Purpose: Fenugreek seeds (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) have long been used as a herbal medicine for treating metabolic and nutritive dysfunctions. They have been shown to modulate feeding behaviour in animals. We have recently observed a selective decrease in fat consumption in healthy normal weight volunteers treated with a hydro-alcoholic seed extract. However, strong clinical data on the effects of fenugreek seeds on energy intake are lacking, especially in overweight individuals. The aim of our study was to investigate the effects of a repeated administration of a fenugreek seed extract on the eating behaviour of overweight subjects.
Methods: Thirty-nine healthy overweight male volunteers completed a 6-week double-blind randomized placebo-controlled parallel trial of a fixed dose of a fenugreek seed extract. Main endpoints were energy intake (dietary records and meal test), weight, fasting and post-absorptive glucose and insulin, appetite/satiety scores and oxidative parameters.
Results: Daily fat consumption, expressed as the ratio fat reported energy intake/total energy expenditure (fat-REI/TEE), was significantly decreased in our overweight subjects administered the fenugreek seed extract relative to those receiving the placebo (fat-REI/TEE 0.26 +/- 0.02 vs. 0.30 +/- 0.01, respectively; P = 0.032). We also observed a significant decrease in the insulin/glucose ratio in subjects treated with fenugreek seed extract relative to the placebo group (0.89 +/- 0.09 vs. 1.06 +/- 0.10 mUI mmol(-1), respectively; P = 0.044). No significant effect was observed on weight, appetite/satiety scores or oxidative parameters.
Conclusion: The repeated administration of a fenugreek seed extract slightly but significantly decreased dietary fat consumption in healthy overweight subjects in this short-term study.