When it comes to weight loss, one of the biggest challenges that people face (and one of the biggest reasons why weight loss isn’t always initially successful) is due to the fact that we are so often tempted by snacks – particularly junk foods, such as potato chips, baked goods, or are simply just not eating the right foods. For one to be successful in their weight loss journey, Dr. Ghahary recommends following a diet that is low in carbohydrates, while higher in protein and fibre – such as the South Beach diet, which you can read more about here.
The foods that you eat can play a huge role in feelings of hunger – especially in-between meals. In fact, some foods are much more likely to crank up your cravings than others. The sight, smell and taste of certain foods can also trigger what’s known as a cephalic phase response – the way in which the brain responds to food. For example, cheese is a food that may trigger hunger due to milk containing a protein known as casein, which triggers an opiate-like response. Because cheese is a concentrated form of milk, this effect is often induced when it is consumed – not to mention the higher concentrations of fat and salt that some cheeses have. Low-fat yogurt, while definitely healthy, can also leave you wanting more, but it’s also higher in carbs. If you’re wanting to eat a healthy yogurt and satisfy your hunger at the same time, Dr. Ghahary suggests opting for Greek yogurt. It’s higher in protein, and you can also add additional toppings such as your own fruit, nuts or seeds to give your body an extra dose of fibre and antioxidants, which are never a bad thing to get enough of. Eggs are considered healthy due to their nutritional value and can be incorporated into meals in a lot of different ways (breakfast omelettes, for example.) That being said, people will often opt to make their omelettes out of just the egg whites, which can actually increase hunger. In order to reap the benefits of eggs, including healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, then you should also include the egg yolk. You can read more about what makes eggs so healthy by clicking here. Sugar is also bad for you, and that’s something that almost everyone is (or at least should be) aware of by now. It’s even possible to become addicted to sugar, as it’s something that can entice one to want to overeat and doesn’t even provide the body with any kind of nourishment. For those reasons, sugar is something you should do your best to avoid and replace it with healthier “sweets” like fresh fruit. Something else you may not be aware of is that certain condiments, such as ketchup, can also trick the body into thinking it’s not full. This is because ketchup is made with high fructose corn syrup, which can cause one’s appetite to grow as well as interrupts your body’s metabolism and production of leptin. So, the next time you’re thinking of slathering ketchup on that healthy veggie burger or yam fries? Reconsider.
When it comes to curbing your hunger, one of the best things you can do is re-evaluate your diet. There are also certain foods that can help put those cravings at bay. As mentioned, having a diet that is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates is something Dr. Ghahary suggests for anyone looking to lose weight. However, protein is also helpful in reducing appetite. Fibre can also help to reduce hunger and leave you feeling fuller. Some specific foods that are great in curbing your appetite include avocados, flaxseed, legumes (such as beans, peas or lentils), broth-based and vegetable soups, cottage cheese, oatmeal, fish, lean poultry, and almonds…just to name a few. If sweet foods are something you’re absolutely craving, and fruit just isn’t appealing to you, try a piece of dark chocolate. Some studies have shown that it can actually slow down digestion and reduce hunger. Dark chocolate is also considered much healthier compared to milk chocolate or white chocolate. Lastly, you can also try reducing the size of the plate in which you’re eating off of, as the larger the plate is the mood food you will be likely to consume.