Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bad Deal: Control ACS (Appetite Control System) by GNC


I was hesitant to write up this post at all, mostly because I'm pretty sure I'm going to get judged for even *trying* the following product.

But everybody gets curious or desperate, makes mistakes, and for those who live to tell the tale, they share their experiences with others so they can make their own informed decisions.

I've never called myself a "healthy living blogger" and have always referenced A Case of the Runs as "a running blog," although other stuff does make its way onto here.  But I am FAR cry from the image that "healthy living bloggers" depict of themselves, and I am not afraid to admit that I sometimes eat chips and cereal straight out of the bag, occasionally eat instant ramen noodles, and sometimes exercise only so I don't reach the weight I thought I was going to be as an adult when I was in high school (300 lbs).

Of course, these are all pretty uncommon, and I don't want to justify myself one way or the other.  But now you have a background to these pills.


If you've ever passed a GNC, you've probably seen lots of gimmicky products, and I happened to notice this one, the Control ACS (Appetite Control Supplement) was highly rated online.  It went on sale, and I went for it.  You might wonder, why would someone who trains as much as I do be interested in decreasing my appetite? 

In reality, I was only planning on using these after long runs, when I got particularly hungry and tired.  In retrospect, those seem like poor motivations.  I knew that eating is a "no duh" after long runs, but I would get this uncontrollable, all-day hunger no matter how big my lunch was.  Plus, since there were some stimulating effects from these pills, I figured it would keep me from wanting to take a nap when I was trying to enjoy the rest of my weekend, post long-run.  Sadly, I no longer have the energy level that I did a few years ago.

So, I would do my long runs, eat my lunch, and then take a couple of these before going out for the rest of the day.  This way, I wouldn't attack my friends due to "sudden post-run hunger syndrome" (I made that up), eat like a normal person instead of a heffer, and I could hang with them energy-wise until nighttime.

I don't really feel like these pills controlled my appetite much.  The hunger *was* a bit less, but I was still able to eat, maybe just a little more slowly since food was just a *little* less appetizing.  On the up side, I did NOT have to suddenly announce that I was about to pass out from hunger at any time.  As for energy, I think this made it a little more even... keeping me from crashing, but taking two of these pills results in nights of only being able to sleep for four hours...... after a long run, mind you.  This was useful to me while I was writing my dissertation, but for the most part, I don't need to be kept awake, even if my baseline energy levels are probably pretty low for my age, I feel.  (Even taking half the doseage at an earlier time doesn't completely get rid of this effect.)

Finally, the last side-effect is bloating.  There is some cellulose and other things in that pill that I guess plump up in your stomach in another effort to control your hunger.  I get bloated enough on my own, and it took me a while to realize it was a side-effect from this pill.

I think I took a total of maybe 6-7 pills from this bottle (over a period of months) before I decided once and for all that it was a bad idea.  Since then, I've found other ways to deal with post-long run fatigue, slightly more natural ways.  Or maybe I should really consider just napping afterwards, but weekends are already too short, especially with those long runs in there. =/

Final verdict: Don't do it, people!

- slight appetite reduction
- prevents energy crashes: this was especially desirable during that time period because I had TONS on my plate, and more energy/sleeping less allowed me to make more hours in the day for school stuff
- keeps you up at night (some people would consider this a pro)
- decently affordable if you catch a sale ($25... mine was half this price)

- not for the caffeine-sensitive (which I think I am)
- bloating
- keeps you up at night
- does not really "decrease caloric intake" as it claims, though it does make whatever you *do* eat less appetizing


  1. Does it contain a lot of caffeine? It seems as though many of those appetite suppressants are just pill forms of caffeine.

  2. I Love this! Only because you gave it a shot. I mean, if we aren't going to experiment with our own bodies, what good are they for? =)
    I'm still on my trial run of l-arginine. I think they are helping, and the gf thinks so as well.

  3. I have to admit to giving into curiosity a few times before for these appetite suppressants. You would think after the first time I would realize that these things really don't work. I can't even claim the minor feeling of reduced appetite is really due to the effects of the pills or just a placebo effect. The the extra burn in calories is usually do the caffeine that leaves me jittery and unable to sleep. With that said, I am probably going to be the victim of curiosity or desperation how ever you want to see it again sometime in the future. Well, now I know I not the only one that these things don't work for.

  4. Hey Julie, I love how honest you are in your posts! I suffered from post-long run hunger when I was training for a marathon too. In fact, I actually GAINED weight during training, if you can believe it. At first I tried to curb my post-run hunger, but eventually gave up. Gaining 3 lbs to be able to fuel my body for 26.2 miles was worth it in the end. I just tried to eat lots of healthy post-run food (whole-wheat blueberry pancakes were my fave) instead of candy bars, cookies and donuts :)