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Foods That Can Suppress Appetite And Help With Weight Loss

Foods That Can Suppress Appetite And Help With Weight Loss

Committing to exercise is only one facet of living a healthy lifestyle. Some of our biggest health challenges center around our food choices- especially when we’re feeling hungry.

When we’re trying to make positive dietary changes in our diet, it’s tough to resist the temptation of snack food. The hungrier we become, the more likely we are to eat whatever is available. One minute, you’re eating a snack to relieve your hunger pangs, and the next, you’re mindlessly chowing down on an entire bag of chips.

I remember one night early in my wellness journey when I had to work so hard to suppress my appetite. It was around 2 AM, and I woke up feeling so hungry that I couldn’t go back to sleep. The likely culprit for this intense hunger was the unfulfilling dinner I had eaten the night before. I ended up reaching for snack foods and eating way more than I should have to quell my hunger.

Its not how much you eat, but what you eat that makes a difference

My efforts to clean up my diet and get fit initially centered around eating less, but I kept having repeats of that 2 AM snack attack scenario. After some trial and error, I discovered that caloric restriction and portion control is not a sustainable means of curbing hunger. It wasn’t how much I ate, but what I ate that helped me rein in my insatiable appetite.

Calories are just units of energy, but they don’t tell us anything about the nutritional value of the food we eat.[1] You can eat 500 calories of fries or 500 calories of apple slices, but the outcome of each choice is different. If you opted for the fries, there’s a good chance you’d be reaching for another snack sooner than if you had gone for the apple slices.

5 Common Snack Choices That Will Leave You Hungrier In The Long Run

I discovered that many of the things that I was eating wouldn’t relieve my hunger long-term. An hour after a snack, you’d find me prowling around in my kitchen to find something else to eat. Here are some of the ways that I tried and failed to satisfy my hunger.

1. Artificial Sweeteners

    When I decided that I wanted to lose weight, I immediately started consuming products made with artificial sweeteners. I put Sweet n’ Low in my coffee, and I drank diet soda. It seemed like a great way to cut corners and still enjoy the things I loved.

    This flawed thinking has destroyed many health plans. When you consume artificial sweeteners, your taste buds may be satisfied, but your brain is not. Artificial sweeteners leave the body craving actual sugar even more intensely than if you’d just had a regular soda.[2] You’ll wind up reaching for snacks more throughout the day to make up for the sugar you didn’t have.

    2. Juices

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      This one is tricky. Most of us feel like juice is a healthy alternative to drinking soda. It is made from fruit after all. How bad can it be?

      When you squeeze all the juice out of a piece of fruit, you’re taking the sugar, and leaving the fiber behind. You’ll experience a spike in blood sugar, and you’ll flood your bloodstream with insulin in an attempt to process all that sugar.[3] As your body works to regain equilibrium, your blood sugar will plummet, which will leave you feeling tired and hungry.

      3. Fast Food

        The drive-thru can be tempting even though you know almost nothing good can come from eating fast food. Fast food is loaded with salt, trans fats, and artificial ingredients.

        You may satisfy your immediate need to eat at the drive-thru window, but you’ll end up feeling sluggish later. The high sodium in these foods leaves you bloated, trans fats make it hard for your body to understand when it’s full, and ingredients that you can’t pronounce can have long-term negative consequences on your health.[4]

        4. White Bread

          Sometimes it just doesn’t feel like I’ve eaten until I’ve had a piece of bread or a dinner roll. I didn’t realize that my predisposition to eat white bread would leave me feeling hungrier later.

          Carbohydrates are only half the problem with white bread. Your body treats white bread like a massive influx of sugar. Reach for whole-grain breads, which are loaded with fiber, have a lower glycemic index, and they typically have fewer carbs and calories than white bread.[5]

          5. Salty Snacks like Chips and Pretzels

            Known for their saltiness and satisfying crunch, it can be hard to say no to a pretzel or twenty. Pretzels and chips may not seem that bad for you, but if you mindlessly munch on them, you’ll be raiding the break room for doughnuts in no time.

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            Many salty snacks are full of carbohydrates and processed sugar. They can affect your body in much the same way that white bread does. When you eat that bag of pretzels, your blood sugar spikes, which triggers the release of insulin, which causes your blood sugar to drop.

            The added salt can leave you feeling thirsty, which you might interpret as hunger. Instead of having a glass of water that you need, you set out looking for something else to eat.

            Eat The Right Snacks That Squash Hunger

            After I realized I was reaching for the wrong types of foods, I knew I had to change my eating habits. I educated myself about which snacks would leave me feeling fuller for longer so that I wouldn’t feel hungry all the time. This made it possible for me to end my mindless snacking habits and focus on creating a healthier lifestyle.

            Some of the best snacks for satisfying hunger are full of lean protein. Lean protein leaves you feeling full without consuming lots of extra calories and processed sugar. [6]

            High-fiber foods take longer for your body to break down, which means that your blood sugar will increase gradually and remain stable for longer. [7]. Water-rich foods can also help you feel full while consuming fewer calories, and they’ll keep you hydrated.

