In order to lose weight, you must limit your daily calorie intake.
Weight-loss regimens, unfortunately, frequently result in increased appetite and intense hunger.
This can make losing weight and keeping it off incredibly challenging.
A diet, supplement, or other treatment that prevents a person from feeling hungry is known as an appetite suppressant. Some approaches are more effective than others at suppressing hunger.
The effectiveness of appetite suppressant drugs to suppress hunger and facilitate weight loss is touted by their manufacturers. However, the efficiency of these tablets is unknown, and they frequently come with hazardous side effects, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Instead, a person can employ a variety of natural approaches to safely and healthily restrict or decrease their appetite.
But what hormone really drives hunger?
Ghrelin is a hormone generated mostly by the stomach and released in lesser amounts by the small intestine, pancreas, and brain.
Ghrelin serves a variety of purposes. Because it stimulates appetite, increases food intake, and promotes fat storage, it is known as the “hunger hormone.”
This hormone increases food intake by up to 30% when given to people; it circulates in the bloodstream and operates on the hypothalamus, a brain region important for appetite control. Ghrelin has also been demonstrated to act on reward-processing areas of the brain, such as the amygdala.
Ghrelin also stimulates the pituitary gland to release growth hormone, which, unlike ghrelin, breaks down adipose tissue and encourages muscular growth. It is also involved in the modulation of insulin release and has a protective effect on the cardiovascular system.
Ghrelin levels are reduced when you eat. Ghrelin release is slowed to variable degrees by various nutrients; carbs and proteins inhibit ghrelin production and release more than lipids.
Here’s a rundown of 18 scientifically proven methods for reducing excessive hunger and appetite:
1. Consume Enough Protein
Adding more protein to your diet can help you lose weight by increasing feelings of fullness, causing you to eat less at your next meal.
For example, weight-loss research contrasted two meals with the same number of calories: one with eggs and the other with bagels.
Over the course of the eight-week study, those who ate the egg breakfast shed 65 percent more weight and 16 percent more body fat.
Furthermore, when daily calories are lowered for weight loss, a high protein diet may aid to prevent muscle loss.
Protein should account for roughly 20–30% of your total calorie intake, or 0.45-0.55 g/lb of body weight (1.0–1.2 g/kg), to reap the benefits.
VERDICT: Getting enough protein in your diet can help you lose weight by suppressing your appetite.
2. Choose Foods that Are High in Fiber
A high fiber diet expands the stomach, decreases the rate of emptying, and affects the release of satiety hormones.
Fiber can also ferment in the intestine. This results in the production of short-chain fatty acids, which are thought to aid in the promotion of feelings of fullness.
According to a new study, including fiber-rich beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils in your meal can boost feelings of fullness by 31% when compared to meals that don’t include beans.
Whole grains, which are high in fiber, can also help you feel full and reduce hunger.
Adding 14 grams of fiber to your daily diet can help you save calories by up to 10%. This could result in a weight loss of up to 4.2 pounds over the course of 3.8 months (1.9 kg).
Recent studies, on the other hand, have found fewer pronounced impacts. This could be due to the different types of fiber investigated.
More viscous fibers, such as pectins, beta-glucans, and guar gum, appear to be more filling than less viscous fibers.
Furthermore, high-fiber diets have been related to minimal unfavorable impacts. Many other nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds, are often found in fiber-rich diets.
As a result, choosing a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds can help to support long-term health.
VERDICT: A fiber-rich diet can help you eat fewer calories by reducing hunger. It can also help you stay healthy in the long run.
3. Prefer Solids Over Liquids
Appetite is affected differentially by solid and liquid calories.
According to a recent study, persons who ate a liquid snack were 38 percent less likely to compensate by eating less at the next meal than those who ate a solid snack.
Participants in a second trial who were given a semi-solid snack reported less hunger, a lower urge to eat, and a higher sense of fullness than those who were given a liquid snack.
Solids necessitate more chewing, allowing the fullness signal to reach the brain for longer.
Scientists believe that the extended chewing time permits solids to stay in contact with taste buds for longer, promoting feelings of fullness.
VERDICT: You can eat fewer calories without feeling hungry if you eat them rather than drink them.
4. Take a Coffee Break
Coffee offers numerous health and athletic benefits, and it may also help you lose weight.
Coffee has been shown to stimulate the release of the peptide YY (PYY). This hormone induces a sensation of fullness by being released in the gut in response to eating.
