Ten natural ways to suppress appetite

A person can use the following ten evidence-based methods to suppress their appetite and avoid overeating:

1. Eat more protein and healthful fats

Share on PinterestEating foods rich in protein or fat can reduce hunger cravings and suppress appetite.

Not all foods satisfy hunger equally. Compared to carbohydrates, protein and certain fats are more effective for satisfying hunger and keeping people feeling full for longer.

A person can replace some sources of carbohydrate with proteins and healthful fats to help keep their appetite under control.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend the following high-protein foods:

  • lean meats
  • eggs
  • beans and peas
  • soy products
  • Greek yogurt

The guidelines also recommend that a person gets their healthful fats from natural sources such as nuts and seeds, avocados, and olive oil.

2. Drink water before every meal

Drinking a large glass of water directly before eating has been found to make a person feel fuller, more satisfied, and less hungry after the meal.

Another study, which looked at appetite in 50 overweight females, showed that drinking 1.5 liters of water a day for 8 weeks caused a reduction in appetite and weight, and also led to greater fat loss.

A soup starter may also quench the appetite. Research from 2007 showed that people reported feeling fuller immediately after the meal if they had a liquid starter.

3. Eat more high-fiber foods

Fiber does not break down like other foods, so it stays in the body for longer. This slows down digestion and keeps people feeling full throughout the day.

Research suggests that fiber can be an effective appetite suppressant. High-fiber diets are also associated with lower obesity rates.

On the other hand, another review found that introducing extra fiber into the diet was effective in less than half of the studies they looked at.

More research is needed to identify which sources of fiber are the most effective for suppressing appetite.

Healthful high-fiber foods include:

  • whole grains
  • beans and pulses
  • apples and avocados
  • almonds
  • chia seeds
  • vegetables

4. Exercise before a meal

Exercise is another healthy and effective appetite suppressant.

A review based on 20 different studies found that appetite hormones are suppressed immediately after exercise, especially high-intensity workouts.

They found lower levels of ghrelin in the body, a hormone that makes us hungry, and higher levels of “fullness hormones” such as PPY and GLP-1.

5. Drink Yerba Maté tea

Research shows that a tea called Yerba Maté, which comes from the Ilex paraguariensis plant, can reduce appetite and improve mood when combined with high-intensity exercise. Yerba Maté is available for purchase online.

6. Switch to dark chocolate

Dark chocolate has been shown to suppresses appetite compared to milk chocolate. One study showed that people ate less during their next meal after snacking on dark instead of milk chocolate.

7. Eat some ginger

Consuming a small amount of ginger powder has been shown to reduce appetite and increase fullness, possibly because of its stimulating effect on the digestive system. This was a small-scale study, so more research is needed to confirm this effect. Ginger powder is available for purchase online.

8. Eat bulky, low-calorie foods

Reducing general food intake while dieting can leave people with a ravenous appetite. This can cause a relapse into binge eating.

However, dieting does not have to mean going hungry. Some foods are high in nutrients and energy, but low in calories. These include vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains.

Eating a large volume of these foods will stop the stomach from growling and still allow a person to burn more calories than they consume.

9. Stress less

Comfort eating due to stress, anger, or sadness is different from physical hunger.

Research has linked stress with an increased desire to eat, binge eating, and eating non-nutritious food.

Mindfulness practices and mindful eating may reduce stress-related binge eating and comfort eating, according to one review. Regular sleep, social contact, and time spent relaxing can also help tackle stress.

10. Mindful eating

The brain is a major player in deciding what and when a person eats. If a person pays attention to the food they are eating instead of watching TV during a meal, they may consume less.

Research published in the journal Appetite found that eating a huge meal in the dark led people to consume 36 percent more. Paying attention to food during meals can help a person reduce overeating.

Another article showed that mindfulness might reduce binge eating and comfort eating, which are two significant factors that influence obesity.

The National Institute of Health recommend using mind and body-based techniques, such as meditation and yoga, to curb appetite.

How to Curb Your Appetite When It Feels Out of Control

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My name is Maura, and I’m an addict. My substance of choice isn’t as dangerous as heroin or cocaine. No, my habit is…peanut butter. I feel shaky and out of sorts every morning until I get my fix, ideally on whole-wheat toast with blueberry jam. In emergencies, however, I spoon it straight from the jar.

But there’s more to it than that. See, I can get kind of crazy about it when my appetite’s out of control. My last boyfriend started calling me a PB junkie after witnessing some of my peculiar behaviors: I keep a stash of no fewer than three containers in my cupboard—backups for when I finish the one in the fridge. (Psst…here’s why it’s a bad idea to compare your friends’ eating habits to your own.) I showed up for my first weekend at his apartment with Trader Joe’s Creamy and Salted in my overnight bag. And I stuck a jar in the glove compartment before we set off on our first road trip. “What gives?” he asked. I told him I’d have a meltdown if I ever ran out. “You’re addicted!” he retorted. I laughed; wasn’t that a little extreme? The next morning, I waited until he was in the shower before digging yet another container of PB out of my luggage and sneaking a few spoonfuls. (Related: Everything You Need to Know About Nut Butters)

My ex was onto something. Startling research has found that the way some people respond to food is very similar to the way substance abusers react to the drugs they’re hooked on. Additionally, a number of experts believe that the level of food addiction in the United States may be epidemic.

“Overeating and obesity kill at least 300,000 Americans every year due to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer,” says Mark Gold, M.D., the author of Food and Addiction: A Comprehensive Handbook. “While no one knows exactly how many of those people might be food addicted, we estimate it’s half of the total.”

The Overeating Epidemic

Women may be at the greatest risk: 85 percent of those who join Overeaters Anonymous are female. “Many of our members will say they’re obsessed with food and that they think constantly about what they’ll have next,” says Naomi Lippel, the organization’s managing director. “They also talk about eating until they’re in a fog—until they’re essentially intoxicated.”

Startling research has found that the way some people respond to food is very similar to the way substance abusers react to the drugs they’re hooked on.

Take Angela Wichmann of Miami, who used to overeat until she couldn’t think straight. “I could eat almost anything compulsively,” says Angela, 42, a real-estate developer who weighed 180 pounds. “I’d buy junk food and eat it in the car or consume it at home in secrecy. My favorites were crunchy things like M&M’s or chips. Even crackers would do the trick.” She always felt shame and regret due to her appetite’s out of control power on her life.

“I was embarrassed that I couldn’t control myself. In most areas of my life I’ve been able to achieve anything I set my mind to—I have a Ph.D., and I’ve run a marathon. Kicking my eating problem was another story entirely,” she says.

This Is Your Brain on Food

Experts are just now beginning to understand that for people like Angela, the compulsion to overeat starts in the head, not in the stomach.

