Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Do weight-loss products such as Sensa work?

How do weight-loss products such as Sensa, SlimScents and Aroma Patch work?

Updated: 02-23-2012

Answer

These scent-based weight-loss products deliver aromas that are supposed to reduce your appetite. Sensa is sprinkled on your food. The Aroma Patch is worn on your hand, wrist or chest. SlimScents is inhaled through your nose before meals.

Alan Hirsch, M.D., who developed Sensa, says proof of its effectiveness comes from a six-month study he conducted in which participants lost an average of 15 percent of their body weight. The makers of Aroma Patch and SlimScents point to another study by Dr. Hirsh to bolster their claims. That study, which was reported in a medical journal, showed that volunteers who used an aroma inhaler lost an average of 2 percent of their body weight over six months. However, neither of these studies lasted longer than six months. So they didn't look at whether participants were able to maintain the weight loss over time.

So can these weight-loss products lead to significant, sustainable weight loss? The jury is still out on that question. Even some of the makers of these weight-loss products acknowledge that losing weight comes down to diet and exercise. It makes more sense, then, to skip the scents and focus on what's proven to work — reducing the calories you eat and increasing the calories you burn through exercise.

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