7 Foods to Help You Control Your Appetite

Wednesday Oct 8 | BY |
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Foods Curb Appetite

Craving an ice cream shake? Try eating an apple first—
it may satisfy your appetite and reduce your intake of calories.

A 2013 survey based on Gallup’s annual Health and Healthcare survey showed that 51 percent of adults want to lose weight. In 2012, Americans spent an estimated $65 billion trying to do just that.

It’s not an easy task. Our brains seem to work against us. A number of studies have shown that food cravings are real, and that sugar surpasses cocaine as a reward in laboratory animals. Overconsumption of fat can trigger brain systems that urge us to eat more fat. Tasty food can create the same types of changes in the human brain as addictive substances.

So when we’re trying to cut back on unhealthy foods—or just food, in general—we’re actually fighting powerful physical impulses that can be hard to resist.

What if rather than resist the craving, we circumvent it with food that actually helps control appetite.

Is it possible?

Turns out it is. Try adding these to your daily menu to help keep food cravings and appetite in check.

  1. Apples: If you’re going to a friend’s house for a barbeque, heading to the all-you-can-eat buffet, or going somewhere else you may overindulge, grab an apple first. It’s high in fiber and water content and will help prevent hunger pangs. Apples are also a good source of pectin, which helps reduce the sugar and calories absorbed after a meal.
  2. Broth-based soups: These make a good choice before a meal. They take up space in your stomach, and help you eat less. A 2007 study from Penn State found that participants who ate a low-energy-dense soup before a meal reduced their calorie intake by as much as 20 percent, but still felt satisfied at the end of the meal. Researchers suggested that chunky vegetable soups may be the most satiating types. Some other studies have also found tomato soup to result in increased satiety.
  3. Eggs: Eggs are a good source of protein, which can help you feel full longer. A 2012 study found that people who ate scrambled eggs for breakfast were less hungry at lunchtime than those who ate cereal. Blood tests also showed that those who ate the eggs had lower levels of the hormone ghrelin, which is associated with feelings of hunger. Researchers have described the egg as “nature’s appetite suppressant.”
  4. Nuts: Another good source of protein, nuts also have healthy fats that can help keep you feeling full. A 2013 study found that people who added 1.5 ounces of almonds to their diet each day experienced reduced hunger. An earlier 2010 study found that participants who snacked on almonds curbed their appetite without gaining weight.
  5. Chickpeas: Actually, any type of bean will work. A 2010 study found that beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils all had a beneficial effect on satiety and weight loss. They are all high in protein, fiber, resistant starch, and minerals, which help slow digestion and delay the return of hunger.
  6. Green tea: Try a cup of green tea with your meal and see if you can eat a bit less. A 2000 study found that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in green tea helped participants control their appetite to the point that they consumed 60 percent less food and lost 21 percent of their body weight. Participants were receiving injections of concentrated EGCG—more than you’d get in a cup of green tea. But green tea also has some caffeine, which the Mayo Clinic links to appetite suppression and increased calorie burning. You can also try EGCG liquid or tablet supplements.
  7. Dark chocolate: As long as you keep your portion size small, a little piece of dark chocolate can help you suppress cravings and tame your appetite. A 2010 study found that women who just smelled the stuff reduced ghrelin levels. A 2011 study found that men who ate 100 grams of dark chocolate felt fuller and less hungry after eating it. They were also able to reduce their cravings for sweet, fatty, and savory foods. Two hours later, the men who ate the dark chocolate ate 17 percent fewer calories at an all-you-can-eat meal than men who had consumed milk chocolate.

Do you know of other foods that help keep your cravings away? Please share with our readers.

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Alyssa Brown, “Americans’ Desire to Shed Pounds Outweighs Effort,” Gallup, Inc., November 29, 2013, http://www.gallup.com/poll/166082/americans-desire-shed-pounds-outweighs-effort.aspx.

“Physical Craving and Food Addiction: A Scientific Review,” Food Addiction Institute, http://foodaddictioninstitute.org/scientific-research/physical-craving-and-food-addiction-a-scientific-review/.

Julie E. Flood and Barbara J. Rolls, “Soup preloads in a variety of forms reduce meal energy intake,” Appetite, November 2007; 49(3):626-634, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2128765/.

Fiona Macrae, “Why eggs for breakfast will keep those hunger pangs away until lunchtime,” Daily Mail, May 11, 2012, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2143181/Why-eggs-breakfast-hunger-pangs-away-lunchtime.html.

S Y Tan and R D Mattes, “Appetitive, dietary and health effects of almonds consumed with meals or as snacks: a randomized, controlled trial,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2013; 67: 1205-1214, http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v67/n11/full/ejcn2013184a.html.

S Kalgaonkar, et al., “Differential effects of walnuts vs almonds on improving metabolic and endocrine parameters in PCOS,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2011; 65: 386-393, http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v65/n3/abs/ejcn2010266a.html.

Amy Ahlberg, “Legumes Linked to Appetite Control,” Rodale News, December 2, 2010, http://www.rodalenews.com/beans-and-legumes.

“Gree tea derivative causes loss of appetite, weight loss in rats,” UCH Hospitals, February 23, 2000, http://www.uchospitals.edu/news/2000/20000223-tea.html.

Katherine Zeratsky, “Does caffeine help with weight loss?” Mayo Clinic, May 19, 2014, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/weight-loss/expert-answers/caffeine/faq-20058459.

Massolt ET, et al., “Appetite suppression through smelling of dark chocolate correlates with changes in ghrelin in young women,” Regul Pept., April 9, 2010; 161(1-3):81-6, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20102728.

Leah Zerbe, “The Most Delicious Appetite Suppressant on Earth,” Rodale News, December 30, 2011, http://www.rodalenews.com/dark-chocolate-weight-loss.

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story, a northwest-based writer, editor, and ghostwriter, has been creating non-fiction materials for individuals, corporations, and commercial magazines for over 17 years. She specializes in the health and wellness field, where she writes and ghostwrites books, e-books, blogs, magazine articles, and more.

Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness. Her fantasy novel, “Rise of the Sidenah,” was released with Jupiter Gardens Press in September 2015. Her literary novel, “Loreena’s Gift,” is forthcoming in spring 2016 from Dzanc Books. She lives in Idaho. www.colleenmstory.com

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