“We’ve discovered that they have abnormalities in certain brain circuits that are similar to those of substance abusers,” says Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. For example, a study showed that morbidly obese people may, like drug addicts, have fewer receptors in their brains for dopamine, a chemical that produces feelings of well-being and satisfaction. As a result, food addicts may need more of a pleasurable experience—such as dessert—to feel good. They also have trouble resisting temptations. (Related: How to Get Over Cravings, According to a Weight-Loss Expert)

“Many talk about craving food; about overdoing it despite the fact that they know how bad it is for their health; about withdrawal symptoms like headaches if they stop eating certain things, like high-sugar sweets,” says Chris E. Stout, executive director of practice and outcomes at Timberline Knolls, a treatment center outside Chicago that helps women overcome eating disorders. And like an alcoholic, a food addict will do anything to get a fix. “We often hear about patients stashing cookies in their shoes, their cars, even in the rafters of their basement,” says Stout.

It turns out that the brain’s role in deciding what and how much we eat goes beyond what most scientists ever imagined. In a groundbreaking study at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, principal investigator Gene-Jack Wang, M.D., and his team found that when an obese person is full, different areas of her brain, including a region called the hippocampus, react in a way that’s surprisingly similar to what happens when a substance abuser is shown pictures of drug paraphernalia.

In a groundbreaking study at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, principal investigator Gene-Jack Wang, M.D., and his team found that when an obese person is full, different areas of her brain, including a region called the hippocampus, react in a way that’s surprisingly similar to what happens when a substance abuser is shown pictures of drug paraphernalia.

This is significant because the hippocampus is not only in charge of our emotional responses and memory but also plays a role in how much food we eat. According to Wang, this means that instead of telling us to eat only when we’re hungry, our brains do a more complex calculation: They take into account how stressed out or grumpy we are, the size of our last snack and how good it made us feel, and the comfort we’ve gotten in the past from eating certain foods. The next thing you know, a person prone to overeating is wolfing down a carton of ice cream and a bag of chips.

For Angela Wichmann, it was emotional upset that led to her binges: “I did it to numb myself when things got me down, like relationships, school, work, and the way I could never seem to keep my weight steady,” she says. (Check out the #1 myth about emotional eating.) Two years ago, Angela joined a self-help group for overeaters and lost nearly 30 pounds; she now weighs 146. Amy Jones, 23, of West Hollywood, California, says her urge to eat was motivated by boredom, tension, and obsessive thoughts. “I couldn’t stop thinking about the food I wanted until I ate it,” explains Amy, who considers herself addicted to cheese, pepperoni, and cheesecake—foods her mother strictly prohibited when she was an overweight teen.

How We Get Hooked on Eating

Experts say our frenzied, jam-packed lives can encourage food addiction. “Americans rarely eat because they’re hungry,” says Gold. “They eat for pleasure, because they want to boost their mood, or because they’re stressed out.” The problem is, food is so abundant (even at the office!) that overindulging becomes, well, a piece of cake. “Neanderthals had to hunt for their meals, and in the process they kept themselves in great shape,” Gold explains. “But today, ‘hunting’ means driving to the grocery store and pointing at something in the butcher case.”

The mental signals that urge us to consume are related to those ancient survival instincts: Our brains tell our bodies to store up more fuel, in case it will be a while before we find the next meal. That drive can be so powerful that for some people all it takes is seeing a favorite restaurant to set off a binge, Gold says. “Once that desire is set in motion, it’s very difficult to suppress it. The messages our brains receive that say, ‘I’ve had enough’ are much weaker than the ones that say, ‘Eat, eat, eat.'”

And let’s face it, food has become more tempting and better-tasting than ever, which makes us want more and more of it. Gold says he’s seen this illustrated in his lab. “If a rat is given a bowl full of something tasty and exotic, like Kobe beef, he’ll gorge himself on it until there’s none left—similar to what he’d do if he were given a dispenser full of cocaine. But serve him a bowl of plain old rat chow and he’ll eat only as much as he needs to keep running on his exercise wheel.”

Foods high in carbs and fat (think: french fries, cookies, and chocolate) are the ones most likely to be habit-forming, though researchers don’t yet know why. One theory is that these foods spur cravings because they cause rapid and dramatic spikes in blood sugar. In the same way that smoking cocaine is more addictive than sniffing it because it gets the drug to the brain faster and the effect is felt more intensely, some experts surmise that we may get hooked on foods that cause fast, potent changes in our bodies. (Next Up: How to Cut Back on Sugar In 30 Days—Without Going Crazy)

Right about now, if you’re not overweight, you might be thinking that you don’t have to worry about anything to do with an appetite out of control. Wrong. “Any one of us might become a compulsive eater,” Volkow says. “Even someone whose weight is under control could have a problem, though she might not realize it thanks to a high metabolism.”

So am I a peanut-butter addict—or in danger of becoming one? “You should be concerned if a good part of your day revolves around your food habit,” says Stout. “If food dominates your thoughts, then you have a problem.” Phew! According to those criteria, I’m okay; I think about PB only when I wake up. So who is at risk? “Anyone who lies about how much food she is eating—even little fibs—should watch out,” says Stout. “It’s also a problem if she hides food, if she frequently eats enough to feel uncomfortable, if she regularly stuffs herself to the point where it makes her sleep badly, or if she feels guilt or shame about eating.”

Finally, if you’re trying to overcome a food habit, take heart. “Once you’ve developed healthy habits, it feels just as good not to overeat as it used to feel to do it,” says Lisa Dorfman, R.D., a dietitian and the owner of The Running Nutritionist.

Hunger Out of Control? Try These Tips to Curb Appetite

If you don’t have a compulsive-eating problem, consider yourself lucky. Still, experts say it’s important to take steps to avoid developing one. “It’s harder to kick an addiction to food than to alcohol or drugs,” Dorfman says. “You can’t cut food out of your life; you need it to survive.”

Here, seven strategies for how to curb hunger and get your appetite back under control.

  1. Make a plan and stick to it. Consuming the same basic foods week to week will help prevent you from thinking of meals as rewards, says Dorfman. “Never use treats like ice cream as a gift to yourself after a hard day.” Try this 30-day shape-up-your-plate challenge to master healthy meal planning.
  2. Don’t munch on the run. Our brains feel gypped if we aren’t sitting down at a table with a fork in hand, says Stout. You should eat breakfast and dinner in your kitchen or dining room as often as possible, adds Dorfman. Otherwise, you may end up conditioning yourself to eat anytime, anyplace—like when you’re lying on the couch watching TV.
  3. Avoid noshing in the car. “Your waist will count it as a meal, but your brain won’t,” says Stout. Not only that, but you can quickly become trained, like one of Pavlov’s dogs, to eat whenever you’re behind the wheel. “The same way that people who smoke want a cigarette every time they have a drink, it’s easy to get used to having food every time you’re on the road,” he says.
  4. Eat a healthy snack 30 minutes before meals. It can take as long as half an hour for fullness signals to travel from the stomach to the brain. The sooner you start eating, Dorfman says, the sooner your belly will get the message to your brain that you’ve had enough food. Try an apple or a handful of carrots and couple tablespoons of hummus.
  5. Bust your eating triggers. “If you can’t control your noshing when you’re watching prime time, then don’t sit in front of the television with a bowl of snacks,” Dorfman says. (Related: Is Eating Before Bed Actually Unhealthy?)
  6. Downsize your dishes. “Unless our plates are full, we tend to feel cheated, like we haven’t eaten enough,” Gold says. Appetite out of control? Use a dessert dish for your entree.
  7. Exercise, exercise, exercise. It will help you maintain a healthy weight, and it can prevent compulsive eating because, like food, it produces stress relief and a feeling of well-being, Dorfman says. Gold explains, “Working out before meals can be especially beneficial. When your metabolism revs up, you may get the ‘I’m full’ signal faster, though we aren’t sure why.”
  • By Maura Kelly

