Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) is an ingredient in Indian-style spiced foods and a source of soluble fiber.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota, in St Paul studied its effects on satiety, blood sugar levels and insulin response, and energy intake in obese people.

First, the details.

  • 18 healthy obese people were assigned to eat breakfasts with varying amounts of fenugreek fiber in random order.
    • 0 grams fenugreek
    • 4 grams fenugreek
    • 8 grams fenugreek
  • Participants recorded their hunger, satiety, fullness, and food consumption using visual analog scales (VAS) every 30 minutes for 3.5 hours.
  • Blood sugar levels and insulin response were measured after meals.
  • Energy intake from a lunch buffet and for the remainder of the day was recorded.

And, the results.

  • 8 grams of fenugreek fiber significantly increased satiety and fullness, and reduced hunger and food consumption.
  • Palatability was significantly reduced as the dose of fenugreek fiber increased.
  • There were no differences in blood sugar levels among treatments.
  • Insulin release increased following 8 grams of fenugreek fiber.
  • Energy intake at the lunch buffet was significantly lower for 8 grams vs 4 grams of fenugreek fiber, but not significantly different from control.
  • There were no differences in energy intake for the remainder of the day.

The bottom line?
The authors think that 8 grams of fenugreek fiber might have short-term beneficial effects in obese subjects.

I’m not convinced.

A PubMed search revealed no studies of documented weight loss in humans. Although the co-sponsor of study, Frutarom USA, may be proceeding down this road. The NIH also provided funding.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has reviewed fenugreek.

4/10/09 12:39 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.