Sensa

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For this discussion, I thought I would look at any studies I could find regarding the diet “supplement” called Sensa. I’ve heard advertisements about it, but I didn’t know what it was. At first I thought it was a drug, which is why I selected it for this discussion posting. After further reading, I found it would be classified more as a supplement or food item; however, what I learned was so interesting I continued with the subject for this posting. I learned that it is a “flavor enhancer” that one sprinkles on one’s food. The creator of the supplement, Alan Hirsch, MD, is a psychiatrist who was studying the effect of the senses on diet. The idea is that the sprinkles enhance the flavor and smell of your food, so that you feel satisfied and don’t overeat. After researching it, I decided to discuss the one study I could find related to this supplement. While it shows the hypothesis test and other descriptive statistics, I think the study is flawed; all the better to discuss it on this forum.

Here is the study published on the Sensa website (“Use of Gustatory Stimuli”, n.d.).

One thousand four hundred and thirty-six patients (87.4%
female, 12.6% male, with an average initial weight of 208
pounds, and BMI of 34.2), completed this study. The average
weight loss for the test group was 30.5 pounds, 5 BMI. The
control group indicated a weight loss of 2 pounds, 0.3 BMI
(p<0.05). The average percent reduction in weight over the six- month trial was 14.7% (male=16%, female=14.4%).

Compared to the control, statistically significant weight loss was seen (2-tailed z test: z>1.96; p<0.05) for the experimental group as a whole and both genders.

Certainly this shows that the test group lost a considerable amount of weight, especially in comparison to the control group. However, I immediately wrote the following questions raised by these results: What did they eat? Did the test group really change nothing in their diet at all? Or...
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