The feeling of hunger is a survival mechanism. Appetite is the desire to eat food mainly due to hunger. Appetite exists in all higher life forms, and serves to regulate adequate energy intake to maintain metabolic needs. Early man used hunger as a signal that it was time to hunt or forage for food in order to gain energy and survive another day. Our body needs proper intake of food to stay fit. However, nothing in excess is good, even food. Now you must be thinking what to do if you get hungry on a frequent basis. Right? Come let me discuss with you 27 most effective and natural techniques that will help you curb appetite naturally and live a healthy and happy life.
Constant hunger pangs can be irritating. More so, if you are overweight and working hard to lose weight, or when you are on a diet. At such circumstance, many people (especially teenagers who are obsessed with body weight and looks) tend to skip meals or starve even though they are hungry. This practice is unhealthy and may cause health issues. Starvation might reduce your body weight but it would reduce it in a wrong manner.
Do you know starving has so many negative impacts on human body? It may lead to following health issues
- Decreased resting metabolic rate
- Loss of monthly menstrual period
- High blood pressure
- Electrolyte imbalance
Excessive starvation may also make you anorexic to the extent that it can even risk your life. You must have heard model deaths due to this reason. I think life is precious. There is no need to play with it.
Anyways, my intention is never to dishearten you. I just want to make you aware. You can definitely achieve a fit, healthy and toned body but by opting for some better healthy practices. You need to lead a disciplined life, do regular exercise and have proper intake of foods that will not make you feel hungry frequently as well as keep your stomach full for longer.
However, in order to curb appetite naturally, you need to know the causes of frequent hunger, and what we are discussing in the next part of this post.
Hidden causes of frequent hunger
A RD, Los Angeles-based nutritionist and owner of Everyday Healthy Eating named Maggie Moon says “Hunger is the physiological need for calories, water, and salt, and it’s driven by a mix of factors, including your diet, appetite hormones, and emotional factors, such as stress,”.
- Dehydration– Alissa Rumsey, RD, spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says, “Mild dehydration is often masked as feelings of hunger, when really your body just needs fluids.
- Poor sleep– Alissa Rumsey also says, “Too little sleep can lead to surging levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite, as well as decreased levels of leptin, a hormone that causes feelings of fullness,”.
- Loading up on starchy carbs– Maggie Moon says, “Simple carbs, the kind found in sugary, white flour foods like pastries, crackers, and cookies, spike your blood sugar levels quickly, then leave them plunging soon after,”. That blood sugar plunge causes intense hunger for more sugary carbs, and the cycle continues.
- Stress– Stress has a sneakier way of making you voracious. When you are tense, your system ramps up production of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, says Rumsey. Elevated levels of these hormones trick your system into thinking it is under attack and needs energy, so your appetite starts raging. Stress also reduces levels of the brain chemical serotonin, and that can make you feel hungry when you aren’t, says Moon.
- Alcohol– Drinking too much of alcohol makes your body dehydrated and it tricks your brain into thinking that your body needs food when it actually needs water. A study published in the journal “Appetite” backs this up.
- Skip meals– When you skip a meal and your stomach is empty for too long, it produces an uptick in the hunger hormone ghrelin, which ramps your appetite.
- Bombarded by food porn– If you are bombarded with food images all the time, you get hungrier. The connection between what we see and what we desire has been documented by science: a 2012 study from the journal “Obesity” found that just looking at food cranked up levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
- Eating too fast– When you eat your food too much fast your brain fails to understand that your body has taken adequate food. A study published in 2013 in the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism” shows that your must eat in moderate pace which releases hormones which direct the brain not to eat more.
- Medicines– Some of the medicines you take might lead to increased appetite. Antidepressants such as Zoloft and Paxil, as well as corticosteroids such as prednisone (prescribed to treat potentially dangerous flare-ups of the immune system due to allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, and some cancers), are known to affect appetite.
27 Simple tricks to curb appetite naturally
A fluctuating diet can negatively affect your health as well as mood. Please avoid appetite suppressants, which can have adverse effects. Luckily, there are 100% natural ways to tame the most brutal of appetites. Listed below are the most effective tricks to curb appetite naturally and easily.
