During the 21st century, more people have been exploring the possibility of using fenugreek for weight loss. A considerable amount of research suggests that this herb may indeed help overweight people lose weight; however, it may actually stimulate the appetite in some people.
A trial performed in 2003 focused on a weight loss supplement that contained fenugreek as well as several other ingredients, including vitamin C and glucomannan. The results showed a definite decrease in fat in each participant. Unfortunately, as there were other active ingredients in the pill, no concrete conclusion may be made about the herb’s role.
One theory supporting the effectiveness of fenugreek for weight loss is the low calorie content versus the high levels of fiber. One study in 2009 gave patients this herb just prior to attending a buffet. Participants consumed fewer calories during this meal, though they did not eat fewer calories during later meals. This implies that the fiber in the fenugreek keeps a person satisfied for longer periods of time.
Another 2009 study involved giving powdered fenugreek to patients during their breakfast. The fullness and satisfaction level of each patient was then measured every half hour for three and a half hours. Results from the study suggested that 8 grams may be enough to keep a person feeling fuller for longer.
Several studies have proven the effectiveness of fenugreek in balancing glucose levels and insulin resistance. It is often used by diabetic people as a supplementary medicinal aid. Many dietary experts believe that having balanced glucose levels helps with weight loss.
Despite the positive implications of these studies, there is information that contradicts the use of the herb. Fenugreek may also be used to help stimulate the appetite, and it is actually sometimes given to people who have problems gaining weight. The herb may also be given to livestock in some countries to help them weight gain before they are brought in for commercial use.