8 Natural Ways to Decrease Appetite

You can try and increase your fat oxidation, you can try and exercise more, but the boring yet undeniable truth is this: weight loss comes down to consuming fewer calories than you burn.

A lot of time and money could be saved if more people understood this. Yes, exercise burns more calories — but probably not more than you’d find in a couple of slices of pizza. While exercise has a ton of under-appreciated health benefits, if your primary goal is losing weight, well, it may be more efficient to just not eat those pizza slices.

But eating less isn’t that easy for everybody. Empty tummies produce hunger, sure, but there’s even more at play: a ton of hormones can influence your hunger. Lifestyle factors like poor sleep and stress can increase your appetite when you don’t really need more food.

Here we’re going to discuss natural ways to decrease your appetite:

1. Eat more fiber
2. Drink more water
3. Eat more protein
4. Take an appetite suppressant
5. Exercise
6. Sleep more
7. Chew gum
8. Eat more spices

Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. Speak with your physician before undertaking any new weight loss, supplement, or exercise regimen.

1) Eat More Fiber

  • Aim for at least 30 grams per day
  • Legumes are the best source of fiber

The Standard American Diet is rife with sugar and simple carbohydrates — typically grains like wheat or rice that have had their fiber stripped away in order to produce white flour or white rice.

Besides having a huge variety of health benefits, from links to lower incidences of bowel cancer to lower risks of heart disease, fiber digests slowly.(1)(2) Consuming more foods that are high in fiber, particularly legumes, is strongly associated with a lower appetite and greater satiety than consuming the same amount of calories from meat, according to a randomized study published in Food & Nutrition Research.(3)

Legumes reign king for fiber per serving but getting more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can also add to your daily total, which should hit at least 25 grams for women or 38 grams for men. This is a minimum and the recommendation can change based on your weight, but make sure you’re also consuming plenty of water.

2) Drink More Water (and Less of Everything Else)

  • Drinking water before a meal is an easy way to reduce space in your stomach

Drinking a big glass of water before a meal is a foolproof way to take up more space in your stomach without adding any calories to your total. Whether you’re heading to a buffet or you’re just not that confident a meal will be filling, consider this one of the easiest tips.(4)

While we’re talking fluids, drinks like juice, milk, or anything with calories are the easiest way to increase your calorie intake without feeling full. This makes them great for people looking to put on mass, but not so much for anyone wanting to lose it. Stick to water, tea, black coffee, or diet soda.

3) Eat More Protein

  • Protein digests slowly and burns more calories than carbs or fat

A ton of research has concluded that hitting somewhere between 1.2 and 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight every day produces “greater weight loss, fat mass loss, and preservation of lean mass after higher-protein energy-restriction diets than after lower-protein energy-restriction diets.”(5)(6)(7)

Protein not only digests slowly, it takes more energy to digest than fat or carbs. Some studies suggest that the thermic effect of protein is 20 to 30 percent, carbs are 5 to 10 percent, and fat 0 to 3 percent.(8) So when you consume protein, about a quarter of the calories are just used digesting it. Add that to the effect on satiety and higher protein diets seem a win win.

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Credit: Salix, Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

4) Take an Appetite Suppressant

  • Glucomannan and 5-HTP may be effective supplements

Supplements aren’t the be all and end all of weight loss, but when used judiciously, they can make a difference. Sure, there are compounds (like green tea extract) that seem to slightly increase the amount of fat you burn for energy, but the most important ingredients are those that work as appetite suppressants.

Our favorite is glucomannan, which is made from the root of the Japanese konjac tree. (So it’ll meet most people’s definitions of “natural.”) One gram per day has been seen to reduce appetite among folks who didn’t make any other changes to their diets.(9) This is because it expands in the stomach, reducing hunger and possibly increasing thirst, so keep some water on hand. Otherwise there are very few side effects associated with it.

5) Exercise

  • Staying active helps regulate many hormones related to hunger

We wouldn’t exactly say exercise is the best way to lose weight, but one reason why it’s nonetheless a useful tool in your weight loss journey is that it appears to help regulate your appetite — you’re less likely to overeat if you’re active.

It might sound counterintuitive (doesn’t working out make me hungrier?) but the reason this is good advice is that it helps to optimize the production of hormones like leptin, insulin, ghrelin, and cortisol.(10)(11)(12)

It needs to be a more strategic than maxing your deadlift every day — frequent, intense exercise can actually increase cortisol — but as a rule, the aforementioned hormones that can affect your hunger tend to stay at more manageable levels if you’re active.(13)

6) Sleep More

  • Sleep at least 7 hours per night to help manage hunger hormones

These hormones also work better for weight loss when you’re getting enough deep, restful sleep. (14)(15)(16)(17)(18) Not enough sleep, infrequent sleep, short sleep duration, or poor sleep quality have all been seen to elevate cortisol, ghrelin, and insulin, with one study of over one thousand volunteers finding that among those who slept less than 8 hours per night, “increased BMI was proportional to decreased sleep.”(19)

This may not be as quick a fix as eating a protein bar, but maintaining good “sleep hygiene” — getting enough of it each night, keeping your room quiet so your sleep can be deep, limiting caffeine in the afternoons — can go a long way to weight loss.

7) Chew Gum

  • Chewing gum can reduce the desire to eat sweet food

Chewing, salivating, swallowing. In some respects, it’s enough to convince the body that it’s eating: several studies have found that gum chewing can reduce the desire to eat, particularly for sweet foods.(20)(21) Some studies have also found that among people who weren’t restricting their calories, they wound up consuming about 40 to 70 fewer calories and burned about 5 percent more calories. These are small numbers, sure, but they’re promising.

Another bonus is that chewing seems to help with attention, productivity, and reaction time, which is why it might actually be a good idea to chew gum in class.(22)(23)

8) Use More Spices

  • Chili and ginger have been linked to lower appetite

The mechanisms are unclear and the studies are small, but some research suggests that ginger and chili could influence appetite.

