Eating healthier to lose weight is a lot easier said than done. And if you’re following a strict diet or reducing your calorie intake, you may find yourself so hungry that it can be tempting to go back to old habits. So how can you manage hunger pangs and avoid giving into bad cravings?
It’s important to remember that crash diets, diet pills, or herbal supplements to lose weight can have long-term negative consequences on your body. There are better ways to suppress appetite and curb hunger. Here are 13 tips that can help you feel full for longer and keep the weight off.
13 tips for suppressing appetite
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are full of fiber, which keep you satiated for longer periods of time. These foods can help you control your blood sugar, which plays a critical role in controlling cravings.
- Stay hydrated. Drink glasses of water throughout the day, especially when you start to feel hungry. Staying adequately hydrated can reduce hunger pains and help you eat less during meals.
- Get enough protein. Protein is another great way to increase feelings of fullness and make you eat less during meals. Incorporate high-protein foods into your diet, like salmon, lean chicken, turkey, legumes, and soybeans.
- Increase your intake of omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish) are particularly good at reducing hunger due to their ability to increase the hormone leptin, which creates a feeling of fullness after eating.
- Spice up your meals. Spices such as black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, curry, and cayenne pepper can rev up your metabolism and act as an appetite suppressant. An added benefit is that when eaten with high-carb meals, certain spices like cayenne can increase the body’s fat-burning activities.
- Don’t ignore your snack cravings. Ignoring hunger pangs may make them worse and cause you to eat too much when it’s mealtime. If you feel like snacking on something, go for healthier choices that can help keep you full without adding a ton of calories, like hummus, carrot sticks, fruit, etc.
- Appease your sweet tooth with dark chocolate. If you have an intense sweet tooth, opt for dark chocolate over milk chocolate. Chocolate above 75% or 80% has less sugar and can be eaten in moderation.
- Fill up on nuts. Nuts are rich in protein, unsaturated fat, vitamin E, magnesium, and antioxidants. Having a handful when you feel peckish is an excellent way to trick your stomach into feeling full.
- Drink caffeine. Green tea and coffee are excellent for curbing your appetite, and it can also boost your metabolism. If you’re a coffee drinker, however, beware of drinks that add tons of milk and sugar.
- Chew gum. Chewing gum is a great way to make your brain think you are full without consuming more calories. Most gum consists of less than 10 calories and helps curb hunger.
- Check your medications. Check if your medications are causing food cravings even after you had breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Your doctor may change the medication or dosage.
- Take a dose of apple cider vinegar (ACV). ACV improves digestion and helps keep food in the stomach for longer, controlling cravings at least for 3 hours. ACV also helps control blood sugar spikes that occur after eating.
- Reduce stress. Identify stressors in your life and establish an action plan to take control or get rid of them. This can help you reduce stress eating.
Can supplements help suppress my appetite?
Much more research is needed before these supplements can be recommended specifically to curb hunger cravings:
- Magnesium: Combats chocolate cravings, helps relieve stress, relaxes muscles, improves sleep, and helps regulate glucose and insulin.
- Stimulants: Adrenaline reduces appetite by redirecting blood away from the digestive tract. Other powerful stimulants such as synephrine and yohimbine can also reduce hunger cravings, but may not be appropriate for daily use.
- Ginger, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), Caralluma fimbriata: May support appetite suppression, but studies to support this are preliminary.
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Zelman KM. Foods That Curb Hunger. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/foods-that-curb-hunger#1
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