Hunger

Easy Steps on How to Curb Hunger

Hunger is a fact of life. This trait evolved to ensure that we live for as long as possible. However, in modern times, it can be an inconvenience as well as a primal survival mechanism. For this reason, we will uncover the ways how to curb hunger.

There are different reasons why we may want to curb hunger: health, losing weight, that uncomfortable feeling after overeating or ‘stomach growls’ during an important meeting. Whatever the reason, there are simple ways to prevent this from happening.

In this article, we have put together the best solutions for curbing hunger. Most are easy lifestyle adjustments and involve little to no cost.

How Does Hunger Work?

In general, there are two types of hunger: physiological and mental.

Physiological Hunger

Physiological hunger begins when the body’s sugar levels drop. When this happens, the hormone ghrelin stimulates the hypothalamus located in the brain. As a consequence, neuropeptides are released creating that hungry feeling.

This physiological hunger is a response to an actual requirement for food. This in itself is not an issue. However, when overeating and snacking occurs, there is more happening in the brain than simple hunger pangs.

Mental Hunger

We enjoy a meal because it leaves us feeling satisfied. But there is more to it than having enough fuel to power you through to your next meal. Eating food can provide us with a kick and a very powerful one at that.

Foods high in fat and sugar act to release opioids into the body. This creates feelings of happiness, well-being and even euphoria. Studies have discovered that an excessive attachment to these feelings operates similarly to drug cravings in addicts. This can include the awful feeling of withdrawal.

When we fulfill these hunger pangs, the body provides us with a ‘reward.’ Dopamine is released - the hormone responsible for sexual pleasure. Not only does the food please us, but we receive further enjoyment after the food is consumed.

When looking at how to curb hunger, both of these processes need to be addressed.

How to Curb Hunger

Depending on your lifestyle, and the challenges you face staving off cravings, at least one of these tips will help you feel less hungry.

Eat Something

It may sound obvious, but eating can sometimes be the best solution. The secret is to eat foods that leave you feeling satisfied, meaning that you are less likely to overindulge or snack between meals.

Here are the best foods how to curb hunger:

  • Fiber-based - foods that are high in fiber such as beans, peas or lentils are not only good for digestion but have been shown in studies to reduce hunger and lead to lower body weight
  • Spicy foods - not just for adding flavor to meals, spices such as cayenne and chili have proven in trials to reduce appetite. Furthermore, if you are looking to lose weight, they have fat burning properties
  • Dark chocolate - recent studies have shown that dark chocolate works as an appetite suppressant. It is so powerful that even smelling this treatment reduces the desire for food by inhibiting ghrelin
  • Protein foods - seafood, eggs, and meat are all high in protein and promote a feeling of fullness. Also, if you are exercising regularly, protein is an excellent way to build firm and toned muscle

Become Mindful of Eating

Mindfulness, as an approach to improving overall well-being, has become increasingly popular during the past decade. With its origins in Zen Buddhism, this technique includes the process of eating.

Mindfulness involves concentrating solely on your present actions. For example, if someone is talking to you, at the same time, you should not be thinking about how to solve that difficult problem at work tomorrow.

Too often when we eat, the process accompanies another action. We eat while reading a book, watching the television or using social media. Instead, mindful eating involves doing nothing but consuming the food, concentrating on its flavors and enjoying every mouthful.

Studies have shown that eating food mindfully increases pleasure, reduces appetite and can help how to curb hunger.

Drink More Water

how to curb hunger: man wearing black shirt drinking water

Staying hydrated has numerous health benefits. In addition to an increase in energy, drinking a sufficient amount of water can leave you feeling more alert while improving your skin and suppressing the appetite.

However, this does come with a word of caution. Drinking constantly can have the opposite effect. Water in the stomach can increase the rate of digestion, which may lead to you feeling hungry again.

The best time to drink water is directly before your meal. Recent trials indicated that people who consumed 17 oz. of water (two cups) before a meal ate nearly 25 percent less than those who did not drink.

Use an Appetite Suppressant Supplement

This does involve some cost, but for many people, it works as an invaluable way how to curb hunger - especially when trying to lose weight.

Appetite suppressants are available without the prescription and come with little to no side effects. These supplements are usually sold in pill form and contain natural ingredients that are scientifically proven to inhibit hunger. Usually, they are taken twice a day - once in the morning and again around lunchtime.

When looking for an effective appetite suppressant, seek out those which contain glucomannan, garcinia cambogia and raspberry ketones - all proven and powerful suppressants.

Also, if you are looking for weight loss, many of these supplements include fat- burning and energy-boosting ingredients.

Exercise

If you are still looking for ways how to curb hunger, why not try to exercise? Aerobic exercise improves health and can reduce food cravings. It has been shown that intense workouts inhibit the hormone ghrelin, which sends the signal to the brain that the body requires food.

For weight loss, this can have positive effects. It was once thought that high energy expenditure led the body to crave food to replace lost calories. Therefore, it provided no benefit if this desire was fulfilled. However, new studies illustrate that exercise can create an energy imbalance; that is, you are using more calories than you consume.

Kitchenware

how to curb hunger: round-white-ceramic-plate-and-silver-colored-fork and knife on brown surface

Selecting what plates and cutlery to use for meal times has been shown to reduce food intake and increase the feeling of satiety.

The process is 100 percent psychological, but then again, so are the cravings mentioned earlier in this article.

The steps to take are as follows:

Use Small Plates

This has two effects. First, seeing food on a small plate fools the brain into thinking it is eating more food volume. Second, the larger the plate, the more likely you are to put more food on it.

Possibly originating from childhood, when we were taught to finish our meals before play was allowed - a large full plate may be finished despite already being satisfied.