A 2012 study in Metabolism found that drinking 2 grams of ginger powder diluted in hot water reduced hunger after the meal when compared to a control group, plus it helped them burn an extra 30 or so calories.(24)(25)

Chili, meanwhile, could also decrease appetite while boosting thermogenesis.(26)(27)

The Takeaway

The most important takeaway here is that weight loss is about calorie balance, and trying fad diets or working out a lot won’t help you lose weight unless these actions result in you consuming fewer calories. For some people, restrictive diets like Paleo result in less food consumed, for others it’s higher fiber diets like Slow Carb.

However you go about it, calories matter and your appetite is probably the biggest influence on that. Keep these tips in mind and weight loss may come more easily.

1. Kunzmann AT, et al. Dietary fiber intake and risk of colorectal cancer and incident and recurrent adenoma in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Oct;102(4):881-90.
2. McRae MP. Dietary Fiber Is Beneficial for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses. J Chiropr Med. 2017 Dec;16(4):289-299.
3. Kristensen MD, et al. Meals based on vegetable protein sources (beans and peas) are more satiating than meals based on animal protein sources (veal and pork) – a randomized cross-over meal test study. Food Nutr Res. 2016 Oct 19;60:32634.
4. Dennis EA, et al. Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Feb;18(2):300-7.
5. Leidy HJ, et al. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jun;101(6):1320S-1329S.
6. Campos-Nonato I, et al. Effect of a High-Protein Diet versus Standard-Protein Diet on Weight Loss and Biomarkers of Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Obes Facts. 2017;10(3):238-251.
7. Johnstone AM. Safety and efficacy of high-protein diets for weight loss. Proc Nutr Soc. 2012 May;71(2):339-49.
8. Westerterp KR. Diet induced thermogenesis. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2004 Aug 18;1(1):5
9. Walsh DE, et al. Effect of glucomannan on obese patients: a clinical study. Int J Obes. 1984;8(4):289-93.
10. Douglas JA, et al. Acute Exercise and Appetite-Regulating Hormones in Overweight and Obese Individuals: A Meta-Analysis. J Obes. 2016;2016:2643625.
11. Stensel D. Exercise, appetite and appetite-regulating hormones: implications for food intake and weight control. Ann Nutr Metab. 2010;57 Suppl 2:36-42.
12. Epel E, et al. Stress may add bite to appetite in women: a laboratory study of stress-induced cortisol and eating behavior. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2001 Jan;26(1):37-49.
13. Hill EE, et al. Exercise and circulating cortisol levels: the intensity threshold effect. J Endocrinol Invest. 2008 Jul;31(7):587-91.
14. Spiegel K, et al. Brief communication: Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite. Ann Intern Med. 2004 Dec 7;141(11):846-50.
15. Spiegel K, et al. Leptin levels are dependent on sleep duration: relationships with sympathovagal balance, carbohydrate regulation, cortisol, and thyrotropin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Nov;89(11):5762-71.
16. González-Ortiz M, et al. Effect of sleep deprivation on insulin sensitivity and cortisol concentration in healthy subjects. Diabetes Nutr Metab. 2000 Apr;13(2):80-3.
17. Donga E, et al. A single night of partial sleep deprivation induces insulin resistance in multiple metabolic pathways in healthy subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Jun;95(6):2963-8.
18. Samel A, et al. Sleep deficit and stress hormones in helicopter pilots on 7-day duty for emergency medical services. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2004 Nov;75(11):935-40.
19. Taheri S, et al. Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS Med. 2004 Dec;1(3):e62.
20. Hetherington MM, et al. Short-term effects of chewing gum on snack intake and appetite. Appetite. 2007 May;48(3):397-401.
21. Hetherington MM, et al. Effects of chewing gum on short-term appetite regulation in moderately restrained eaters. Appetite. 2011 Oct;57(2):475-82.
22. Ikeda A, et al. Chewing Stimulation Reduces Appetite Ratings and Attentional Bias toward Visual Food Stimuli in Healthy-Weight Individuals. Front Psychol. 2018 Feb 8;9:99.
23. Allen AP, et al. Chewing gum: cognitive performance, mood, well-being, and associated physiology. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:654806.
24. Mansour MS, et al. Ginger consumption enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of satiety without affecting metabolic and hormonal parameters in overweight men: a pilot study. Metabolism. 2012 Oct;61(10):1347-52.
25. Ebrahimzadeh Attari V, et al. A systematic review of the anti-obesity and weight lowering effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) and its mechanisms of action. Phytother Res. 2018 Apr;32(4):577-585.
26. Ludy MJ, et al. The effects of capsaicin and capsiate on energy balance: critical review and meta-analyses of studies in humans. Chem Senses. 2012 Feb;37(2):103-21.
27. Yoshioka M, et al. Effects of red pepper on appetite and energy intake. Br J Nutr. 1999 Aug;82(2):115-23.

(iStock)

Whether you are trying to lose weight or just eat healthier, keeping hunger and cravings at bay is essential to reaching your goal. Staying satisfied throughout the day also means you can be more focused at work and push harder when you’re at the gym.

For the most part, fiber, protein and fat are considered the trifecta of satiety, as they take longer to pass through your digestive system, helping you stay fuller for longer.

Here are 10 foods to help curb your appetite.

10. Avocados

Avocados get their creamy texture from healthy monounsaturated fats, which take a long time for our bodies to digest and, therefore, can help suppress appetite. They’re also an excellent source of soluble fiber, which forms a thick gel as it travels through the gut, slowing digestion.

Avocados are a versatile food — you can slice them up into salads or sandwiches, mash them up for dips and spreads, blend them into a smoothie or eat them whole with a spoon. Remove the pit and squeeze some honey into the hole if you like them sweet, or sprinkle salt and pepper, and add a squeeze of lime for a savory treat.

9. Flax

Flaxseed is rich in fiber and healthy omega-3 fats, and is also a source of protein. The tiny seeds don’t take up much room in your stomach, but they may help suppress your appetite. A Danish study published last year in Appetite found that when subjects were given 2.5 grams of flaxseed fiber supplements — about the same as a heaping tablespoon of ground flax — they reported feeling fuller when compared to placebo, and also ate less when they were served lunch a few hours later.

Our bodies cannot digest the hard shell on flaxseeds, so they will need to be ground up in order to get the full benefits. Store flax in the freezer to help preserve the delicate omega-3 fats. You can add a tablespoon to your morning smoothie or yogurt, or even sprinkle it on salad for a bit of texture and nutty flavor.

8. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is made by straining regular yogurt to remove most of the whey, which concentrates the nutrients, making this a high-protein appetite buster. The thick, creamy texture of the yogurt also helps to trick our bodies into feeling fuller. You can eat Greek yogurt as you would any other yogurt — add fruit and/or nuts to boost the satiety factor — or use plain Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream on its own or in a dip recipe.

Be weary of “Greek-style” yogurts — some brands get their thickness from the addition of cream, making them high in fat and not the best choice if you are trying to lose weight.