            10 Foods To Keep You Feeling Fuller For Longer

            Here are my top-ten go-to snacks for staving off hunger without sacrificing your health goals.

            1. Popcorn

            popcorn

              Not all popcorn is created equally. If you head to the movie theater and down a bucket of salty buttered popcorn, you are not doing yourself any favors.[8] Homemade popcorn seasoned with herbs or nutritional yeast can give you the satisfying crunch without all the calories.

              Popcorn’s high fiber content makes it a filling alternative to empty calories that you might get from a bag of chips.

              2. Dark Chocolate

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                Nothing brought me more joy than realizing I could eat chocolate without sabotaging my health. The key with this snack is to look for quality. Going to the gas station and picking up your favorite candy bar isn’t going to set you up for success. That kind of chocolate is full of sugar, fat, and unpronounceable ingredients that do nothing but add to your waistline.

                Dark chocolate that contains a high percentage of cacao will taste more bitter than milk chocolate, but it has many health benefits. The bitterness of dark chocolate slows down your digestion, which translates into feeling fuller for longer. It also curbs the production of a hormone that stimulates hunger.[9]

                3. Greek Yogurt

                  Yogurt has always been considered a healthy snack, but some yogurt is laden with sugar. Low fat and fat free options aren’t so great either. Some of the nutrients in yogurt are fat soluble, meaning that your body needs to consume fat to benefit from the nutrients.

                  Greek yogurt is a solid snack choice for suppressing your appetite because it has half the sugar and twice as much protein as regular yogurt.[10] It’s also an excellent source of calcium, and the probiotics in Greek yogurt are great for your digestion.

                  4. Almonds

                    High-protein, high-fiber, and an excellent texture make almonds a go-to snack for a busy day. [11] Limit your consumption to a single serving to reap the most benefit.

                    5. Water-rich Fruits and Veggies

                      This works similarly to drinking a glass of water before you indulge in food. Water-rich foods such as cucumbers, carrots, and watermelon can satisfy your need for a snack with some texture, and they’ll help you hydrate. These foods are rich in fiber and nutrients that you need to feel your best.

                      6. Avocado

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                        This is my go-to hunger busting snack. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat (good fat) and fiber.[12] Spread some avocado over a piece of whole grain toast or scoop it out of the rind for a quick and satisfying snack.

                        7. Hummus

                          Hummus is made of chickpeas, which makes it an excellent source of protein and fiber. When you pair hummus with water-rich veggies like carrots, cucumbers, celery, or snap peas, you have a winning combination that will leave you hydrated and satiated.[13]

                          8. Beans and Legumes

                            Beans are the unsung heroes of the food world. They are relatively inexpensive, versatile, and satisfying. They are low-calorie, high-fiber, protein-rich powerhouses that we almost certainly could stand to eat more often if we want to lose weight.[14] Chickpeas, peas, peanuts, and lentils all fall into this snack category.

                            Having some celery with one serving of peanut butter, a handful of roasted chickpeas, or a small bowl of homemade lentil soup can keep you from emptying the cookie jar later.

                            9. Eggs

                            how to tell if an egg is good

                              Despite the bad press that eggs have faced over the years, nothing stomps out hunger like an egg. Eggs contain protein, which leaves you feeling fuller for longer. A recent study demonstrated that people who ate two eggs for breakfast ate less at a lunch buffet than the experimental group that ate a bowl of cereal with the same number of calories.[15]

                              10. Water

                                If you’re feeling the urge to snack, you might be thirsty. Your body will look and feel better when it’s fully hydrated, and you’ll consume fewer calories if you drink a glass of water before reaching for a snack.[16]

                                Healthy snacks don’t have to be boring

                                Mindless eating can wreck your diet plans. Listen to your body, and find snacks that suppress your appetite and pack a nutritional punch. These snacks stick to your ribs, which will help you stick to your plan.

                                Reference

                                More by this author

                                Angelina Phebus

                                Writer, Yoga Instructor (RYT 200)

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                                Last Updated on March 25, 2020

                                How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

                                How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

                                When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

                                So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

                                1. Exercise

                                It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

                                2. Drink in Moderation

                                I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

                                3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

                                Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

                                4. Watch Less Television

                                A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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                                Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

                                5. Eat Less Red Meat

                                Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

                                If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

                                6. Don’t Smoke

                                This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

                                7. Socialize

                                Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

                                8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

                                Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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                                9. Be Optimistic

                                Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

                                10. Own a Pet

                                Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

                                11. Drink Coffee

                                Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

                                12. Eat Less

                                Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

                                13. Meditate

                                Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

                                Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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                                How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

                                14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

                                Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

                                15. Laugh Often

                                Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

                                16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

                                Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

                                17. Cook Your Own Food

                                When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

                                Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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                                18. Eat Mushrooms

                                Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

                                19. Floss

                                Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

                                20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

                                Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

                                Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

                                21. Have Sex

                                Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

                                More Health Tips

                                Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

                                Reference

                                [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
                                [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
                                [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
                                [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
                                [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
                                [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
                                [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
                                [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
                                [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
                                [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
                                [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
                                [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
                                [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
                                [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
                                [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
                                [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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