When I first heard of Sensa, I was instantly skeptical and dismissed it as some sort of overly-priced, well-marketed glucomannan or other fiber product. I was wrong.
After looking around at the articles (here and here on UltimateFatBurner.com), I realized it was not a fiber supplement of some sort designed to increase fullness by adding bulk to the meal, but it was actually a calorie-free, stimulant-free “sprinkle” you sprinkle on your food to help you eat less and feel full faster.
The sweet or salty sprinkles (or “Tastants” as they’re called) purportedly work by enhancing smell, sending messages to your brain that tell your body it’s time to stop eating, so you eat less and feel full faster. What’s better, if you stick with Sensa, you could lose 30 pounds in six months, according to the company web site.
Update: The makers of Sensa were recently hit with a $26.5 million fine for misleading consumers with unfounded weight loss claims.
Of course, 30 lbs in 6 months is hardly unreasonable, and completely doable with any sensible fat loss plan, but the website promises that you need not change a thing about your current diet. So basically, eat what you normally do, but just use the Sensa Tastants on all your food and watch the weight slowly come off.
I was totally ready to dismiss the thought of such a product working, but then I got this glowing recommendation from a client whose opinion I valued:
“Yeah, you’ve never heard of Sensa? It works so good that I don’t even want to eat my food when I sprinkle it on.”
Now, to clarify, she didn’t mean the Tastants somehow made her food taste inedible by changing the taste of her food, but that she quickly became full with just a few bites.
I think of all the awesome applications in my own life, like on a massive brownie with ice cream on top that I probably don’t NEED to eat, or on my never big enough steak (“whaddya mean this is 12 oz?”), that chocolate cookie from the coffee shop the size of my face, or on my warm bowl of yummy grits at breakfast that I could eat at every meal. Maybe it even works on wine. Maybe, as I’ve often wondered, it could make me “slow down” and “savor” my food, as I’m often criticized for not doing.
But more importantly, maybe I could finally discover a “product” other than fish oil, multivitamins, food, and exercise to help my clients lose weight faster. I could step out of my predictable, “old school” advice of weight training, cardio, and a sensible diet and get behind the weight loss Tastants and provide another tool in the fat loss arsenal of my clients. I actually wanted to like Sensa.
Back to reality.
My first mission is to order the Sensa system. I’m instantly turned off by the price, ($199 for a 6 month kit) so I dig around the internet and uncover a one-month trial supply for $29. The product actually comes with a DVD and a brochure explaining how much Tastant to sprinkle on your food. As instructed, I dutifully sprinkle the stuff on virtually everything I “normally” eat.
As the brochure warns, the product is useless on certain foods where the product will slide off of, so M and Ms, peanuts, dry cereal, bread, crackers, etc are a total fail. The Tastants just slide off the side and essentially go to waste.
It mixes just fine into yogurt, on top of grits/cooked oatmeal/cream of wheat, peanut butter, breakfast omelets, and cooked lean meat and veggies. I do try it on as many meals as possible, and as often as possible. Even on brownies a la mode.
Let’s preface this by saying I didn’t try this with the expectation of losing any weight (I didn’t), but I was hoping the Tastants “flavor combinations” would help me feel fuller faster. Or, it could somehow slow down my pace of eating (which is notoriously fast). The latter would be nothing short of a miracle.
Not surprisingly, the product was an utter and total fail. Perhaps there’s something wrong with the olfactory circuits that lead to my brain. Or maybe I just eat 5 times faster than the normal person. The only thing I did note is that it did make my breakfast omelet taste cheesier, and certain meats (lamb in particular) taste gamier. Pasta sauce tasted a bit heartier. But in all instances, I ate no less than normal, and I was only slower by the seconds I wasted sprinkling the Tastants on my food.
Perhaps there are things about Sensa that could be useful however. For instance, because I was sprinkling an obviously white powder on top of my food I was more keenly observing my meal, watching to see if the Tastants would dissolve or change colors or do something interesting. That could be beneficial I suppose, since I might otherwise be engaged in multi-tasking while eating (not good). Shoveling food down the pie-hole while text messaging isn’t exactly a great strategy. So, if it makes you more aware and “present” when eating, that’s an improvement.
Nevertheless, there are far too many things for me to “get over” about this product (high price, lack of efficacy at least in my own personal experience, and strangeness of shaking white stuff on top of my food, other than what’s already added during cooking) to be able to comfortably recommend it for its stated purpose.
At the end of the day, you’re your own guru when it comes to what makes you full and slows you down. Sensa’s ingredients are generally regarded as “safe” to ingest, and it’s very easy to use. Simply slowing down, taking the time to chew your food, practicing mindfulness when eating, sitting down for meals (not standing or driving) and shutting off the phone/computer/TV, or pausing between bites to observe the flavors on your palate will probably serve the same purpose as the Sensa Tastants.
That’s old school advice, but it won’t cost you $199.
Her training website is www.shailafitness.com and she can be contacted for personalized diet coaching directly from here.
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