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How Effective Is Fenugreek for Weight Loss?

By A. Gamm
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon966907 — On Aug 22, 2014

Go to the gym if you want to lose weight. A pill isn't going to make you lose weigh if your lifestyle doesn't change

By anon333733 — On May 07, 2013

I have read on some Indian websites that fenugreek will work according to what your body needs. For example, if you are diabetic, fenugreek will assist with insulin sensitivity and help with weight loss. If you happen to be very sick or unable to maintain a healthy weight due to whatever reason, fenugreek will work with your body to increase your appetite and help you gain weight. It really does seem to be one of those rare foods that reacts to what your body needs to achieve the desired results.

By anon325067 — On Mar 14, 2013

There are sites which says fenugreek helps in rapid weight gain.

By ysmina — On Jul 27, 2012

@ZipLine-- I don't have an opinion about this because I have never tried fenugreek.

But my biology professor did tell us about a study that was done on fenugreek in class. Fenugreek has something called galactomannan in it. It's basically a chain of fiber and sugar. The study showed that galactomannan inhibited the growth of fat in rats and increased their sensitivity to insulin. So this is how fenugreek can help with weight loss and prevent weight gain.

I don't know anything about the quality or dose of fenugreek products on the market, so I can't comment on their effectiveness. If anyone here has used any of them, maybe they can tell you if it worked or not.

By discographer — On Jul 27, 2012
@Zipline-- Yes, fenugreek can help you lose weight. But since people react differently to supplements, there is no guarantee that it will help every single person lose weight. It also depends on what kind of fenugreek product you're using and how you're using it.

If you take fenugreek in the form the article suggested -- before meals, it will fill you up and you will eat less. This will help you lose weight and maintain your weight in the long run. But taking it excessively or on an empty stomach can increase your appetite and cause you to eat more than usual.

So I don't think you should cross off fenugreek so quickly. If you take it as directed, I think you will benefit from it. I take it in powder form before meals and I have definitely benefited from it. It's too early to know if I will lose weight, but I have been getting fuller faster and remain full longer since taking fenugreek.

By ZipLine — On Jul 26, 2012

A part of me is really excited to learn about fenugreek for weight loss but another part of me is skeptical.

I have diabetes and I'm also overweight. It sounds like fenugreek is a winner when it comes to treating both. But the last part of the article has gotten me worried. If this herb is given to breastfeeding women to increase breast milk and also used to help animals gain weight, I don't understand how it can help me lose weight.

I also think that if a herb had the capacity to help people slim down or treat their diabetes, everyone would be taking advantage of it, wouldn't they? Fenugreek might be becoming better known recently, but personally, this was the first time I heard about it.

So I'm not sure if this is worth trying or not.

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