7. Water

Although water passes through the digestive system quite quickly, it can still help decrease your appetite. Often we mistake thirst for hunger, especially when the mid-afternoon cravings hit. Sipping water and staying hydrated throughout the day helps you stay alert, so you can resist grabbing a candy bar or a coffee for that temporary fix. It also keeps your stomach from becoming completely empty, which keeps hunger levels down.

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6. Legumes

Legumes, or pulses that include beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas, are an excellent vegetarian source of protein that can be enjoyed in soups, salads, chili, stews and more. They are high in soluble fiber as well as complex carbohydrates called resistant starch and oligosaccharides. Like fiber, these complex carbs cannot be digested by our bodies and help to slow digestion.

Research has shown that legumes may help decrease our appetite at a chemical level as well — specific compounds called trypsin inhibitors and lectins promote the release of a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK), which slows the emptying of our stomach, helping us stay sated.

5. Soup

Having soup alone as a meal may not last you for very long, but it can help you control your portion sizes when you have it as an appetizer or a snack. A study from Pennsylvania State University found that when subjects ate a bowl of chicken rice soup before they were served lunch, they reported that they felt significantly fuller and ate about 100 calories less than when they were served a chicken casserole (made with the same ingredients as the soup) and a glass of water as an appetizer.

If you are trying to cut weight, choose broth-based soups loaded with chunky veggies vs. high-fat, creamy soups. The act of chewing will also help trick your body into feeling fuller for longer. If you are having soup as a meal, make it complete with protein in the form of meat or beans, and a starch like rice, noodles or barley.

4. Cottage Cheese

It’s no wonder that cottage cheese is a healthy snack choice for dieters and bodybuilders alike. It is much lower in fat compared with other cheeses and is a good source of protein, particularly casein, which can suppress the appetite. Cottage cheese can be enjoyed sweet with fruit, or savory with some freshly cracked black pepper.

3. Oatmeal

It’s not surprising that many fast food restaurants and cafes are jumping on the oatmeal bandwagon — it is the breakfast of champions. Oatmeal gets its thick, goopy texture from a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucans. Not only do the beta-glucans travel slowly through our digestive tract, keeping us full until the lunch hour, but they also help to lower cholesterol by trapping bile and carrying it out of our bodies, forcing us to use our blood cholesterol to make more bile.

You can make the oatmeal even more filling and nutrient-dense by adding extra protein in the form of milk, yogurt or nuts and seeds, and/or adding extra fiber in the form of fruit.

2. Meat

The high protein and fat content in meat means that it is digested more slowly than most foods. Meat also takes longer to chew, which also contributes to feeling full. Meat’s appetite-suppressing effects may also be a learned behavior. To many, a meal is not complete without meat, so it may make you feel fuller psychologically.

Numerous studies have shown that there is no difference between beef, chicken and fish in terms of satiety, but for overall health, fish and lean cuts of poultry are more nutritious.

1. Almonds

Finally, almonds are another great source of healthy fats and make for a great snack between meals — provided you watch portion sizes. Note that the hunger-reducing effects of nuts tend to take about half an hour before you feel them, so eat them before you reach the point of being extremely hungry, or you’ll be tempted to eat more than you need.

When hunger hits, you need a snack that will fill you up and keep the hunger pains at bay until your next meal. That’s where protein comes in.

Snacks high in refined carbohydrates, like chips, candy, and baked goods, are digested quickly, can spike our blood sugar levels, and leave us feeling hungry and craving another snack shorty after eating.

Not only is protein digested slower so it keeps us full for longer, but it’s actually been shown to promote the release of appetite-suppressing hormones and help keep blood sugar levels stable.

So what are some healthy, high-protein options? We’ve got 12 ideas to make snack-time more filling and satisfying.

12 Easy, Healthy, High-Protein Snacks

1. Vanilla Fat-Free Icelandic Yogurt

Serving size: 1 5.3-ounce container | Calories: 110

Benefits: Icelandic yogurt is known for being higher in protein and lower in sugar than many types of Greek yogurt. One container provides an impressive 15 grams of protein, just 8 grams of sugar, and 15% of the daily value for calcium.

2. Natural Peanut Butter with Celery Sticks

Serving size: 2 tablespoons peanut butter with 6 celery sticks | Calories: 222

Benefits: This classic snack provides 8 grams of protein along with healthy fats and fiber to help keep you nice and full until your next meal. Plus, it doesn’t require refrigeration during the day. Simply put your peanut butter and celery sticks in a mason jar and head out the door.

3. Mixed Nuts

Serving size: 1 ounce | Calories: 172

Benefits: One serving of mixed nuts provides 6 grams of protein along with healthy fats, fiber, and magnesium. To keep the sodium low, choose dry-roasted, unsalted nuts.

4. Cheese and Artisan Nut Thin Crackers

Serving size: 1 ounce of cheese and 5 crackers | Calories: 160

Benefits: Cheese and crackers always feels a little fancy, plus it has that crunch-factor. My go-to crackers are Blue Diamond’s Artisan Nut Thins, but any whole grain cracker is a good option. While the exact nutrient content will vary by brand, this combo can provide 6 grams of protein and heart-healthy fiber.

5. Turkey roll-ups

Serving size: 3-oz roasted turkey, 1 tablespoon of cream cheese, and 3 cucumber sticks | Calories: 177

Benefits: Turkey roll-ups are a great, low-carb, high-protein option. Simply spread cream cheese on each slice of turkey, place a cucumber stick in the middle, and roll up. One serving provides 15 grams of protein. To keep sodium low, choose low-sodium turkey, sliced fresh from the deli counter.

6. Hard-boiled egg

Serving size: 1 large egg | Calories: 78

Benefits: An excellent source of easily-digested protein, a hard-boiled egg provides 6 grams of protein and is also one of the few food sources of vitamin D. To make snacking easy, make a batch of hard-boiled eggs on Sunday to keep in the fridge throughout the week.

Not sure how many eggs you should be eating per week? Check out this post where we tell you everything you need to know about eggs!

7. Starkist Salmon or Tuna Creations Packets

Serving size: 1 pouch | Calories: 70-100 calories

Benefits: High in protein, these pouches provide 13-18 grams of protein depending on the flavor and fish choice. While tuna is a favorite, salmon options will provide more essential omega-3 fatty acids. For a more filling snack, pair one of these pouches with 5 whole grain crackers or veggie sticks.

8. Steamed Edamame

Serving size: 1 cup shelled (approximately 2 ¼ cup if still in pods) | Calories: 188

Benefits: Edamame is a great source of protein, proving 18.5 grams per 1 cup shelled. It’s also high in calcium, folate, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin K. While traditionally seasoned with salt, if trying to keep your sodium low, use a sodium-free spice blend instead.

