How to Suppress your Appetite

Ever felt that you want to eat everything in sight? Like coming home from work and couldn’t stop from trying out that new pack of cookies?

I heard so many times from friends and family, how they can’t fight this feeling of hunger. They embark on a diet plan, but they can’t follow it for too long.

One day, they might need to go out after job and order the cheeseburger with the fries. Another day, they would return very late at the house without having eaten anything all day, and they would eat a whole cake as soon as they lay their eyes on it, just to get some sleep.

It’s nerve-racking and I can’t stand it. We need to educate ourselves in order to see results in anything we try to achieve.

So loving to eat is natural, don’t try to overthink it. People like to eat, a lot. It’s for pleasure more than survival, the reason we eat most of the time.

There was a time some years ago, I started to learn about nutrition and dieting. It naturally led to making and following a diet plan.

All things were going well for a week or so, but then it happened.

I started feeling more nervous and hungry. My appetite was increased and I couldn’t really handle it.

I would sometimes, eat everything that was put in front of me. Every sweet and every little treat.

I would feel awful the next day, trying to punish myself without eating anything all day.

Something wasn’t right, a problem had appeared and it had to be solved. So I started researching and tried to find the reasons my diet got to a sticking point.

This is the only way we should approach problems. Research, evaluate the findings and apply whatever is needed.

"Knowledge is a better weapon than a sword"
“Knowledge is a better weapon than a sword”

The strongest response came from the field of evolutionary biology.

Evolutionary reason of hunger

It appears we are not the typical animal of the planet. We are the only species that is not eating explicitly for survival reasons.

Let’s dig into our evolutionary history a little bit.

In our not so distant past, 10-12 thousand years ago, people (hominids to be more specific) were hunters and gatherers. Meaning, we used to hunt our food and gather any plantation we could find. Obviously you can see the dangers of both these activities.

Small animals were fast enough to avoid us and big ones were a little difficult to hunt. Imagine yourself trying to kill an antelope or a wooly mammoth, while chasing a herd, probably for days.

Imagine hunting that
Imagine hunting that

Not a walk in the park.

So what our body had to do, was to invent mechanisms. Mechanisms that would give us a motive for finding sources of food.

In fewer words, it made you hungry, so you can keep on seeking food.

There was no other way to ensure the survival of the species. We had to feel hungry so we can hunt more vigorously until we could find food for the tribe.

As we have mentioned before, in the article about body fat, this whole thing changed about 10,000 years ago, when we invented agriculture. We could grow our own food, our own livestock, therefore, we didn’t have to hunt that much.

But guess what didn’t change. Exactly, our own body.

You can’t compare 3+ million years of living as hunters and gathers to 10,000 of eating crops. Our physiology and biology didn’t have the time to change much.

So let’s get back to the present. We live in an abundance of food supply while our bodies are making sure we eat at the mere presence of food.

So how do we fight those urges of binging on chocolate cakes and ice cream?

Easily, we learn to suppress out appetite. This comes almost in one very specific sentence.

Eating whole foods high in water, high in fiber and protein rich.

That’s pretty much it.

But let’s make it easier for you to follow by providing some more specific tips.

Tip#1: Eat more protein

Turkey breast is the leanest source of protein
Turkey breast is the leanest source of protein

Satiety is probably the best reason, but protein has another benefit besides suppressing your appetite.

It preserves your muscle mass which is more calorie consuming than your adipose tissue.

In a simpler way, it preserves the parts of your body that are eating up more calories than body fat.

Besides that, protein has the biggest thermic effect of all the macros. Meaning that our body needs to expend more energy to digest it.

Technically we could say that eating 1 gram of protein gives you slightly fewer calories than 4 because of that.

Tip #2: Coffee / Green Tea

Coffee is one of the most controversial stuff.

It is bad for your teeth and sometimes it can make you nervous. If you consume any caffeine in the evening, it might also mess your sleep.

So, it has benefits and drawbacks as well, but regarding suppressing your appetite, it’s a killer. Caffeine tricks your body into feeling full.