- Drink more water– Studies show that people many a time confuse hunger with dehydration, which leads to munching of more snacks. You must drink plenty of water instead of having more amount of food. This will keep your body hydrated as well reduce hunger pangs without adding calories. However, try to avoid water flavored with artificial sweeteners as these can stimulate appetite.
- Coffee-A moderate amount of coffee can help boost metabolism and suppress your appetite. Caffeine, along with antioxidants from the coffee beans is the secret behind it. Just do not cancel out those good effects with too much sugar or cream. So if you want to curb your appetite naturally, then may be start drinking moderate amount of coffee.
- Green Tea– If you are not a coffee drinker, you can opt for green tea, because drinking green tea can also help you curb your appetite. Green tea can help you to stop mindless munching on unhealthy foods. Besides, nutritionists say that the catechins in green tea help to inhibit the movement of glucose into fat cells, which slows the rise of blood sugar and prevents high insulin and subsequent fat storage. Therefore, when your blood sugar is more stable so is your hunger.
- Skim milk– Skim milk is the perfect solution if PMS cravings have your hunger all out of whack during that time of the month. Studies show that women who have at least one serving of dairy a day about two weeks before menstruation significantly decrease their cravings for unhealthy junk foods and processed carbs.
- Ginger– Ginger is very good for its amazing digestive powers. It works as a stimulant that energizes the body and improves digestion, thereby making you less hungry.
- Cayenne Pepper– People who love spicy food, it is a good news for you. According to recent research published in the journal “Physiology & Behavior”, just half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper can boost metabolism. It also helps your body to burn an extra 10 calories on its own. Not to mention that for those who don’t regularly eat spicy meals, adding cayenne pepper cuts an average of 60 calories from their next meal. Can you imagine you will lose 4 pounds without even trying if you do that at two meals a day for a month?
- Hot Sauce-The spiciness of the hot sauce keeps you from overeating and helps you to stay full longer. Go have some boiled eggs, soup or burrito by sprinkling some hot sauce on it. Sounds yummy. Right?
- Apples– All varieties of apples have the ability to suppress hunger for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are filled with soluble fiber and pectin, which help you feel full. They also regulate the glucose content in your body and boost your energy level. Finally, apples require lots of chewing time, which helps slow you down and gives your body more time to realize that you are no longer hungry. Eating apple can seriously help you curb your appetite naturally and easily.
- Potatoes– Food scientists tell that the potato contains a special type of starch that resists digestive enzymes. This makes them stay in stomach for a longer time hence giving you a full feeling.
- Eat more Proteins– Intake of a protein-rich diet can actually keep your stomach full and curb your appetite. According to a study by Rachel Batterham and colleagues published in Cell Metabolism, dietary protein enhances satiety and promotes weight loss. Hunger suppressing and appetite regulating hormones are released by proper intake of proteins. It also sustains our energy. Therefore, include fish, eggs, poultry (without the skin), pork (without the fat), beans etc in your diet chart.
- Avoid sugar and sweeteners– I have already gave you this hint while explaining the causes of frequent hunger. Besides Maggie Moon, research from the University of California also supports this view that when you consume sugar or foods high in sugar like sweets, cookies, corn flakes or white bread, our sugar level spike and then drop almost instantly. Hence eating sugar can result into over eating.
- Umeboshi Plums– After reading the above point all you sweet lovers must be thinking how to control your sugar craving. Well, here is the perfect solution to your problem. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to shock it with something sour. Umeboshi plums are pickled plums and can be fantastic for squashing sugar cravings.
- Oatmeals– The type of carb in oat meals are slow digesting and make you feel full for a longer period of time. They also suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin.
- Sushi– Ever noticed how when you eat sushi it does not seem to take as much food to fill you up? Well, part of that is because of the healthy fish in sushi, but the other part is due to that spicy green stuff: wasabi! The spiciness in wasabi suppresses appetite and is a natural anti-inflammatory.