PYY levels, according to scientists, play a crucial part in deciding how much you’re likely to consume.
Decaffeinated coffee, interestingly, may provide the greatest reduction in hunger, with benefits lasting up to three hours after ingestion.
However, further research is needed to determine exactly how this works.
VERDICT: Coffee, especially decaf, can make you feel full for up to three hours.
5. Get Some Water
Drinking water before meals can help you feel less hungry.
It may also promote weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness after a meal.
According to studies, those who drink two glasses of water right before a meal eat 22% less than those who don’t.
According to scientists, around 17 oz (500 ml) of water is enough to stretch the stomach sufficiently to transmit fullness signals to the brain.
Water, on the other hand, is recognized for quickly emptying the stomach. For this tip to work, it may be best to drink the water as close to the meal as possible.
Surprisingly, starting your meal with soup may have a similar effect.
Researchers discovered that having a cup of soup right before a meal reduced appetite and decreased overall calorie intake by roughly 100 calories.
VERDICT: Before a meal, drink low-calorie liquids to help you eat fewer calories without feeling hungry.
6. Eat Consciously
Your brain can tell if you’re hungry or full under typical circumstances.
However, if you eat rapidly or while distracted, your brain may have a harder time recognizing these signals.
Eliminate distractions and focus on the meals in front of you to solve this problem, which is a crucial part of mindful eating.
According to research, exercising mindfulness during meals can help people enjoy their food more. This can help you focus on quality rather than quantity, and it can also help you avoid binge eating.
There appears to be a connection between hunger, fullness, and what you perceive with your eyes.
Participants in one experiment were given two identical milkshakes. The one was labeled as a “620-calorie indulgence,” while the other was labeled as a “120-calorie reasonable.”
Despite the fact that both groups consumed the same number of calories, hunger hormone levels were lower in individuals who believed they had had the “indulgent” beverage.
Believing that a drink has more calories can also engage the parts of the brain that control feeling full.
What you see may have an impact on how full you feel, so paying attention to what you eat can be really useful.
VERDICT: It has been proven that eating consciously reduces hunger and increases feelings of fullness. It can also help avoid binge eating by lowering calorie intake.
7. Indulge in Dark Chocolates
Dark chocolate’s bitterness is supposed to aid in the reduction of hunger and sweet cravings.
Researchers also believe that the stearic acid in dark chocolate can aid digestion, resulting in increased sensations of satiety.
Surprisingly, simply smelling this tasty delicacy may have the same impact.
According to one study, merely smelling 85 percent dark chocolate reduced appetite and hunger hormones just as effectively as eating it.
However, more research on the effects of dark chocolate on feelings of fullness is required.
VERDICT: Dark chocolate, whether eaten or merely scented, can help suppress hunger and sweet cravings.
8. Consume Some Ginger
Many health advantages have been associated with ginger. Nausea, muscle soreness, inflammation, and blood sugar levels are all reduced.
Recent research has added a new advantage to the list: hunger-reduction.
In one study, participants who ate 2 grams of ginger powder diluted in hot water for breakfast felt less hungry thereafter.
However, because this was a tiny trial, further human research is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn.
VERDICT; Ginger may aid in the reduction of hunger pangs, but additional research is needed to establish this.
9. Add A Little Zing to Your Meals
Ginger isn’t the only spice that can help you eat less.
Capsaicin, found in hot peppers, and capsiate, found in sweet peppers, were studied in a recent study.
These chemicals were discovered to help reduce hunger and promote feelings of fullness.
Furthermore, these chemicals’ propensity to generate heat may boost the number of calories expended after a meal.
These effects, however, have not been detected in all investigations and are still minor. Furthermore, persons who consume certain meals on a regular basis may acquire a resistance to the effects.
VERDICT: Hot and sweet pepper compounds may help to reduce hunger and improve fullness, but further research is needed.
10. Use Smaller Plates to Eat
Reducing the size of your dinnerware can help you reduce your meal amounts without you realizing it. This is likely to assist you in eating fewer calories without feeling deprived.
Surprisingly, even the most observant eater can be fooled by this effect.
For example, when given larger bowls of ice cream, even nutrition experts instinctively served themselves 31 percent more ice cream, according to research.
According to studies, when you have more food on your plate, you are more likely to eat more without even realizing it.
VERDICT: Eating from smaller plates can help you eat less unknowingly without boosting your hunger.
