Do you struggle to stick to your diet due to hunger? Would you love to know how to reduce hunger when dieting? If you answered yes to either of these questions then you will definitely want to check out our top 10 ways on controlling your appetite below.
The biggest challenge most of us face while trying to lose weight is keeping to a weight-loss diet over time. While there are a few lucky people that feel absolutely fine while in a caloric deficit (eating fewer calories than what your body burns throughout the day), most of us feel hungry, cranky, tired and uncomfortable overall.
So what’s the trick to getting through a diet and losing weight effectively if doing it feels so terrible? First, you need to maintain a healthy weight loss diet that will help you shave off pounds slowly over time. Second, you need to master your hunger. Don’t worry though, mastering your hunger isn’t all about will power and gritting your teeth and making it through the cravings. You can get science involved to make the task easier for you. There are some simple tips and adjustments you can make to help you feel full longer. There are also tricks you can use to make you fuller while you consume fewer calories.
But first, let’s dig into the science behind it all. Let’s look at the three hormones that control when and how much you eat. Getting to know more about these advanced health topics will make dieting easier for you, and will help you understand why making careful food choices and habit choices are so important for staying healthy over time.
The Science of Hunger
Every time that you pick up a plate of food and start eating you’ve likely been influenced by a set of hormones within your body to do so. There are three hormones responsible for influencing your appetite, ghrelin, leptin and insulin. Each does so in its own way, but together these hormones are designed to help you maintain healthy body fat and to help you eat a balanced diet that will help your body function properly.
How the Hormones Work Together to Maintain Your Body Weight
Each of the three hormones leptin, ghrelin and insulin work together to help you maintain healthy body fat levels over time, and for the most part, they do a very good job. Below is an explanation of what each of the three hormones does within the body.
Leptin Makes you Feel Satisfied
Leptin is a hormone in the body that’s tasked with signalling when you should be hungry and when you should be full. Leptin is produced by adipose fat cells in the body when there is plenty of fat stores to rely on signalling the body to stop being hungry. When leptin is produced regularly you will feel full and will eat less naturally. When leptin levels get low you’ll feel incredibly hungry and will have major hunger cravings until those leptin levels increase.
Ghrelin Makes you Hungry
Ghrelin is a hormone produced by the stomach and the more of it you have the hungrier you’ll feel. Very high levels of ghrelin are likely in your system if your stomach is rumbling and you’re feeling hungry. Ghrelin gets produced at a higher rate in lean individuals and at a slower rate in those with higher fat stores. It’s produced at high rates during periods of fasting and around times when meals normally are.
Insulin Allows Your Body to Use Sugar
Sugar or glucose is used throughout the body for energy to complete most actions. Whether you’re walking around, or just sitting at a desk browsing the internet, you’re using at least a small amount of glucose to do those activities. Glucose comes from carbohydrates and sugars you take in by eating, but that food’s useless without insulin. Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas, and it binds with glucose and brings it into cells throughout the body giving them the energy they need. Insulin also works to store excess glucose as glycogen in the muscles and the liver for use later on when glucose levels are low. Insulin makes sure your body has energy when it needs it and it’s one of the most important hormones
Together the three hormones work to keep you healthy and to maintain your body fat stores. Leptin keeps you from eating so much that you become very overweight, while ghrelin works to keep you from losing too much weight. Insulin is the driving force passing energy out throughout your body and can help to signal leptin or ghrelin release depending on what you’re eating and how often. Getting to know each of the different hormones helps you understand how your body works, and also makes it obvious why it’s so important to work to boost leptin levels, to minimize ghrelin and to keep your body’s insulin production and insulin response healthy over time for effective weight loss.
#1. Focus on Protein – Aim for 30% Plus
Protein is one of the most effective tools you have available for controlling your appetite while managing your weight. Studies show that when a large portion of a person’s calories come from protein, they feel fuller. Not only that but very little protein is stored away as fat, which is very helpful for those trying to lose weight.
To take full advantage of these benefits, try and get approximately 30% to 40% of your daily calories from protein sources. Also, try to add protein to each meal you consume. Doing those two things will go a long way toward pushing back hunger and making you feel fuller for longer after a meal.
#2. Eat More Fiber
Fibre is another simple tool for boosting how full and satisfied you feel with each meal. Fibre isn’t digestible and once consumed it pulls water from your digestive tract and expands to make you feel nice and full. When consumed regularly it will help smooth your digestion and keep you from feeling hungry.
An easy way to get enough fibre into your diet is to consume whole fruits and vegetables regularly. Adding fibre supplements like psyllium seed husks doesn’t hurt either if you’re having a tough time consuming enough fibre throughout the day. Experts recommend getting around 14 grams of fibre per 1,000 calories consumed throughout the day, adding one vegetable source or one fruit source to each meal is a good way to meet those requirements easily.