9. Roasted chickpeas

Serving size: ½ cup | Calories: 134

Benefits: High in fiber, chickpeas are an inexpensive high protein snack. A ½ cup serving provides 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. To keep snack-time interesting, sprinkle them with your favorite spice blend before roasting.

10. Turkey or grass-fed beef jerky

Serving size: 1 ounce stick | Calories: 80-90 calories

Benefits: Jerky is an easy, high protein snack that you can bring with you on hikes, to work, or on a plane. While protein will vary by brand, most provide around 6-12 grams of protein per serving. When buying jerky, make sure to look at the sodium content and added ingredients. Two of my go-to brands are Vermont Smoke & Cure and Chef’s Cut.

11. Roasted Pumpkin seeds

Serving size: 1-ounce | Calories: 126

Benefits: Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of manganese, zinc, and healthy fats. A 1-ounce serving also provides 5 grams of protein. While you can make your own roasted pumpkin seeds at home, if buying store-bought keep an eye on how much salt or sugar is added.

12. Cottage cheese and fruit

Serving size: ¾ cup cottage cheese with ¼ cup fruit | Calories: 144

Benefits: Skip pre-flavored cottage cheese and add your own fruit for higher amounts of fiber with far less sugar. Cottage cheese is an impressively high protein snack, with 21 grams of protein for ¾ cup serving.

What are your go-to protein snacks? Share in the comments below and don’t forget to log your snacks in Lose It!

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3 Foods That Naturally Suppress Appetite

Vitacost Staff February 16, 2017 Diet & Weight Loss Advice , Nutrition Email Print Twitter Pinterest Facebook

This post was most recently updated on February 20th, 2017

Everything from stressful jobs to a lack of fresh produce in inner city food stores has caught the blame for our nation’s collective weight gain. But research shows those aren’t the main reasons people pack on the pounds.

In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, U.S. government researchers tracked 195 men and women of all ages during the holidays—a notoriously scale-tipping time of year. The study participants were given a list of common reasons for weight gain—including stress, hunger, activity level, changes in smoking habits or the number of holiday parties they attended. Based on the answers, the researchers concluded only two of these factors influence weight gain: level of hunger and level of activity.

Boosting your activity level can be as simple as hauling yourself off the couch and taking a walk. But to reduce appetite is more difficult. Nutritionist and exercise physiologist Felicia D. Stoler, RD, says the trick is not to shovel in high-calorie but empty-nutrient foods.

“Consuming sugar, alcohol, processed carbohydrates and starches can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, and the crash afterward triggers food cravings,” explains Stoler, author of Living Skinny in Fat Genes: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great (Pegasus, 2011). “Protein and foods rich in fiber, such as whole grains, beans and vegetables, promote stable blood sugar.”

The lesson, Stoler says, is that “consuming a balanced, whole-food diet and reducing empty calories can keep your appetite under control.”

But what if you eat well yet still experience hunger cravings? Stoler recommends three foods to help keep your appetite in check.

1. Garlic

“Of the 200 chemical compounds that make up garlic’s various health-giving properties, a key compound called allicin—the very compound that gives garlic its pungent odor—has been shown to suppress appetite and speed up metabolic rate,” Stoler says.*

Groundbreaking research published in May 2003 in the American Journal of Hypertension shows that allicin stimulates the satiety center in rats’ brains, which reduces feelings of hunger. In addition to curbing appetite, Stoler says, garlic has been shown to stimulate the nervous system to release adrenaline, which in turn increases metabolism and helps you lose weight.*

You can obtain allicin by eating garlic. Studies show ideal amounts range from 2.4 to 7.2 mg. A fresh clove of garlic has 6 to 14 mg of allicin.

2. Flaxseed

Flaxseeds’ large amount of fiber makes them a natural appetite suppressant, Stoler says.

“Fiber does wonders for appetite control by slowing the movement of food through your gastrointestinal tract, thereby keeping food in your stomach longer,” she says. “Fiber also increases the level of cholecystokinin, the hormone responsible for letting your brain know when you’re satiated.”

A study of 44 people published in the journal Appetite in April 2012 showed that participants who consumed 2.5 grams of soluble fiber before lunch had significantly suppressed appetite and consequently ate less.*

3. Green tea

Catechins, active compounds in green tea, help improve satiety, Stoler says. In a review of numerous clinical trails published in the Journal of Nutrition Biochemistry in January 2011, researchers concluded that 270 to 1,200 mg a day of green tea catechins can reduce body weight by stimulating the nervous system, which not only increases your energy expenditure and helps burn fat, but also suppresses appetite.*

Green tea’s caffeine content is also thought to play a role in boosting the nervous system. Stoler says the advantage to green tea is that it has less caffeine than black tea, coffee or most energy drinks.

“Although caffeine may have an appetite-suppressant effect, consuming too much caffeine can cause stress and nervousness, which can trigger excess calorie consumption in some people,” she says.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Prescription Appetite Suppressants

Appetite suppressants are drugs designed to curb hunger and, in turn, help you lose weight. The FDA has approved these medications that you can only get with a doctor’s prescription:

Liraglutide (Saxenda). You take this as an injection. It was originally marketed as a diabetes treatment under the brand name Victoza. The drug dampens hunger by acting on a hormone in the gut.

Lorcaserin (Belviq). It acts on receptors in your brain for the mood chemical serotonin. The drug may help you feel full after you eat less food than you normally would.

Naltrexone- (Contrave). It contains two medications and may affect the reward system in your brain, so eating certain foods that would normally make you feel good no longer do. It also works on the hypothalamus, the part of your brain that regulates appetite, temperature, and other functions.

Phentermine- (Qsymia). It’s a combo of two drugs. Phentermine is a stimulant that makes you feel less hungry. Topiramate is a medicine used for seizures and headache, but as part of a combo with phentermine may make you feel less hungry and more full.

There are also some other options — like phentermine, benzphetamine, diethylpropion, and phendimetrazine — but those can only be used for up to 12 weeks.

You may have heard of another drug the FDA has approved to treat obesity called orlistat (Alli), but it’s not an appetite suppressant. It works by preventing your body from absorbing a portion of fat from the food you eat. The brand name of the prescription-strength version is called Xenical.

There are also supplements that claim to be appetite suppressants. These products, though, aren’t classified as drugs by the FDA, so they’re not reviewed by the agency before they hit the market. There aren’t any over-the-counter appetite suppressant drugs that have been approved by the FDA.

No doubt about it, overeating — and its connection to more and more people becoming overweight or obese — is one of the most complex and challenging issues in health care today. There are many reasons why you might feel like you’re always hungry, including nutrient deficiencies, a lack of fiber or healthy fats in your diet, fatigue, or high amounts of emotional stress. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Natural appetite suppressants can help you achieve satiety and avoid overeating, and they can help you do that without the dangers of diet pills.

While manufacturers of weight loss pills continue to promote the convenience and rapid results associated with their products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other health authorities warn against their use. Some of the main reasons that appetite-suppressing weight loss pills are considered to be at least somewhat dangerous include medication interactions, tainted or unlisted ingredients, high amounts of caffeine, and fillers or synthetic additives that cause negative reactions, just to name few.

