Living life can make sticking to your healthy eating plan difficult enough as it is, without having to deal with feelings of hunger and what feels like a raging appetite but, what can you do about it? Before you resort to chemical-based appetite suppressants or give up entirely, check out these 9 Science-Based Ways to Reduce Hunger and Appetite.
Which scientifically-based approaches help to reduce hunger and appetite?
Choose Fibre-Rich Foods
Fancy increasing your feelings of fullness by 31%? A recent study found that adding fibre-rich beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils to your meal can do just that (when compared to equivalent meals that aren’t based on beans). It makes you think twice about the value of baked beans on toast!
High fibre intake also stretches the stomach, slows its emptying rate and influences the release of fullness hormones. Fibre also ferments in the bowel, producing short-chain fatty acids which are thought to help promote feelings of fullness.
A study on Dietary Fibre and Weight Regulation found that eating an extra 14g of fibre a day could lower your calorie intake by up to 10% and lead to a potential loss of up to 13.5lbs (6.1kg) over the course of a year. Sounds like it’s time to hit the Fruit & Fibre!
Eat More Protein and Healthy Fats
Additionally, a high protein diet can help to prevent muscle loss as a result of reduced calorie intake when you’re trying to lose weight.
Aim to make protein about 20–30% of your total calorie intake, or 0.45-0.55g per lb of body weight (1.0–1.2 g/kg) for good results.
Drink More Water
You’ll be super hydrated after trying these tips!
If you’ve downloaded a copy of my “7 Healthy Ways to Boost Your Weight Loss” guide you’ll know that water is a natural appetite suppressant! In fact, drinking 16oz (474ml – or just under a pint) water before a meal could increase your weight loss to an extra 2.7lbs over 12 weeks. That’s a whopping 11.7lbs in a year!
Scientists at Nottingham Trent and Loughborough Universities believe that around 17oz (500ml) water will stretch your stomach enough that signals of fullness are sent to your brain. That’s a pretty good reason to drink before you start to snack!
Practice Mindful Eating
If you eat quickly or are distracted while you’re eating it can make it difficult for your brain to recognise hunger and fullness signals. That’s a good reason to move away from the computer or TV and sit at the table!
A study on dining in the dark found that, when compared to a control group, participants ate 36% more food when dining in a “dark” restaurant. Despite this difference, participants’ appetite for dessert and their subjective satiety were largely unaffected by how much they had consumed.
Another study showed that mindfulness (and mindfulness-based interventions) might reduce comfort eating and binge eating. Given that so many women (and men) consider these issues a factor in their weight gain and struggles to lose weight, it’s a technique you may wish to try out.
Ditch the Liquid Diet
Solid and liquid foods are not equal and do not necessarily suppress appetite in the same way. When comparing solid and liquid snacks, those who ate solid foods were 38% less likely to overeat at their next meal.
Solids also require more chewing which gives more time for fullness signals to reach the brain. Time to ditch the breakfast protein shake and opt for solid foods.
Capsaicin (found in hot peppers) and capsiate (found in sweet peppers) can help reduce hunger and increase feelings of satiety. Capsaicin helps to increase metabolism and boost weight loss through a process called thermogenesis. Thermogenesis relates to the body’s production of heat. Capsacin triggers reactions like redness and sweating and raises your core temperature; the body has to burn calories to do this. Those calories come primarily from a type of fat called brown fat or brown adipose tissue. Some of this brown fat is also known as visceral fat – the fat that lays around your internal organs.
Get More Sleep
Sleep can have a huge impact on the weight we lose, but did you know it can also help reduce hunger?
Lack of sleep can decrease the hormone leptin, which is responsible for helping the body to maintain its weight by inhibiting hunger and regulating energy balance, so the body does not trigger hunger responses when it does not need energy. Scientists have also found that reduced sleep causes an increase in ghrelin, a hormone which helps to increase appetite. Working in combination, these two hormones could increase your hunger and appetite by up to 24%, and decrease levels of some fullness hormones by up to 26%. No wonder we eat more when we’re tired!
Cut Back on Stress
Excess stress can raise cortisol levels by an average of 22% which, in turn, results in a greater drive to eat (including feelings of disinhibited eating, binge eating, hunger, and more ineffective attempts to control eating). This increased cortisol reactivity can also lead you to eat more sweet, high-fat and snack foods.
Drink Coffee? Like I need any excuse!
Coffee has some amazing health benefits, including helping you to lose weight. That’s because it increases the release of the hormone peptide YY (PYY) into the stomach which acts to reduce appetite and promotes a feeling of fullness. It can also increase calorie burn and fat breakdown. It really is a wonder drug!
Although hunger is an important and natural signal that should not be ignored, sometimes it gets out of control and you need to step back and shift your mindset. When this happens to me I drink a coffee that’s loaded with functional ingredients to support weight loss, crush cravings and metabolise fat to energy. If you want to find out more or give it a try then connect with me now.
If you enjoyed reading these 9 science-based ways to reduce hunger and appetite and are going to try a few yourself then drop a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
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