Nobody wants to be fat—obesity destroys your self-image and contributes to virtually all serious health conditions. So why is it such a pervasive problem?
Obvious culprits include poor food choices and a lack of physical activity. But there are two other important factors involved: hunger and appetite.
Hunger is a physiological need for food, a physical sensation that drives you to eat. It’s controlled by an elaborate network of hormones, neurotransmitters and other chemical messengers that tell you when to eat and when to stop.
Appetite also drives you to eat, but it’s often based on psychological factors. Even if you’re not hungry, external triggers such as the clock, social situations and mood can make you want to eat.
Hunger and appetite are merciless taskmasters. When the body cries out, “Feed me!” even the most strong-willed folks can rarely resist. Taming these beasts clearly requires something other than desire and discipline. Here are a few suggestions that can help.
Protein and Fiber: Natural Appetite Suppressants
First, eat foods that fill you up. Satiety is defined as “the quality or state of being fed or gratified to or beyond capacity.” Several years ago, Susanna Holt, Ph.D., of the University of Sydney, conducted a study to quantify the “satiety index” of various foods.
Dr. Holt discovered that protein-rich items had the highest satiety index, with high-fiber carbohydrates a very close second. Fatty foods were the least satisfying, most likely because they tend to be stored rather than immediately used, so they don’t trigger the signals that tell you to stop eating.
Since protein is the most satiating, aim for about 4 ounces of lean protein (20–25 grams) with every meal—a little more if you have a big build or a little less if you’re small. Good sources include fish and seafood, skinless poultry, eggs and egg whites, nonfat or low-fat cheeses and Greek yogurt, tofu, nuts, and soy and whey protein.
Although there are several fiber-rich foods you can choose from, I recommend more beans and vegetables as natural appetite suppressants. They’re low in sugar and they fill you up, not out. I also suggest incorporating a quarter cup of freshly ground flaxseed into your diet each day. Taking a fiber supplement like psyllium or glucomannan before meals will also act as a natural appetite suppressant. Your goal should be at least 30 grams of fiber every day.
Saffron is a Natural Appetite Suppressant
Short-term satiety is one thing; feeling satisfied until the next meal is another. We’ve all experienced the mid-morning or mid-afternoon munchies a couple of hours after breakfast or lunch. Fortunately, protein and fiber have proven to be effective, natural appetite suppressants over the longer term. But I also want to tell you about a breakthrough supplement that has been shown to put a stop to snacking urges.
As I mentioned earlier, hunger and appetite are orchestrated by a host of chemical messengers, and one of them is serotonin, a neurotransmitter best known for its effects on mood. Studies suggest that mood can play an important role in snacking behavior—especially in women. Researchers have also discovered that the spice saffron has a positive effect on mood and that a special extract called Satiereal can reduce snacking and promote satiety.
In a double-blind study, researchers divided women into two groups. One of the groups took 90 mg of Satiereal at breakfast and dinner while the other received a placebo. Over the course of eight weeks, participants reported all “snacking events” in a daily journal.
Beginning at week four of the study, those taking Satiereal experienced a significant reduction in snacking frequency, and by the end, 69 percent reported feeling less hungry before meals. Seventy percent also said the Satiereal reduced their desire for snacking between meals.
The suggested dose is 90 mg of Satieral at breakfast and 90 mg at dinner, taken daily (for at least 4 weeks for results).
Keep Your Blood Sugar Balanced
One of the strongest appetite triggers is a low blood glucose level. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to follow my earlier advice and eat more vegetables, beans and other fiber-rich foods. As natural appetite suppressants, they promote a slow, sustained release of glucose into the bloodstream.
Stay away from foods made with flour, sugar and other high-glycemic carbohydrates, as they send blood glucose levels soaring then crashing—ultimately making you hungry. I know that avoiding high-glycemic carbs is easier said than done for most of us. That’s why I want to tell you about a way to counteract their negative effects when cravings win out against willpower.
Phase 2 Carb Blocker is an extract of white beans that has been shown to inhibit amylase, an enzyme necessary for the digestion of starches. Most people use carb blockers as weight loss aids, and research suggests that this special extract may provide that benefit when it’s combined with exercise and a sensible diet containing high-carb foods.
But what I like most is this supplement’s potential to promote normal glucose levels after high-carb meals. In one study, when participants took 750 mg of Phase 2 Carb Blocker as part of a meal high in starchy carbohydrates, their blood glucose levels returned to baseline more quickly.
A Few More Natural Appetite Suppressants
Here are a few more tips for overcoming hunger and appetite.
First, eat more slowly. It takes 15–20 minutes before satiety signals register in the brain, and by the time they do, you may already be on your second helping.
Second, drink lots of water—it literally fills you up.
Finally, find a way to deal with your personal appetite triggers. If you know you tend to overeat when you’re stressed or tired, try to distract yourself with other activities during these vulnerable times.
Hunger and appetite don’t have to get the best of you. Try the natural appetite suppressants suggested above and you’ll be well on your way to winning the battle of the bulge.