The good news is this: There appear to be safer and more natural options for suppressing your appetite (and potentially losing some weight as a result) without so much risk involved. In fact, throughout history cultures all over the world have consumed natural foods, teas and spices that are now proving to be beneficial for metabolic functions and energy expenditure. Consuming natural appetite suppressants, such as filling, fat-burning foods, nutrients like conjugated linoleic acid and chromium, probiotics, and anti-aging beverages like green tea, can help you keep mindless cravings, a habit of snacking or a sweet tooth under better control.

What Is an Appetite Suppressant?

Appetite suppressants are either pills, drinks, supplements or whole foods that help keep you from overeating. Natural appetite suppressants — which have some similarities to commercial weight loss pills but some important differences — may help tackle some of these issues related to obesity or emotional eating in part by balancing levels of “hunger hormones,” such as ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin and leptin rise and fall throughout the day depending on things like how much you’ve recently eaten, your mood, stress level, sleep, genetics, current weight and level of inflammation. In other words, there’s a lot at play when it comes to suppressing or stimulating your daily appetite.

In addition to decreasing your appetite through hormone regulation, nutrients or essential oils used for safely promoting weight loss can help tip the scale in your favor in several other ways, such as burning more stored body fat for energy (these are known as thermogenics), improving balance of blood sugar levels, curbing cravings for junk foods or sweets, improving thyroid health, increasing release of “happy hormones” or endorphins like serotonin, and possibly giving you a bit more energy throughout the day to be used for extra physical activity.

There are all sorts of products available today that claim to have these appetite-dulling effects, but not every kind has been shown to work or even to be very safe. Examples of weight loss supplements that pose the most risks include guarana, garcinia cambogia, bitter orange or ephedrine. According to the FDA, “Supplements aren’t considered drugs, so they aren’t put through the same strict safety and effectiveness requirements that drugs are.” (1) That’s why I recommend approaching weight loss holistically — especially by eating filling, fat-burning, natural foods and other natural appetite suppressants that won’t potentially lead to complications like taking pills or consuming high amounts of caffeine can.

Top 5 Natural Appetite Suppressants

1. Green Tea Extract

Green tea has been consumed for thousands of years and is still one of the healthiest beverages available to us today. It’s been the focus of hundreds of studies related to everything from preventing cognitive disorders like dementia to managing metabolic dysfunction. Recently, certain antioxidants and substances in green tea extract have been tied to beneficial effects on metabolic diseases and improvements in regulating appetite hormones.

A Cochrane meta-anylsis including 14 studied involving use of green tea found that its consumption was associated with mild but significant weight loss results compared to controls or placebo. (2) One study that tested the effects of green tea extract on a group of adults compared to a control group not taking green tea found that after 12 weeks, those taking 857 milligrams of green tea had significantly lower levels of ghrelin (known as the hunger hormone).

Participants in the green tea extract group also had improvements in cholesterol levels and elevated levels of adiponectin compared to the placebo group. Low levels of adiponectin have been tied to problems like insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and increased inflammation. EGCG, the most abundant green tea catechin and a powerful bioactive constituent, has also been shown to act like a cancer-fighting compound and promote thermogenic activities in studies, therefore decreasing fat cell proliferation and helping burn body fat for energy. (3)

Although not every study has shown such strong and positive weight loss results associated with green tea extract, it seems safe for most adults to take up to 800–900 milligrams daily, usually spread out over three increments. (4) Although they’re generally rare, when taking green tea extract be on the lookout for reported adverse effects that might include mild headaches, signs of hypertension, constipation or possibly increased symptoms of urinary tract infection.

2. Saffron Extract

Some research suggests that taking certain saffron extracts can positive effects on mood regulation by increasing endorphin and serotonin levels. Saffron’s effects when it comes to suppressing appetite, including leading to reduced snacking and an elevated mood, seem to be the result of increased serotonin action in the body. (5) This has been shown to help improve symptoms of depression, emotional eating and PMS after about six to eight weeks of treatment. In fact, certain studies have found that saffron extract can work almost as well as taking a low-dose prescription antidepressant drug (such as fluoxetine or imipramine).

Additionally, while research shows mixed results, there’s some evidence that taking a chemical from saffron called crocetin might decrease fatigue during exercise and help with increasing energy expenditure. (6) To get the antidepressant benefits of saffron, start with the the standard daily dose of 30 milligrams, used for up to eight weeks. If you have any existing condition that might interfere with saffron’s influence on serotonin metabolism (like depression, for example), it’s a good idea to get your doctor’s opinion first.

3. Grapefruit Essential Oil

Grapefruit’s benefits for weight loss have been the focus of dozen of studies and seem to be due to beneficial acids, antioxidants, volatile oils and enzymes that help reduce your appetite, lower cravings, help stimulate the lymphatic system and give you a mild dose of uplifting energy.

Research regarding grapefruit’s effects on olfactory stimulation (how smelling the aroma affects the central nervous system) shows that inhaling the fruit’s smell can positively alter autonomic nerve signaling, lipolysis (fat metabolism) and appetite regulation. Here are several findings from a number of studies about how grapefruit essential oil impacts appetite and body weight: (7, 8)

  • The scent of grapefruit oil excites sympathetic nerves that supply the brown adipose tissue and adrenal glands, which may help stimulate weight loss.
  • Smelling grapefruit also helps stimulate ghrelin-induced feeding, making you feel fuller and less likely to give in to cravings.
  • Enzymes found in the rind (skin) of the grapefruit have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. They can help with the digestion of fats or sugar and the maintenance of balanced blood glucose levels, which might keep you from feeling cranky and in need of a quick caffeine or sugar fix.
  • Grapefruit oil and extract have been shown to be beneficial for those with insulin resistance or diabetes, causing a significant reduction in two-hour post-glucose insulin levels compared with placebo.
  • Some also find that the clean scent of citrus fruits helps reduce cravings for sweets and improves mood enough to reduce emotional eating. Body fat also is broken down by the enzymes found in grapefruit.

Certain studies have shown that just three 15-minute exposures to grapefruit essential oil each week helped participants reduce their appetites and practice habits (like slow, mindful eating) that better control their weight. How can you use grapefruit essential oil at home or when you’re on the go? Trying adding several drops of pure grapefruit essential oil (citrus paradise) either to a diffuser in your office/home, to your shower or bath soap, or with a carrier oil to be massaged right onto your skin (just do a skin patch test to be sure you don’t have an allergic reaction first).