#3. Get Plenty of Water
One of the simplest ways to boost that full feeling after eating is to drink a glass of water with every meal. Bring a tall glass of water to the table with each meal and eat less while feeling fuller at the same time.
#4. Don’t Cut out Carbs
So many diets available today avoid carbs as much as possible, but that’s not the way to go if you want to feel full in between meals. That’s because carbohydrates are well-known for boosting leptin levels. Fats simply can’t compete when it comes to raising leptin levels. We’ll go over why that matters down below, but the short answer is that it will make you feel fuller longer if you have higher leptin levels.
Why Leptin is Important When You Want to Feel Full
As explained above, leptin is responsible for making you feel full. Maintaining high leptin levels over time will keep you from eating as much food. By taking in at least a small amount of carbohydrates at most meals you’ll help maintain healthy leptin levels in your bloodstream to keep your hunger cravings down.
#5. Do-Cut Out High Glycemic Index Carbs
While you shouldn’t eliminate carbohydrates from your diet entirely if you want to control your appetite, you should do your best to avoid the high-glycemic index carbohydrates. These are the carbohydrates that raise your blood sugar level rapidly. To give an idea of how glycemic index works, glucose is a 100 on the GI (glycemic index) scale. Anything 55 and lower is considered to be low on the GI scale, while 70 and greater is high. Avoid foods with a glycemic index of 70 or higher to help keep yourself full more effectively.
Studies show that foods with a high glycemic index will make you feel hungrier directly after eating them. Examples of high glycemic index foods include rice crackers, rice milk, instant mashed potatoes and raw watermelon. Foods low on the glycemic index include raw apples, white spaghetti, soybeans and boiled carrots. By being aware of the glycemic index of your carbohydrates you can choose options that will help keep you feeling full, rather than options that make you want to go out and eat.
#6. Slow Down While Eating
Slowing down while eating is a simple way to feel full while eating less. Studies show that there is a delayed reaction between eating and feeling full. Eating slowly gives your body time to decide that it’s full. Take sips of your water in between bites. Chew your food more slowly or talk with others around you while eating to help slow your pace. All these simple tricks can help reduce your food intake at meals.
#7. Focus on Eating Solids Whenever Possible
Though it’s tempting to enjoy liquid drinks or liquid snack items, they just aren’t as effective for promoting a feeling of fullness over time according to scientists. According to scientific studies people are more likely to eat a smaller meal after eating some solid food. After eating a liquid item the person is less likely to eat a smaller amount of food at the next meal, which isn’t beneficial for weight loss.
#8. Get Enough Sleep
Try and get enough sleep each night for you to feel well-rested. Doing this will boost your leptin levels while lowering your ghrelin levels at the same time. Both of these changes will help you to feel fuller and lower your food consumption as well.
#9. Try Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a bitter snack, and that bitterness might be a key to staying full for longer according to scientists. By adding in some dark chocolate at meal time you can effectively slow down your digestion and reduce your overall hunger at the same time. Dark chocolate contains high levels of stearic acid that’s thought to slow digestion. Adding just a small amount of this treat to your diet throughout the day could help you feel fuller and reduce the total amount that you eat as well.
#10. Make sure to Get Plenty of Omega-3 Fats
Omega-3 Fats are well-known to help increase leptin production, which will also make you feel fuller. These special fats are found in fish and algae oils in heavy amounts and found in other meat products as well. These special fats are also known to make overweight individuals feel fuller when they’re eaten even in a caloric deficit, which is another helpful benefit of them when you want to lose weight. Try adding fish to your diet more regularly for a low-calorie and protein-rich food item that will make you feel full for longer.
How To Reduce Hunger Key Takeaways
For many people losing weight seems impossible. By learning how to trick your body into thinking it’s full more frequently, you can more effectively lose weight over time. Whenever you feel more full, you’ll eat less food. When used over time, these simple tips can help you lose weight faster, keep that weight off and make more healthy decisions. You don’t have to make use of all the different suggestions for success, but making use of at least a few of them will help more than just using a single suggestion. Try to change the way that you eat and you can diet more effectively and enjoy dieting more as well.
Follow as many of these tips and tricks as you can, and you’ll be less likely to overeat. Doing just a few of these things will help you eat fewer calories and feel fuller at the same time. Learning to master your appetite and to feel full more often will help you stick to diets over time and to maintain a healthy weight more easily. Try to eat the right foods, slow down when you eat, drink water more frequently and get enough sleep and you’ll have fewer issues with hunger while dieting as a result.