Feeling hungry all the time can be detrimental to your waistline. Once that gurgling kicks in, you may go running for the nearest snack, even if it’s not a healthy one. By eating certain foods, drinking water and getting more active, you can kick those hunger pangs to the curb.
Consume High-Fiber Foods
Fiber is highly beneficial for a ravenous appetite. High-fiber foods, like veggies, fresh fruits, nuts and legumes, tend to take a while to make it through your digestive tract. One type of fiber, soluble fiber, absorbs water, forming a gel that slows digestion. Food winds up sitting in your belly for a longer period of time. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, is bulky and fills your belly. That filling effect can further improve your satiety. While fibrous foods may have higher amounts of one type of fiber, generally they provide a little of each kind.
Drink More Water
It’s virtually free, comes out of your tap and has no calories. Plain old drinking water can help stop those hunger cravings dead in their tracks. In 2010, at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, researchers presented their findings on water's contribution to weight loss. Research participants were all put on low-calorie diets and split into two groups. The control group made no special changes, while the study group drank two 8-ounce glasses of water before breakfast, lunch and dinner. Because of water’s filling effect, participants consumed, on average, 75 to 90 fewer calories at each meal before which they drank the extra water. At the end of the 12-week study, the water-drinking participants each lost about 5 pounds more than people in the control group, simply because they didn’t feel as hungry.
Eat Low-Glycemic Foods
Fast-digesting carbohydrates, such as breads with refined flours and candies with added sugars, often leave you completely unsatisfied and hungry again shortly after eating. These are known as “high glycemic” foods. To control your appetite, you’ll need to have low-glycemic index -- or low-GI -- foods instead. Low-GI foods increase levels of a hormone that suppresses your appetite, making you feel full, according to research presented at the 2009 Society for Endocrinology BES meeting. Researchers found that participants who ate a low-glycemic breakfast after fasting overnight had higher levels of this hunger-fighting hormone than participants who ate high-glycemic foods. Tofu, beans, most fresh fruits, lentils and whole grains are just some of the low-glycemic foods you should be eating to feel full.
Get to the Gym
Exercise doesn't simply promote weight loss, it could prevent hunger. Based on a research review from the American Council on Exercise, your body releases hormones when you work out that affect your appetite. The intensity at which you exercise impacts the sensitivity of these hormones, though. This means that if you go for a walk a few times weekly, your body may release appetite-controlling hormones, but they might not work as well as those of someone who runs every day. Trained athletes often have lower appetites. Plus, when you exercise, blood moves away from your digestive tract and toward your muscles, preventing your belly from immediately signaling your brain that it’s hungry. The theory behind exercise for appetite suppression is still being studied, although more physical activity in your life is surely beneficial for overall health.
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fiber
- ScienceDaily: Drink Water to Curb Weight Gain? Clinical Trial Confirms Effectiveness of Simple Appetite Control Method
- Better Health Channel: Carbohydrates and the Glycaemic Index
- ScienceDaily: Scientists Discover Why a Low GI Meal Makes You Feel Full
- American Council on Exercise: The Truth About Exercise and Appetite
- DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images