4. Foods High in Fiber

Dietary fibers, whether from food sources or in concentrated supplement form, have been used for hundreds of years to promote fullness, improve gut health and digestive functions, and help maintain strong immunity and heart health. Despite the fact that fiber intake is inversely associated with hunger, body weight and body fat, studies show that the average fiber intake of adults in the United States is still less than half of recommended levels. (9)

What is it about fiber that dulls your appetite? Because fiber is not able to be digested once consumed, plus it absorbs so much of its own weight in water, high-fiber foods help slow your body’s digestion of glucose (sugar), keep you feeling fuller for longer and beat cravings. Many foods high in fiber are also very nutritionally dense, meaning you get more bang for your nutritional buck and help prevent dehydration or deficiencies.

Eating a high-fiber diet — similar to the Mediterranean diet or the way that those known for longevity living in the Blue Zones eat — has been linked to a longer life span, better regulation of healthy body weight, improved gut/digestive health, hormonal health and much more. According to research in the Obesity Reports, “Evidence points to a significant association between a lack of fiber intake and: ischemic heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, overweight and obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, dyslipidemia, as well as gastrointestinal disorders.” (10)

To fill up on the right foods faster and for longer, consume more high-fiber foods, including chia seeds, flaxseeds, starchy or non-starchy fresh veggies, beans or legumes, and fruit (especially berries).

5. Spicy Foods

Naturally spicy (plus anti-inflammatory) ingredients like cayenne, black pepper, curry, turmeric, ginger, dandelion or cinnamon might help increase your body’s ability to burn fat, suppress hunger levels, normalize glucose levels, reduce free radical damage associated with aging and reduce your appetite for sweets.

Studies have found that results associated with eating spices like cayenne with high-carb meals indicate that red pepper increases diet-induced thermogenesis (heating the body and burning of fat) and lipid oxidation. (11) Other research regarding the effects of capsaicin, the phytochemical responsible for the spiciness of peppers, has shown that this compound can modulate metabolic activities through affecting transient receptors in the digestive system, such as one called TRPV1.

Because they’re loaded with benefits, virtually free from calories and easy to use on all sorts of recipes, there’s basically no reason for anything but love for spices. There’s evidence that including more spices and herbs in your diet (especially turmeric, black pepper and cayenne pepper) can help you reduce intake of things like flavor enhancers, salt and sugar while helping you reduce weight gain without having negative effects. Try adding some to homemade tea or detox drinks, marinades, on top of fish or other proteins, in a stir-fry, on veggies, or in soups.

Other Tips for Keeping Your Appetite Under Control:

  • Consume omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics. Both are tied to reduced inflammation, better mood control, anti-aging effects and improved gut/digestive health.
  • Eat enough protein and healthy fats, which are just as crucial for controlling hunger pangs as fiber is.
  • Drink more water.
  • Curb emotional eating by managing stress. Learning to eat mindfully can help with feeling more satisfied from your meals.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Be careful not to overtrain, which can keep you feeling very hungry and fatigued no matter what you eat.

The Dangers of Prescription Diet Pills

Commercially sold diet pills usually contain a mix of stimulants, including caffeine, herbs, and sometimes digestive enzymes or acids. Generally, they come with adverse side effects, making them unhealthy ways to lose weight.

Caffeine is one of the most common weight loss ingredients because it often has the appealing effects of dulling someone’s appetite, improving motivation and increasing energy for activity. However, as you may have experienced yourself in the past, consuming too much caffeine within a short time period can cause strong side effects like jitteriness, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations, diarrhea and more.

While the majority of adults worldwide consume at least some caffeine daily, mostly in the form of coffee or tea, abnormally high amounts of caffeine are usually limited to “fat-burning” supplements. When weight loss pill manufacturers include caffeine in amounts they’re rarely used otherwise, it’s likely to cause both short-term issues like dependence and jitteriness or, even worse, dangerous interactions with existing medical conditions or medications.

Due to interactions with medications or changes in blood pressure, other side effects of popular weight loss pills — like guarana, garcinia cambogia or ephedrine, for example — can include anxiety, trouble sleeping, indigestion, diarrhea, rapid heartbeat, headaches, dependency and blood pressure changes that can sometimes be dangerous.

Some commercially available thermogenic supplements (especially those containing ephedrine, also called ephedra) have even been found to induce acute liver failure and contribute to serious reactions like excessive bleeding, increased pressure in the brain, fatigue, malaise and jaundice. (12) This is one reason why ephedrine is now banned as a dietary supplement ingredient in the U.S. — due to an increase in reported reactions hypertension, palpitation, stroke, seizures, heart attack and even in rare cases death.

Precautions When Using Natural Appetite Suppressants

Because there’s always the risk for developing many different reactions depending on your current health and age, pay attention to how you feel even when using natural appetite suppressants. Follow dosage directions carefully, since high doses can cause dangerous reactions like poisoning, yellow appearance of the skin or mucous membranes, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, and heart problems.

Generally speaking, not enough is known about the safety of using even natural appetite suppressants during pregnancy or breastfeeding, so to stay on the safe side it’s wise to avoid use of supplements mentioned above during these times. Children and the elderly should also generally avoid consuming too much caffeine or supplements without a doctor’s opinion first.

If you have any of the below health problems, talk to a professional before attempting to suppress your appetite for weight loss (especially if you take medications daily):

  • Heart conditions, like high or low blood pressure or palpitations.
  • A mental health condition like anxiety, insomnia depression or bipolar disorder, since certain supplements like saffron or green tea extract may affect your mood and energy levels.
  • Dizziness or vertigo, as even low levels of caffeine can make these worse.
  • Allergies to pepper, Lolium, Olea or Salsola plant species, since come herbs or spices like saffron and cayenne can cause allergic reactions in susceptible people.

Here’s the bottom line on using natural appetite suppressants compared to other appetite suppressants: While weight loss pills, teas or other products may possibly give you a lift in energy, dulled appetite or temporarily elevated mood, they’re unlikely to result in any long-term weight loss, especially when you don’t make other healthy lifestyle changes. Focus on eating a well-rounded, nutrient-dense diet, preventing deficiencies in key vitamins or minerals, and staying active. Then you shouldn’t need to turn to weight loss products in the first place.

Final Thoughts on Natural Appetite Suppressants

  • Popular weight loss pills — like guarana, garcinia cambogia or ephedrine — are often used to suppress one’s appetite and help with weight loss. But it’s fairly common to experience some side effects when taking these products, including jitteriness, anxiety, trouble sleeping, indigestion, diarrhea, rapid heartbeat or headaches, which is why natural appetite suppressants are always better options.
  • Natural appetite suppressants include green tea extract, high-fiber foods, saffron extract, grapefruit essential oil and spices like cayenne.
  • These natural appetite suppressants, herbs, foods and compounds can help nip cravings by inducing thermogenesis, warming the body, balancing blood sugar levels, absorbing water in your digestive tract, reducing inflammation, improving your mood or energy, balancing hunger/fullness hormones like ghrelin and leptin, and altering release of certain digestive enzymes.

Read Next: 6 Natural & Safe Fat Burners, Plus Risks of Weight Loss Supplements

A natural appetite suppressant

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