11. Make Use of a Larger Fork
The size of your dining utensils may have a significant impact on the amount of food you require to feel satisfied.
Participants who ate with a larger fork ate 10% less than those who ate with a smaller fork, according to one study.
Small forks, according to the study, may give people the impression that they aren’t making much headway in satisfying their hunger, prompting them to eat more.
It’s worth noting that this effect does not appear to apply to all utensil sizes. Larger serving spoons have been shown to increase the amount of food consumed at a meal by up to 14.5 percent.
VERDICT: Using larger forks can help cut down on the amount of food consumed before feeling satisfied.
Exercise is thought to diminish the incentive to eat by reducing the activation of brain areas connected to food cravings.
It can also increase feelings of fullness while decreasing hunger hormone levels.
According to research, both aerobic and resistance training have the same effect on hormone levels and the amount of a meal consumed after exercise.
VERDICT: Both aerobic and resistance exercise can assist to boost satiety hormones, resulting in less hunger and calorie consumption.
13. Get Rid of Body Fat Around Your Midsection
The hormone neuropeptide Y (NPY) regulates hunger and energy balance.
Higher levels of NPY are thought to enhance hunger and even modify the percentage of calories stored as fat.
Researchers have discovered that body fat, particularly the sort located surrounding your organs, can boost NPY production.
VERDICT: As a result, decreasing weight around your midsection may help you eat less and feel less hungry.
14. Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting enough rest might also help you lose weight by reducing hunger and preventing weight gain.
According to studies, not getting enough sleep can increase hunger and appetite by up to 24% and reduce levels of some satiety hormones by up to 26%.
Individuals who sleep less than seven hours a night report feeling 26 percent less full after breakfast, according to research.
It’s also worth mentioning that short sleep, defined as fewer than six hours a night, has been linked to a 55 percent increased risk of obesity in several studies.
VERDICT: Getting at least seven hours of sleep each night is likely to help you feel less hungry during the day.
15. Relax and Unwind
Cortisol levels are known to rise when people are under a lot of stress.
High cortisol is known to boost food cravings and the desire to eat, though the effects differ from person to person.
Peptide YY (PYY), a fullness hormone, may be reduced by stress.
When compared to a non-stressful version of the identical test, participants ate an average of 22% more calories after a stressful test in a recent study.
Finding techniques to minimize stress may not only help you lose weight, but it may also help you avoid obesity and depression.
VERDICT: Reduced stress levels may aid in the reduction of cravings, the enhancement of fullness, and even the prevention of depression and obesity.
16. Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fats, particularly those found in fish and algae oils, have the ability to raise levels of the hormone leptin, which helps you feel full.
When calories are restricted for weight loss, a diet high in omega-3 fats may help promote satisfaction after meals.
These impacts have only been seen in overweight and obese people so far. More research is needed to establish if the same holds true for lean individuals.
VERDICT: Overweight and obese persons may benefit from omega-3 fats since they may help them feel less hungry. However, additional research into lean people is required.
17. Make Protein-Rich Snacks A Consideration
Snacking is something that is entirely up to the individual.
If it’s part of your daily routine, high-protein snacks may be preferable to high-fat snacks.
High-protein snacks can help you feel fuller for longer and eat fewer calories at the next meal.
A high-protein yogurt, for example, suppresses hunger better than high-fat crackers or a high-fat chocolate snack.
When compared to the other two options, high-protein yogurt eaten in the afternoon may help you eat around 100 fewer calories at dinner.
VERDICT: A protein-rich snack will likely satisfy your hunger and help you avoid overeating at your next meal.
18. Visualize Yourself Eating Your Favorite Foods
According to some studies, seeing yourself eating the foods you want to eat can actually make you want to eat them less.
Before being given access to a bowl of M&Ms, 51 individuals were asked to envision eating either three or 33 M&Ms. On average, those who envisioned eating more M&Ms ate 60% less of the candy.
When the researchers performed the experiment with cheese instead of M&Ms, they discovered the same result.
The visualization exercise appears to fool your mind into thinking you’ve already eaten the desired foods, resulting in a considerable reduction in your desire for them.
VERDICT: Visualizing yourself eating the foods you want to consume can help you feel less compelled to eat them.
The Bottom Line
Hunger is a crucial and natural indicator that should not be overlooked.
The following suggestions are just a few easy techniques to curb your appetite and hunger in between meals.
If you’ve done all of these items and still feel ravenous, speak with a healthcare expert about your alternatives.