5 Foods That Fight Hunger Pains

WebMD tells you how you can eat volumes of the right foods and still lose weight

By Jeanie Lerche Davis
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Cynthia Haines, MD

Cutting carbs, calories: You lose weight, that's for sure. But those between-meal hunger pains are vicious. Can you make it home tonight without chewing off your hand?

For more than a decade, nutritionists have investigated this issue of "satiety" -- feeling full -- to help us fight off hunger pains, writes Barbara Rolls, PhD, in her book, The Volumetrics Weight-Control Program. Rolls is the Guthrie Chair in nutrition at Pennsylvania State University in Pittsburgh.

"Cut calories by simply eating less, and you'll feel hungry and deprived," she writes.

Rolls' extensive research has led to this conclusion: By strategically increasing a meal's water and fiber content -- with the addition of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains -- you can dramatically cut the calories per portion, she tells WebMD.

Fruits and vegetables naturally have a high water content, which allows you to eat more, because the food is "energy dense."

It's the grapes versus raisins concept: A cup and a half of grapes equals cup raisins for a snack that is about 100 calories. The water in grapes lets you eat more, so you feel fewer hunger pains, she explains.

Also, a tiny bit of fat helps you last longer, Althea Zanecosky, MS, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, tells WebMD. Your system burns carbs in an hour or two, so the hunger pains hit midmorning. "If you add a little fat to your breakfast, low-fat rather than skim milk, or low-fat yogurt, or a smear of peanut butter on a bagel, you're not hungry so soon afterward."