Does Sensa make sense?

Every time you turn a TV on, a bunch of gorgeous girls in white bikinis are dancing on the beach and singing about how Sensa made them so thin and lovely. You have two options: go right away and order some, so that you can look like those girls, or find out what is Sensa.

Magic bullet diets

Every single day there is a new diet or weight loss product on the market, all promising to make us thin and beautiful. Some offer entire program, which includes exercise and meal plans. Others promise miracles with no dieting, no exercising, no effort. Sensa is one of them.

According to the Sensa website, you can lose 30 pounds without dieting. You can eat what you like, as much as you want, and still lose weight as long as you sprinkle some Sensa on it. Who would not want that?

How does Sensa work?

Sensa is supposed to affect your sense of smell to make you feel full and consequently eat less. It is based on the idea that added smells of foods can fool our stomach and brain and make us feel full. The inventor of Sensa Dr. Hirsch calls this “sensory-specific satiety”. As we focus on smells and flavors of food, we may start changing our eating habits.

So, you get yourself a nice big pizza with pepperoni, salami, mushrooms, cheese, all the works, then sprinkle some Sensa, and all calories in the pizza will get neutralized and you will lose weight.   In fact, in Questions and Answers on the Sensa website, people are advised to eat some more if they are not feeling full, just to sprinkle more Sensa.

Olfactory (smell) senses and feeling of satiety

The link between our sense of smell and dietary habits have been extensively researched. That good smelling foods affect our faster sense of satiety has also been researched and documented. But, the process is not simple. There is a number of factors, including smell of food, that pass the message to our brain how much we have eaten, that affect our appetite and sense of fullness. The product that Dr. Alan Hirsch, founder and director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, offers, has little chance of producing spectacular results he promises.

Sensa contains Maltodextrin, a food additive made from corn starch, Tricalcium Phosphate, used in food industry as an anticaking agent, Silica, also used in food industry to control local humidity and avoid spoilage, and various natural and artificial flavors. Not a single active ingredient. This will cost you $59 for a starter kit.

Does it work?

The reviews vary, from raving praises to total disappointment. This is common for all weight loss products. Can this product work without cutting on the number of calories and physical exercise? Doubtful. Are there any scientific papers where Dr. Hirsch”s trials on Sensa have been reviewed? No. What is alarming is that products like Sensa offer magic bullet to thousands of obese people who know that their only chance of better health is losing at least ten percents of their weight. Of course it sounds attractive to do it without any effort. But the effort is necessary, lifestyle changes are urgent in order to have sustainable results. Ask your doctor. He or she will tell you: there is no magic bullet for weight loss, just hard work and persistence.


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