- Pickles– Pickles may be sizable, but an entire jar contains less than 100 calories in total, leaving you feeling satisfied without having overdone. However, opt for organic natural pickles only, to avoid additional sugars and artificial food coloring.
- Eat more fibres– Taking more amount of fibre can boost fullness as well as suppress appetite. Fibres also lower the levels of appetite stimulating hormone insulin. Moreover, you generally take longer time to eat fibre – rich foods; your brain gets time to register when you are no more hunger. In additions, fibres take longer time to leave the stomach therefore adding to the feeling of satiety. Eat a lot of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds etc.
- Eat more fats– Besides taking proteins, includes fats in your diet as well. They also give the feeling of satiety according to Alissa Rumsey. Good fats contain oleic acids, which helps the digestive system to suppress appetite. Add this heart-healthy, brain-boosting kind of fat to your meals in the form of oils, nuts and seeds, and avocados.
- Vegetable Soup– I have already told you to eat vegetables. How about making your diet A hot, broth-based vegetable soup can fill you up in a hurry and take the edge off your hunger with minimal calorie.
- Vegetable Juice– Another way of having more vegetables is vegetable juice. Drinking vegetable juice before meal actually makes you eat 135 fewer calories. Besides it fills you up.
- Salads– Eat a small salad before sitting down for meal and see the result. Just a cup or two of veggies is all it takes to signal to your brain that you are getting calories and nutrition. Starting with a small salad before your meal is a perfect way to get a head start on that hunger signal.
- Dark chocolate– Just a little dark chocolate helps to lower your cravings because the bitter taste signals the body to decrease your appetite. It also contains stearic acid that helps slow digestion to help you feel fuller longer.
- Adequate sleep– Insufficient sleep makes the levels of hunger hormone ghrelin to rise and make you more insulin resistant. Besides, you make risk yourself to Type II Diabetes. Therefore, make sure you have 7-8 hours of good sleep every night.
- Eat slowly– I have also said you while discussing the causes that eating too fast confuses the brain when to stop eating. Remember that it takes around 20-30 minutes for your gut hormones to kick in and signal fullness to the brain. However, distractions like televisions may also cause you to eat more without realizing it. So, just relax and eat with family and friends.
- Exercise– It has been said that the brain’s appetite control center gets affected with moderate or intense workouts. Physical activity is said to reduce the levels of appetite-stimulating hormones and increase those, which suppresses it. Besides, it also distracts our mind from thinking about food.
- Eat solids over liquids– A study by Mieke J.I. Martens and co-workers, published in “Obesity”, shows that solid meals are more effective in suppressing hunger and the desire to eat than similar liquid meals. Moreover, solid food substances require more chewing time and take longer to digest. This helps to make you feel more satisfied, suppressing your appetite.
- Use smaller plates– Reducing the size of your dinnerware can help you unconsciously reduce your meal portions. This is likely to help you consume less food without feeling deprived. A study observed that even nutrition experts unconsciously served themselves 31% more ice cream when given large. Another study further reported that participants who served themselves snacks from large bowls ate 142 calories more than those who ate from smaller bowls. Very strange, but the sometimes the color blue is also said to kill appetite.
- Eat on regular intervals– If you go to any dietician, she will suggest you to take small meals at regular intervals. Eating frequently decreases your appetite and balances blood-sugar levels. Eat small meals at least every 2-3 hours and never skip your meal. This will reduce your cravings as well keep your emotionally and physically high.
Over to you
Eating three meals followed by snacks is good. But feeling hungry every now and then is certainly not a good and healthy sign. If you often feel hungry and continue munching, you may put on extra body weight and invite several health issues and diseases.
If you struggling to curb your appetite then you can use some of the techniques to curb appetite naturally, as discussed above. Eating right, in right promotion and at right interval can seriously help you become fit and healthy.
Avoid using any such medicines or other market-based products that promise you quick results as it might take a reverse effect. Even if you are tempted enough to use the short cut routes, use them only with expert’s help.
If you take my advice then just ditch the diet pills and try out these natural ways to curb your unruly appetite and live a healthy and happy life.
Stay happy and stay healthy.
And do not forget to share your experiences after trying the remedies discussed above.
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.