Eating in a caloric deficit for prolonged periods is not only physically difficult, but also mentally.
Fighting hunger cravings can be frustrating because you often fight your brain and body, trying to convince them that no, you don’t really want to eat that cookie.
Fortunately, there are several methods, backed by scientific evidence, that can help curb hunger cravings.
These three options can help control your appetite
- The fiber.
- Relief from stress .
- The supplements.
1. Fiber and food volume
The body naturally produces a variety of peptides and hormones that suppress hunger.
A class of receptors, called mechanoreceptors, are found in the stomach and intestines and are not actually activated by any specific molecule, but by stretching of tissue.
That means that expanding the stomach will cause appetite suppression, regardless of what is causing the expansion.
Eating low calorie foods that result in a bowel mass is a good way to limit calorie intake while suppressing the urge to eat more.
While vegetables with a high water content will wilt and decline after consumption, foods high in soluble fiber will “gel” and expand in the stomach.
Vegetables that are high in cellulose, an indigestible carbohydrate, will also result in an increase in intestinal volume.
A popular supplemental fiber option is Metamucil. Metamucil is a flavored soluble fiber digestive aid.
It can be added to a shake, but just be sure to drink it quickly or else the Metamucil will gel before it reaches the intestines.
Do not use appetite suppressant products that are indigestible. Sponges, stomach balloons, and other devices are dangerous and can cause intestinal obstruction, which is a medical emergency.
2. Stress relief
Emotional eating is a common symptom of stress and can derail weight loss. Since emotional eating is not the result of physical hunger pangs, it cannot necessarily be controlled through increased fiber intake.
The best way to fight emotional eating is to buckle down and take in the stress.
Although it’s impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all solution that works to relieve everyone’s stress, maintaining healthy sleep habits and targeting your diet are two good steps to reducing stress.
A consistent sleep schedule in a quiet, dark sleep environment is vital to reducing stress.
If lifestyle changes do not relieve stress and emotional eating episodes continue, consider supplementing with an adaptogen.
Adaptogens are herbal supplements that cause a mild stress response after supplementation. This response desensitizes the body to increased actual stress.
Popular adaptogen supplements include Rhodiola rosea, Panax ginseng, and ashwagandha.
Supplementing an adaptogen will not directly reduce hunger, but it can reduce hunger cravings sometimes associated with increased stress levels.
Other supplementary options
Adrenaline also reduces your appetite. When the body is stimulated, blood is redirected out of the digestive tract, to help prepare for a fight or flight.
Stimulants and other supplements that increase adrenaline also have this effect. A low dose of a stimulant can help reduce appetite, but too much can lead to nausea and other side effects.
People who are not used to caffeine can drink coffee in the morning to reduce hunger. This strategy may not be effective for people who are used to caffeine.
Other more powerful stimulants, such as synephrine and yohimbine, can also reduce hunger cravings, but may not be appropriate for daily use like coffee.
The use of stimulants to control hunger cravings at night is not recommended due to their disturbing effect on sleep.
There are also several supplements with preliminary evidence to support appetite suppression. These include ginger, 5-HTP, and Caralluma fimbriata. Much more research is needed before these supplements can be specifically recommended to control hunger cravings.
Avoid unnecessary expenses. If you are satiated, your wallet may be full too.
Have you heard of Hoodia gordonii or Garcinia cambogia supplements advertised as appetite suppressants?
Both supplements had promising animal evidence for their effects on appetite, but follow-up studies revealed that these effects did not occur when people supplemented the herbs.
Unfortunately, the marketing had already spread these products everywhere.
There are no shortcuts in health and nutrition. Still, many people need help with hunger cravings from time to time. That is why there are hundreds of products aimed at suppressing your appetite. However, most of the effective strategies mentioned above don’t even involve supplements!
In other words, don’t waste money on hype. Fiber is much cheaper.