Dr. Oz and Saffron / Satiereal: Potent Appetite Suppressant?
In a recent television episode of “The Dr. Oz Show”, Dr Oz talked about a series of “belly blasting supplements” which he indicated can help you lose weight. One of these was a novel and exciting extract of saffron (the spice most commonly used in Indian fare and derived from the crocus sativa flower) called “Satiereal.” This supplement was referred to as a “miracle appetite suppressant” by Oz.
Unfortunately—and you’ll know this if you’re a regular visitor to this site—Dr. Oz has a tendency to “overstate” the results of existing clinical data, plus present the supplements he discusses in an overly enthusiastic way. For instance, here is some of the terminology used in his show’s overview of saffron…
“… breakthrough research”, “revolutionary way to suppress your appetite”, “annihilates your urge to overeat”, “miracle appetite suppressant to kill your hunger and squash your cravings.”
What is completely absent here is some restraint.
As you’ll see when we discuss the one single clinical study that validates saffron extract’s appetite suppressing effects, there is absolutely nothing in the clinical data that suggests Satiereal (that’s the name of the patented form of saffron used in the study) is miraculous.
What Does The Satiereal Clinical Study Conclude?
So what does the highly lauded clinical study actually say? Let’s take a look at the study’s conclusion for an overview…
“Our results indicate that Satiereal consumption produces a reduction of snacking and creates a satiating effect that could contribute to body weight loss. The combination of an adequate diet with Satiereal supplementation might help subjects engaged in a weight loss program in achieving their objective.”
Does that sound particularly miraculous to you?
It sounds to me like the folks conducting the study are nowhere near as enthusiastic as Oz, and in fact, are quite understated in their conclusion.
In fact, if you read the study yourself, you’ll discover a few other very important things…
- The effect of Satiereal on appetite suppression really only kicked in after 4 weeks of supplementation.
- The weight loss effects of Satiereal were “modest, but statistically significant”; a couple of pounds at most over the 8 week study period.
- The frequency of snacking was self assessed: participants made a daily recording of snacking episodes in a diary. Anytime you have study participants tracking their own results you have an increased margin of error; people may not be entirely honest tracking their results for a number of reasons (shame, embarrassment, etc), they may forget sessions and so on.
But what about the “study” Oz conducted with the two audience participants, Devon and Martha, which produced near miraculous results?
Here’s where Oz goes beyond overstating the effects of supplements and starts doing the public a disservice. For example, the peer reviewed study showed it took 4 weeks for the appetite suppressing effects of saffron extract to kick in—not a single weekend. Second, both these women lost more weight in a weekend than study participants lost in 2 months.
This is not reflective of the study results and smells like simple sensationalism—the sort that keeps eyeballs glued to Oz’s show.
Dr. Oz knows darn well that a pound of fat is the equivalent of nearly 3,500 calories, and that to lose that pound, you need to create a caloric deficit of the same size. This is not accomplished by refusing second or third helpings of birthday cake. To put this number in perspective, each one of these women would need to spend around 6 hours performing intense exercise on the treadmill to burn off close to this amount. The idea that they each lost multiple pounds of fat over the weekend simply by eating a little less is preposterous.
On the other hand, it is relatively easy to “weigh” less within a couple of days, but not be any less fat. This can be done easily by taking herbal diuretics or restricting simple carbohydrates. Basically the weight lost is water weight.
Should You Try Saffron Extract (Satiereal)?
Where does that leave Satiereal?
One small clinical study shows it helps with reducing snacking frequency, and may contribute to weight loss, if that reduced snacking leads to a caloric deficit (if you are still overconsuming calories, saffron extract won’t help you). If you want to experiment with this product, do so with realistic expectations, recognizing Oz’s overview is sensational and exaggerated.
Expect to take it a minimum of a month to see any major effects, and make sure the product you investigate contains the amount used in the study: 88.25 mg of Satiereal saffron taken twice a day. iHerb is a reputable online retailer of supplements, and they sell a properly standardized Satiereal product here!
Have you used Satiereal, and want to comment on its effectiveness or lack thereof? Want to read about what other people have to say about this supplement? Click here!