My personal favorite is to have a hot cup of Americano every time I am feeling a little hungry and wait for 10 or 15 minutes. The “hot” part is equally important because it makes you take your time with the coffee.

Green tea has great amounts of caffeine and has pretty much the same effect as coffee. On top of that, green tea has a very powerful antioxidant called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has been found to aid in the immune system functionality.

Tip#3: Make everything spicy

spices-dutrition

The main component of chili peppers, that is also responsible for the spiciness, is called Capsaicin. It has been also found in research, that capsaicin aids in suppressing appetite. Especially when on a negative energy balance, through dieting.

The other great benefit is that chili peppers are high in Vitamin C.

Tip #4: Water

Although it may sound strange as a tip in suppressing your appetite, water has two benefits.

Thirst can many times be mistaken by hunger. Which you can only check after drinking a couple of glasses of water.

The second benefit is that it bloats your stomach making you feel full. Simple as that.

Tip #5: Fiber-Rich foods

Fiber is actually making the same thing, taking advantage of the water. Basically, fiber is absorbing liquids so it takes more space in your stomach.

Also, fiber is slowing down your body’s breakdown of carbohydrates. Therefore, you have a steady secretion of insulin and it reduces sudden cravings that you would have after eating small amounts of sugars.

Tip #6: Green Vegetables

Green vegetables also make you feel full, but the point is that they have so few calories, you can eat as much as you want without never reaching your caloric expenditure. I have selected some of the most filling vegetables.

 Per 100gBroccoliCabbageKaleSpinachLettuceMustard Greens
Calories342450231426
Protein2.82g1.44g3.30g2.86g0.90g2.70g
Carbs6.64g5.58g10.01g3.63g2.97g4.90g

Another small tip for Kale is that you can eat it as a snack. Here’s a recipe for chili kale chips.

So you get both vegetables and capsaicin ?

My personal favorites are broccoli and mustard greens because of the ratio of protein to carbs they have. They just can’t mess your macros at all.

Tip #7: Gum

Gum is probably the most underrated appetite suppressant.

It obviously keeps any oral fixations in check, it’s no wonder it helps with quitting smoking.

Gum also helps you produce more saliva which is very helpful in digestion and also lets you dissolve any bits of food still left in your mouth. I don’t think I need to mention that it should be sugar-free. Or I just did?

Tip#8: Soup

Although soup is almost never mentioned in any diet books, it’s a cheat food for fat loss. This is because of the water taking up too much space in your stomach but also because you are swallowing more air with it.

You read right, we are swallowing air while we are eating, especially very hot foods that we have to consume in a slower rate.

Last Tip: Eat on a schedule

diet-pal-dutrition

There is nothing more critical than having your diet in check and being on a proper diet plan. It’s the only way to stay off extreme binges during day or night.

Having a plan makes you accountable and also regulates the hormones that drive you being hungry.

Remember that calories matter above everything when you want to lose the extra weight.

Let’s make a recap

  • Eat more protein
  • Drink coffee/green tea, preferably without any sugar or honey
  • Make your meals spicier
  • Hydrate often
  • Eat more fiber-rich foods
  • Green Vegetables
  • Chew some gum when feeling hungry
  • Substitute a meal with a soup
  • Follow a diet plan

Do you have any tips regarding suppressing your appetite? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • Roberto Zanon

    Really liked the article, and the tips are easy to implement. I also think that fat helps in this direction as well.

    I mean good fats of course. Not sure if they have the same “filling factor” as protein, but I have seen in the past that foods that contain both of them (protein & fat) keep me full for more hours.

    Cheers man 🙂

    • Fat actually slows down the digestion of other macros, therefore you keep steady low levels of insulin. No insulin spikes, means no insulin crashes, therefore greater time to feel hungry. So fat makes sense, only downside is calories. Everything has benefits as long as you find shortcuts to keep the calories low. For example I have even better results If I have some fiber with the protein(wheat bran or legumes).

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