Arguably the most common cause for weight gain, obesity and people generally being unhappy with their weight comes from overeating and always feeling hungry and being hungry and craving the wrong thing is a major part of this, so eliminating this is key to being fit, healthy and happy.
How do you eliminate hunger and cravings? If you want to eliminate hunger and food cravings you should eat more fiber and nutrient-rich food, drink more water, get better quality sleep, reduce stress, plan and prepare your meals, use supplements and exercise.
There are also other ways to help fight that hunger and food cravings, which will also stop you feeling uncomfortably full up, so continue reading to find out about these other food biohacks and also why what you’ve already seen is proven to work.
Reducing stress decreases the level of the hormone cortisol in the body. A high cortisol level is shown to increase the craving for food.
Stress reduction could also help to increase the levels of the aforementioned Peptide YY (one of the fullness hormones).
Stress is also linked to obesity and depression – both of which have links to eating and more specifically overeating.
Getting enough sleep
You may not realize it but your appetite is related to your hormones, how they work and if they’re working properly.
Not getting enough sleep can stop these hormones from ‘fluctuating’ (working properly) and can lead to a constant feeling of hunger.
Studies have also found that people who do not get enough sleep and are ‘sleep-deprived’ are 55% more likely to become obese.
If you want to biohack and get an excellent night’s sleep, here’s a complete guide to help you.
Exercise reduces the activation of the section of the brain which is linked to food cravings – leading to less of a want to eat.
Further, it has been shown that both aerobic and resistance training and exercise can help to reduce hunger hormone levels and increase the feelings of fullness after a meal.
Solids over liquids
Calories in liquids and solids differ in the way they can affect your appetite and this is useful to know when eliminating hunger and cravings.
Studies have found that consuming your calories in solid foods provides a higher feeling of satiety due to the chewing that takes place allowing more time for signals of fullness to reach the brain.
It’s thought that 500ml of water is enough to stretch the stomach to the feeling of being full.
Studies have shown that people who drink two glasses of water right before a meal, actually eat 22% less than those who don’t drink any.
If you begin to feel hungry or experience an urge for food out of nowhere, drink a glass of water and wait for a little bit and see if the ‘hunger’ feeling passes.
Fiber and nutrient-rich foods
Studies have shown that adding fiber-rich foods such as beans, peas, and chickpeas to your meal can increase the feeling of fullness by up to 31%.
This is because a high fiber intake actually stretches the stomach, this slows its emptying rate and also influences the release of fullness hormones.
Because of this increased feeling of fullness, eating an extra 14 grams of fiber each day can decrease your calorie intake by 10%, which in turn could lead to a weight loss equating to 4.2 lbs (or 1.9 kg).
Consume more protein
Protein can increase the feeling of fullness and reduce the amount you eat in your next meal – keeping you from overeating and reducing your appetite.
A study on overweight men and protein intake found that increasing protein intake to 25% of daily total calorie intake reduced cravings by 60%.
Further, the desire to snack at night time was reduced by 50%.
Take spinach extract
As the name suggests, spinach extract is a newer supplement on the market which is made from spinach leaves.
- Delaying fat digestion
- Increasing the levels of hormones which reduce hunger and appetite
Studies have backed up these benefits with very impressive results.
One study found that taking just 3-5 grams of spinach extract with a meal can reduce appetite and cravings for up to several hours.
Further, and even more impressively, one study in overweight women found 5 grams of spinach extract per day helped to reduce cravings for both chocolate and high sugar foods from anywhere in between 87 and 95%
Coffee’s benefits in performance in both sport and day to day life is clear.
But, it could also help to reduce your appetite. Peptide YY is a hormone that is produced in the gut after eating – it provides a greater feeling of fullness.
It’s suggested that Peptide YY plays a significant role in how much you eat – more research is needed on this suggestion, however.
Coffee has been shown to increase the release of this hormone – which means coffee can help you to feel more full.
Furthermore, another study found that just smelling (85%) dark chocolate can. Smelling it can decrease appetite and hunger hormones which usually come from eating it.
Ginger is linked with a number of health benefits including – reducing muscle pain, nausea, blood sugar levels, and inflammation.
One study found that consuming just 2 grams of ginger powder mixed with hot water before eating breakfast led to participants feeling less hungry following their meal.
More research is needed into the links between ginger and hunger however as research is currently scarce.
Capsaicin (the spice found in hot peppers) and capsiate (the spice found in sweet ones) have both been shown to reduce the feelings of hunger and increase the feelings of fullness.
The heat which these spices produce can also help to increase the number of calories which are burnt following a meal.
Through their ability to increase the levels of the hormone leptin, Omega-3 fats can help to increase the feeling of fullness in obese people.
This can be specifically useful for overweight people on diets that restrict calories, carbs, etc. These fats can be found in fish and algae oils.
In 2015, a study found that chewing gum leads to a reduction in appetite and cravings. Showing gum as a good potential alternative to other high-sugar and high-calorie snacks.
Cutlery and Crockery
Size does matter, especially if you are trying to stop hunger and cravings.
The size of your plates and cutlery can help you to consume less, and increase the feeling of fullness after a meal.
Smaller plates mean a reduction in portion size – whether consciously done so or not – this will help to reduce the amount of food you consume and reduce the feeling of hunger following a smaller meal size.
One study showed that even nutrition experts unconsciously serve more food to themselves when presented with larger plates or bowls.
Bigger cutlery – specifically forks – can have a huge effect on the amount you. Studies have shown that up to 10% less food can be (unconsciously) consumed just through using a larger fork.
Mindful, planned eating
When eating without distraction the brain easily recognizes the signals which indicate fullness and hunger.
Eating quickly or being distracted while eating can confuse your brain and make it difficult for your brain to recognize and understand the signals as it normally would.
Studies have found that mindful eating can promote pleasure in eating, with the focus shifting from quantity to quality of the food being eaten – this can reduce binge eating behavior which leads to so many people overeating and gaining weight.
Also, when you plan and prepare your food in advance, you set your body and mind up to expect this, and when you plan when you are eating too, this radically reduces the body’s cravings.
And you have nutrient-dense foods too, you fuel the body and mind in a way that will help stop that drive to quickly get energy, vitamin or minerals the body craves, which will stop the snacking and short-term fixes you can easily fall prey to.
There is a wide array of ways you can reduce your appetite, whether that is adding something to your foods, reducing outside factors or simply chewing some gum.
The best thing to do is to test which method works for you. Testing and trialing, patience and commitment are key to not just eliminating hunger and craving but also, ultimately, losing weight and achieving your goals.