Use Contrasting Colors

Some studies have shown that people consume less and feel more satisfied when the color of the plate contrasts with that of the food. For example, eating pasta from a dark blue or black plate is more satisfying than eating from a white plate. It could be that the contrast provides the illusion there is more food.

Use a Large Fork

Another good way how to curb hunger is utilizing a large fork. It is believed that when using a small fork, people feel they are not getting a sufficient amount of food.

Research has shown that people with larger forks eat on average 10 percent less than those with smaller utensils.

Avoid Stress

It is easy to say ‘don’t be stressed’ but consciously trying to control this state of mind can reduce hunger.

When we are stressed, the body releases cortisol - the ‘fight-or-flight hormone.’ If we are in a life-threatening situation, this can prove very useful. However, if we are stressed by other factors, such as work, running or fighting, it can be counterproductive.

Studies have shown that cortisol stimulates hunger and a desire to ‘binge eat.’ Therefore, avoiding or alleviating stress can curb this cortisol-related craving. Consider meditation, exercise and spending more time with friends and family.

Drink Tea and Coffee

As already mentioned in this ‘How to Curb Hunger’ article, an increase in water intake can, in some circumstances, reduce appetite. However, tea and coffee contain an additional bonus that can inhibit hunger.

Both of these drinks contain caffeine. This stimulant has proven appetite-suppressing abilities. But, as with all things in life, do not overdo it. If you become addicted to caffeine, the crashes can lead to stress or depression, both of which stimulate hunger.

Prioritize Quality Sleep

Sleep has a remarkable effect on appetite hormone levels. With too little sleep, ghrelin (the hunger hormone) increases while leptin (the satisfied hormone) decreases.

This means that when you wake the next day, your body demands food. Studies on men in their early 20s, who had their sleeping time reduced, showed an increase in hunger of over 20 percent.

So, avoid daytime napping, do some exercise, eat healthily and ensure your body has enough calcium and magnesium to promote sound slumber.

Conclusion

Hunger is important. It is our body’s way of telling us we need more energy to function adequately.

The problem arises when we are not hungry because we require it, but our pleasure-loving brains are demanding an opioid or dopamine hit. The above steps are an excellent way how to curb hunger.

Hunger, appetite & satiety

History, culture and even medical science have reflected from time to time that “we are what we eat”. Our eating behaviour, pattern and choices represent a complex interplay between hunger, appetite and satiety. Understanding the factors that affect eating behaviour is important for understanding what we eat and why. Following article will help you understand the basics of these commons terms that are directly related to your health, weight and food.

 

What is hunger?

By definition, hunger is the physiological “need” for food. Numerous physiological cues tell us we are hungry, such as an empty or growling stomach, a decrease in blood glucose levels, and alterations in circulating hormones (e.g., increased glucagon and ghrelin and decreased insulin).

 

What is appetite?

By definition, appetite is the psychological desire to eat, and is associated with sensory experiences or aspects of food such as the sight and smell of food, emotional cues, social situations, and cultural conventions.

 

What is the difference between hunger and appetite?

Hunger acts as the more basic drive, while appetite is more of a reflection of eating experiences. At times we are not hungry but have an appetite (such as seeing a tempting desert after eating full meal) or may be hungry but have not appetite (such as when we are sick).

Nevertheless, both hunger and appetite determine what, when, and why we eat.

 

What is satiety?

By definition, satiety is the physiological and psychological experience of “fullness” that comes after eating and/or drinking. You can call it as the other side of hunger and appetite is satiety, In simple words, it can also be called as a “feeling of fullness”.

A number of factors influence the experience of satiety including gastric distention, elevations in blood glucose and alterations in circulating hormones (e.g., increased insulin and cholecystokinin, and decreased glucagon).
Generally speaking, feeling full is a function of the amount of food one eats; that is, it typically takes a whole sandwich, not just a bite, to promote satiety. However, sometimes it’s not just the amount of foods eaten, but the characteristics inherent in foods that lead to fullness. The water, fiber and macronutrient content of the foods we eat can all influence satiety.

 

Satiety index

To find out which foods promote fullness, researchers have developed a satiety rating scale that they call as the “satiety index” (SI).
Foods ranking highest on this SI tended to be high in water or fiber content as well as lower in fat content. Fruits and vegetables are at the top of the SI list of foods. In fact, the highest SI score has been produced by potatoes, which is more than three times the SI of white bread. Other foods ranking high in satiety after potatoes are fish, oat porridge, oranges, apples, wheat pasta, steak and baked beans.

 

Satiety & weight control

Choosing foods based on SI may help with weight management. However, as you will not find SI rankings on food packages, so here are a few rules of thumb and helpful tips for choosing foods that will help fill your body up without filling it out:
• Prepare healthy dishes that have high water content, like soups, stews and pasta dishes (using tomato vs. cream‐based sauces)
• Fill up on fruits, vegetables, low‐fat or nonfat dairy products and whole grains
• Seek out unprocessed foods, which tend to have a low energy density or few calories per weight
• Get more fiber by eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans
• Choose lean protein sources like fish, poultry, lean meats and beans
• Monitor which foods make you feel particularly satiated
• Slow down when you eat to allow your stomach time to give a proper “gut check” report to the brain so it can register that you are full.

Finally, you must also use an organic and safe appetite suppressant that actually gives you feeling of fullness, controlling your satiety, appetite and hunger simultaneously. As a result you tend to eat less and yet have a feeling of fullness in your stomach. On the other hand, such appetite suppressant not diminish your natural appetite and hunger. Rather, it “optimizes” them both and, hence, preventing you from any calorie deficiencies or malnutrition. Above all, it should be a time-tested supplement that has been successfully used by thousands of appetite-conscious people and weight loss enthusiasts.

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