If you’re trying to lose weight, you likely know you need to reduce your caloric intake. The problem is, it’s hard to do because many of us feel hungry and our cravings kick in when we start cutting back. One of the main reasons individuals can’t decrease their calorie intake is because of their hunger.
Feeling full and satisfied is essential for maintaining a healthy diet and preventing overeating. While it’s tempting to reach for processed, calorie-dense foods when hunger strikes, incorporating natural, nutrient-dense options into your meals and snacks will help you stay fuller for longer, help control swings in blood sugar, and can reduce risk for chronic diseases. In addition to choosing healthier foods and beverages, there are several other scientifically backed tips and tricks that help the brain tamp down your appetite and ramp up feelings of satisfaction.
Here are 10 great ways to help you feel full while eating less. Read on, and for more, don’t miss these 30 Low-Calorie Snacks That Are Filling & Tasty.
However, it is still unclear that intermittent fasting is superior to other weight loss methods, I have seen many clients who have explained that when they follow a time-restricted eating pattern of eating during a 10-hour window and fasting for a 14-hour window helps them keep their hunger and appetite in check. Often, we mindlessly eat at night or at other times when we have no physiological hunger. When you try time-restricted intermittent fasting, you can help avoid mindlessly eating.
They say variety is the spice of life, but too much variety in your meals may be one reason why you’re consistently overeating. There’s a scientific reason why you’ll overconsume calories when you enjoy a holiday dinner, at a party, or when eating from a buffet—it’s called sensory-specific satiety. Sensory-specific satiety is a psychological phenomenon that plays a key role in limiting food intake. It refers to the decrease in the pleasure derived from consuming a particular type of food as we consume more of it.
Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that both normal-weight and obese women are equally impacted by sensory-specific satiety. Limiting the number of different foods at a meal can help individuals feel more satisfied and potentially control their food intake. By reducing the number of different flavors and aromas on your plate, you’ll naturally feel satisfied sooner. This can lead to a greater sense of satisfaction with the meal, ultimately supporting healthier eating habits and portion control.
Food manufacturers have perfected the art of making delicious, crave-able foods that are digested quickly and make us want more and more. A review study published in Clinical Chemistry outlines how foods with specific combinations of ingredients, like sugar and refined carbohydrates, fat, and salt can trigger addictive-like behaviors. When we eat foods that have high glycemic loads (read: high in sugar and refined carbohydrates) it triggers a feel-good dopamine response in the brain. When the response diminishes, it makes us crave these foods more, despite not even having any physiological hunger.
According to one University of Michigan study published in PLOS ONE, the most addictive foods, the most addictive-type foods include chocolate, ice cream, French fries, pizza, cookies, chips, cake, buttered popcorn, cheeseburgers, muffins, breakfast cereal, and gummy candies. What these foods have in common is that they are all highly processed and have added fat or refined carbohydrates, the researchers write.
Emerging research suggests that getting an adequate amount of sleep plays a crucial role in controlling hunger hormones and preventing overeating. One key study published in the British Journal of Nutrition reported that poor sleep resulted in increases in hunger hormones, resulting in participants reporting being hungry after poor sleep. This and other studies show that sleep deprivation leads to an increase in ghrelin, the hormone responsible for stimulating appetite, while decreasing levels of leptin, which signals fullness.
Prioritizing sufficient sleep, typically around 7-9 hours per night for adults, can help restore the balance of these hormones, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight and resist the temptation to overeat.
Starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal or refreshing overnight oats can help fuel your satisfaction. Oats are rich in soluble fiber, particularly beta-glucans, which have been extensively studied for their appetite-suppressing effects (not to mention their ability to lower harmful, LDL-cholesterol levels). One notable study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition demonstrated that consuming oatmeal increased feelings of fullness and reduced hunger compared to a low-fiber cereal, leading to fewer calories consumed later in the day.
This sustained feeling of fullness not only helps in controlling calorie intake but also supports better portion control and healthier eating habits. In addition to eating oats hot or cold, you can also incorporate them into smoothies, baked goods, and ground meats to increase feelings of fullness.