Sense and Sensa-bility

It most certainly sounds fabulous.  Sprinkle, eat, shed the extra pounds.  And maybe, just maybe, there is something to the notion that weight loss can be achieved through aromas that reduce the appetite. We can add Sensa to Slimscents and the Aroma Patch to the growing roster of scent-based weight-loss products that promise us all sorts of wonderful things and claim clinical proof of effectiveness.

But, wait a sec.  What about weight loss through negative calories? Remember the idea that some foods – celery comes to mind – have so few calories and are so hard to digest that they actually force the body to use extra energy to digest them and, in effect, help us lose weight that way?  And then we have bitter orange supplements and Hoodia, cider vinegar, B-12 shots, caffeine and all the rest.  And in each case, there is something, a theory, a hope, an idea, a study, something that suggests they can help us effortlessly lose the weight we so very much need to lose.

Sensa has been developed by a medical doctor, Alan Hirsh, and he conducted a six-month study during which it is claimed participants lost an average of 15 percent of their body weight using the product.  Work by Dr. Hirsh was also used to support the claims made by the makers of Aroma Patch and Slimscents, who said their test volunteers lost an average of 2 percent of their body weight over six months.  This is impressive stuff.

One interesting – and very important – thing here is that none of these studies lasted longer than six months.  Why is this  important?  The real trick with weight loss is determining whether participants are able to maintain that weight loss.  We can all seem to manage to shed ten or twenty pounds if we really try; it’s keeping those pounds off for good that’s the real challenge.

So.  Do scent-based weight-loss products work?  Do they lead to what health experts call sustainable and consequent weight loss?  No one knows – but the little proof there is, is really marginal.  And here’s another interesting point.  Most of the makers of these products admit that losing extra weight always comes back to healthy eating and regular exercise.

We know that being overweight and under-fit risks our health.  We know how much better we feel when we eat properly and exercise.  So let’s work on that, shall we?  Of course we will mess up and eat junky snacks and skip the walks from time to time.  Big deal.  Start over – every day, if need be.  We aren’t striving for organic perfection right away.  We are simply taking back some self-control.  Focus on what works: eat mindfully, choosing fresh fruits and vegetables and high quality protein whenever we can.   And get out there and get moving!  Spend the money you might have spent on Sensa or a patch or whatever they come up with next on some real perfume or fancy walking socks or sunscreen instead!

Special thanks to Katherine Zeratsky, RD, LD, of


One response to “Sense and Sensa-bility

  1. Pingback: How To Manage Your Thoughts « Media Meme

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