Life is an eternal struggle between the things we like and the things that are good for us.
So it’s a fair wager that we’d all like to have complete appetite control without signing up for a complicated, expensive program that doesn’t work.
The good news is it’s possible. Modern science and biology have given us many of the tools we need to control our hunger from the comfort of our homes (and perhaps the gym).
Here are five easy ways you can keep a leash on your appetite through healthy habits and some smart grocery store purchases.
1. Stay Hydrated All Day Long
One of the big reasons people get hungry is not from getting insufficient calories, but rather from not drinking enough water.
Essentially, your brain mixes up the signals for “thirst” and “hunger” triggering hunger pangs and often sugar and carb cravings, in particular, a high-calorie no-no for people trying to lose weight.
In fact, try to avoid high glycemic index (GI) foods in general like white rice, potatoes, candy, and pasta if you’re trying to control cravings and keep the pounds off. Seek out low GI foods instead.
You might think it’s a little funny that our brains could misunderstand the difference between thirst and hunger, but at least 20 percent of a person’s daily water intake comes from the food they eat, so it’s not so crazy. Your body needs fluid and is willing to get it anyway it can.
Luckily, the solution is simple: Drink more water, drink it all day long and you’ll go a long way to achieving the natural appetite control you’re looking for.
2. Caffeine is Your Friend
Good news for the coffee and tea lovers out there. Caffeine has long been known as a potent hunger suppressant. That’s one reason quite a few diet pills consist of a fairly high dose of caffeine in addition to other ingredients.
The science (largely agrees). Consuming caffeine from a half hour to up to four hours before eating made study participants eat less than those who didn’t consume caffeine, a study 2017 from the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition found.
Another study found that the positive aspects of caffeine on appetite control kicked in once people drank two coffees or more, so don’t be afraid to drink up.
3. Eat a High Protein Breakfast for All-Day Appetite Control
You’ve heard of high protein, low carb diets like Atkins and Paleo. They work for a reason.
Protein-rich foods aid in reducing hunger because their digestion stimulates receptors that tell the body to cut down on its release of hunger-inducing hormones.
Because of this, eating a high protein breakfast is a great way to ensure maximal appetite control throughout the day.
That said, you don’t have to skip out on the carbs entirely.
So low-carb is better, but some carbs are still fine.
Another side of bacon? Yes, please.
4. Cut Down on Stress and Exercise More
Everyone’s heard of stress-eating. Maybe you’re a stress-eater (women are more prone to this than men, studies show).
Unsurprisingly, not only does stress make you eat, it can also stimulate that hunger hormone, ghrelin, making you eat more and ruining your appetite control.
The good news is no one has to stress-eat, but you do have to attack the root of the problem.
Mindfulness meditation, a good night’s sleep, and exercise are all critically important to reducing stress and your chance of stress-eating.
Exercise is especially important for the appetite control-minded person since multiple studies have shown that an increase in muscle mass and lower body fat reduce hunger hormone levels.
That’s a great reason to bulk up, hit the gym, and eat healthily.
5. Create a Healthy Eating Environment
Perhaps the single best thing you can do to curb your appetite is to create a healthy eating environment wherever you go.
For instance, we know that high protein and high fiber foods can help you feel more full and reduce food cravings, so make sure you have some high protein snacks in the car with you and at your desk.
Salty and carb-heavy foods tend to make you crave more, so trade in the Lay’s for a bag of mixed nuts instead.
In fact, watch your sodium intake in general.
A recent Vanderbilt University study found that eating high sodium foods somewhat counter-intuitively decreases thirst and increases hunger. So if you’re shooting for a healthy high protein snack like peanuts or almonds, pick up the unsalted variety or risk counteracting the healthy, satiating benefits for those snacks.
Remember the “See-Food” Diet
What you see is what you eat. Literally.
In a couple of landmark pieces of research, scientists found that people on average weight tended to keep their food in the cupboard, out of sight. Concurrently, people who had junk food like candy, chips, or other snacks out on the kitchen counter or around the coffee table in plain sight were more likely to be overweight.
Appetite control, in other words, starts with how you establish your surroundings.
But it doesn’t stop there.
A second part of the study found that people who kept a certain kind of food – fresh fruit – out in the open, were usually normal weight compared those who did the same with sodas or other snacks.
The Bottom Line
Start your day by making smart choices: hydrating, eating a high protein breakfast, working out, keeping an eye on your stress level and choosing a healthy daily meal plan.
But if all else fails, the least you can do is make sure that when appetite does strike, the first thing you grab for is something high in protein or fiber that will fill you up and put too big a dent in your calorie counter.
Want to learn more about controlling your appetite, losing weight, and becoming a fitter, happier you? Check out our doctor-supervised ChiroThin program, which uses a natural dietary supplement to help patients more efficiently metabolize fat.