UniqueHoodiaIt is a shame that many of us spend so much time trying to lose weight to no avail.  There are dozens of diet plans on the market that promise a fast weight loss, but if you have taken a close look at most of them, you will probably notice one thing – they are basically unsustainable.  Often the foods that are required are so ghastly, hard to come by, or expensive that no one could reasonably be expected to use them in the long term.  A good many of these diets will also lead to nutritional deficiency.

Regardless of the diet you decide upon, the biggest reason for diet failure is hunger cravings.  Any diet will call for a reduction in calories and the physical amount of food that you eat.  Not only that, but people who have become overweight have usually stretched out their stomach, so they will not feel full with even a normal amount of food.  You need something that will overcome cravings and also allow time for your stomach to return to its normal size.  Eating teeny portions of food or platefuls of cabbage will not help you get over hunger pangs – you need something that will suppress your appetite.

Decades ago, while researching the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, it was found that these people chewed on the pulp of the hoodia plant to suppress their hunger while they were on a hunt.  The wellbeing of the tribe would depend on how well the hunters did, and being distracted by hunger pangs could interfere with their ability to get food.  Hoodia was able to supply the help needed for the men to provide for their families; they were able to keep their mind on the hunt rather than on their growling stomachs.

Soon, scientists and dieticians were exploring the possibility that hoodia could help overweight people lose those extra pounds.  Experiments with animals found that hoodia contains a substance, named P57, which seems to act on the brain to suppress appetite.  It only makes sense that if you do not feel hungry, will not eat as much.  Those who have been having trouble with managing their weight might well find that hoodia could offer a solution to their problem. 

A rather informal trial with obese individuals did find that those who took hoodia were able to trim about 1000 calories off their daily food intake without feeling the pinch.  Besides suppressing the appetite, hoodia also seems to have the effect of making you feel fuller after even a small meal.  A combination of appetite suppression and a feeling of fullness might be the key to helping you lose weight.  If you are able to eat less comfortably, it will also allow your stomach to return to its normal size.

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The Kalahari Desert in southern Africa is a harsh environment that is home to the Bushmen people.  It is always a struggle to stay alive in conditions of temperature extremes (blistering hot by day, freezing at night), scant water, and scarcity of game that are found in this challenging region.  Hunger is often a common condition with these people, but they discovered a way to suppress the pangs when on a hunting expedition, and this was to chew on the pulp from the stems of the Hoodia plant.   

There are quite a few different Hoodias, but the one used to prepared appetite suppressant supplements is Hoodia gordonii, which is found throughout the region of southern Africa.  Although this Hoodia looks quite a bit like a cactus, right down to a spiky exterior, it is actually a succulent.  It was probably hunger that drove the Bushmen at some point to try eating what would otherwise not look like a very palatable plant, especially since the flowers smell like rotten meat.  Undoubtedly, after a desperate experiment, it was found that the hunger pains abated and the people in the group were able to continue in their search for food more comfortably.  Hoodia gordonii may help suppresses thirst.

During an anthropological expedition to the Kalahari Desert in 1937, it was discovered by the European researcher that the objects of his study, the Bushmen, used Hoodia to suppress their hunger.  It was not until several decades later, however, that research into this succulent really began into the potential of this plant to aid with weight loss.  Experiments with animals did seem to yield positive results, and further testing isolated an ingredient called P57.  Although it was thought at first that Hoodia was simply broken down by the body’s metabolism, it has since been discovered that it will enter the bloodstream, allowing it to act on the brain’s chemistry.

Although the benefits of Hoodia in appetite suppression and weight reduction have not been subjected to rigorous scientific trials, investigation into the qualities of this plant is ongoing.   Experiments with rats have shown that those animals that were given Hoodia did eat less than those that were not.  It is thought that the active ingredient in Hoodia, P57, does affect the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to cause suppression of the appetite.  Breaking the cycle of continuous hunger and cravings while dieting is one of the most important steps to losing weight, and it is thought that Hoodia supplements could help with sensible weight loss.  Informal trials with people who need to lose weight have shown that those who were given Hoodia rather than a placebo did eat less. 

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