If anyone asked me if there were a magic bean or magic pill that made you get skinny, I'd say no. Diet and exercise are the keys to weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. The exercise part should be regular in frequency and varied in type. And when it comes to diet, that doesn't mean starving yourself, that simply means control the quantity and quality of what you eat and drink. For extra credit, remember that it's harder to take weight off than it is to put on.
In one short paragraph, I've summarized everything you need to know about being healthy. If you eat shit and sit on your ass, you'll get fat and die early. If you eat right and exercise, you'll live longer and feel better. Easy, right? Wrong. For some of us, it's easier to say it than to do it. For me, I know exactly what I need to do. I need to quit eating junk food and I need to quit eating so much. It's just hard. Very hard. Yes, I can take charge and do things the way they should be done but I'm lazy at heart.
I know it sounds odd to call myself lazy, but I am. Despite how much running I do, I am lazy. If I have to cook food for myself, I'm more likely to go buy food that's already prepared than to cook it myself. I would be fine eating out every night for dinner. No dishes, no cooking, all eating.
So how does this all tie into what I'm reviewing? Well, I was hoping that Hammer Nutrition had a magic pill that would help me lose weight. Specifically, their APPESTAT dietary supplement. I know I just contradicted myself by hoping for a magic weight loss pill, but I've had solid results from other Hammer products. Their Gels aren't the best out there but are certainly comparable to what's on the market. Their Perpeteum and Recoverite though far exceed anything I've found when it comes to sustained fueling on long runs and recovering from a hard workout. I have had mixed results with their Soy products and a few other things that I've dabbled with but the Gel, Perpeteum, and Recoverite worked for me from the first use.
So I figured I'd give APPESTAT a try. I bought two bottles (90 capsules each) and started taking them as directed near the end of January. The directions on the bottle state to "Take 1-2 capsules 60 minutes before lunch and dinner. Use in a cycle of 3 weeks ON with one week OFF before starting another 3 week cycle." And for the most part I stuck with that. I did 3 weeks ON with the first and third week averaging one capsule per dose and the second week averaging two capsules per dose. I then took a week off as directed, started another cycle but had to stop due to travel. During this short, week-long cycle, averaged one capsule per dose. After an extended OFF period of ten days, I started a new cycle of three weeks ON with an average dose of two capsules. After my third week, I quit. I was seeing no progress and gave up.
In total I took 123 capsules over 70 days. My first cycle was 49 capsules, my second was 59 capsules, and I had an odd week in the middle of them with 15 capsules.
During the test, I did my best to keep my diet the same. The only major change to my diet was beginning to test Hammer Soy during the first cycle. I was not using it every day but still noticed that it caused weight gain. The odd cycle and the full second cycle had no Hammer Soy consumption. I neglected to weigh myself before the start of the experiment and my last official weight was recorded a full three months prior and was 220 pounds. This was not good for the test as I had no official starting point to measure myself by. Realizing my error, I weighed myself at the end of the first week of the first cycle and was 225 pounds. By the start of the third week I was up to 228 pounds. At the start of my odd cycle I was back to 225 pounds but was back to 228 pounds and 227 pounds by the second and third week (respectively) of my second full cycle. My weight at the end of the experiment was 228 pounds. So even though I didn't properly measure my weight at the start of the experiment, I think I can easily say that during the test, I saw no weight loss.
I did experiment with the timing of taking the capsule. The directions said to take an hour before lunch and dinner but I found that an hour and a half worked best. I saw the greatest decrease in appetite when I pushed it to 90 minutes before meals. But that decrease in appetite was very minimal. My appetite during lunch was normal and my appetite during dinner was only slightly decreased. Enough to be noticed but not enough to really make a measurable difference. Most days I ate roughly the same amount and on good days when the capsules appeared to work best I would only eat one serving during dinner. I was tempted to test how well it would work if I took a third dosage an hour before I usually snack at night but opted to limit my variables and just follow directions.
According to the label on the bottle, APPESTAT contains Zinc (15mg), Chromium (60mcg), and Iodine (113mcg). It also has their trademarked Enzyme Enhancement System (14mg), 5-HTP (20mg), and Hydroxycitric Acid (200mg). Other ingredients listed are Magnesium Stearate and Vegetable Capsules. I was careful to check the ingredients before I purchased the product because I have some odd food allergies. Nuts are my most common allergy, meaning that it's a big allergy for me but is common among other people. Common enough to be one of the top eight food products the FDA requires manufacturers to put on their labels. My more un-common-to-everyone-else allergy that is a big allergy for me is poultry. While Hammer does use nuts in some of their products, I don't expect them to use poultry. Another, more bizarre, allergy of mine is gourds (as in pumpkin, squash, etc.). As with the other foods I'm allergic to, I've never had an issue with Hammer products as long as I avoid the ones with nuts. The only dietary supplement I've had a reaction to in the past has been Saw Palmetto. I think it's related to gourds somehow because my reaction was almost identical (and yes, I tested that allergic reaction well enough to know it was the Saw Palmetto I was allergic to). With APPESTAT I saw no allergic reaction. In fact, I saw no negative reactions at all. No upset stomach, no gas, no bloating, no issues during running, nothing. As I've experienced with other Hammer products, it's very easy on the stomach and causes no GI distress.
While I had no negative reaction to the capsules, I did notice an odd change in how I looked at food. About halfway through my first cycle and for most of my second cycle, I noticed that the food would look just as appetizing and I'd usually eat just as much but I wouldn't want to eat as much sometimes. It was almost like taking the capsules reminded me that I needed to not eat as much as I was used to and I needed to snack less at night. As I went through the experiment my first impression was that the capsules were making me see this change but it was noticeable during my OFF weeks that I still felt this way. This leads me to believe it was just a placebo effect. The viewpoint change in food would come and go with no apparent pattern that would match my consumption of capsules. In other words, they weren't related.
In the end, Hammer APPESTAT did not work for me. I saw no weight loss, my appetite was barely reduced, and I could not feel it impact my diet. While the numbers show that I gained weight during the first cycle, I strongly feel that this was due to my consumption of Hammer Soy. Once I removed that from my diet, I saw my weight flat line, even during my second cycle. My appetite was reduced but not on a regular basis. I felt a reduction just large enough to notice but not large enough to make a difference. I also saw no impact on what I ate, how I ate, or how much I ate. So in the end, I can not recommend this product as I feel it simply does not provide measurable results.
If you'd like to read other reviews of APPESTAT, I've taken the time to consolidate some of them here. I haven't read any of them so I have no idea what they say. I would also like to clarify that while I love Hammer products, everyone is different and needs to find what works for them. While APPESTAT may not work for me, I'll still continue to use other Hammer products that do work for me.