You don’t need to resort to starvation diets or unhealthy appetite suppressing pills to lose weight.
There are plenty of natural tips, tricks and even foods that can stop you reaching for that second helping. Here are 19 of the best:
1. Balance Blood Sugar Levels
Keeping your blood glucose levels stable is key when it comes to managing hunger and staving off unpleasant side effects like headaches, weight gain, fluctuations in mood.
Here are 10 secrets to help you naturally enjoy balanced blood sugar levels throughout the day.
2. Sprinkle Cinnamon on Your Food
This delicious spice hasn’t been described as ‘nature’s gastric band’ for nothing! In a 2007 study, scientists asked participants to add just 6g of cinnamon to rice pudding in order to determine its effect on appetite.
They found that the cinnamon slowed the absorption of carbohydrates from the small intestine. This led to the cinnamon group of participants feeling fuller for longer than those who ate the pudding without cinnamon.
Of course, seasoning food with herbs and spices serves to make them taste better – and foods which taste good are more satisfying than bland ones, which also helps prevent overeating.
3. Add a Little Cayenne Pepper Too
Cayenne pepper is well known for its ability to kill pain in the body, thanks to the presence of a compound called capsaicin.
Capsaicin is also one of the secrets behind cayenne’s appetite suppressing effects – and one of the reasons that many celebrities use cayenne in their weight loss tonics and detox drinks.
A 2009 study which looked at the effect of capsaicin on appetite found that people who consumed capsaicin with green tea experienced less hunger and increased fullness.
Capsaicin also has thermo-genetic properties – which means it causes your body temperature to rise, increasing blood flow and metabolism.
4. Brush Your Teeth
Not only does brushing your teeth distract you from your hunger, but it will make you think twice about biting into sugary snacks with your clean, pearly whites!
If you use a mint-flavored toothpaste, you’ll be curbing your appetite even more. When researchers looked at the effect of peppermint on hunger levels, they found that simply smelling the peppermint led participants to eat ‘significantly fewer’ total calories, calories from saturated fat, total fat and sugar.
The people who took part also rated their hunger levels and food cravings as significantly lower than those who did not inhale the peppermint.
5. Sip on Green Tea
Green tea is an incredible tonic with numerous health benefits. But it’s also a great drink to have on hand to prevent overeating.
What’s more, these polyphenols also have anti-depressant like effects, which can help fight the anxiety and depression that lead to emotional eating.
If you’re not sold on the benefits of green tea for appetite suppression and weight loss, consider this: green tea increases the release of cholecystokinin (CCK), a digestive hormone that actually tells the brain the body is full!
Other foods which stimulate the release of CCK include beans and nuts.
6. Use Blue Plates
Bizarrely, the color blue when used in tableware is known to kill appetite.
2011 research found that study subjects who ate from blue plates tended to eat less than those who ate from other colored plates. Avoid red, yellow and orange tableware as they can increase appetite!
7. Start With Salad or Soup
Eating a salad or bowl of broth-based soup before your lunch or dinner can suppress your appetite and help you eat less of your main meal.
Studies have found that consuming two servings of low calorie soup daily can lead to 50% greater weight loss than consuming the same amount of calories from a snack food!
8. Go To Bed On Time
Sleep is vital to help us recharge our batteries and allow the body to heal itself. Sleep is also necessary for our ‘hunger hormones’ to reset themselves.
Studies have shown that those who don’t get enough sleep tend to be hungrier and crave sweet and salty foods.
If you’re struggling to nod off at night, these natural sleep remedies should help you.
9. Sniff Your Food
You don’t always need to eat to feel full! Several studies have shown that just smelling the food can be enough to trick your brain into turning off its hunger signals.
10. Diffuse Essential Oils
Just like smelling foods can help suppress appetite, so can inhaling certain essential oils.
The key is to vary the oils you diffuse to prevent desensitization, which means the effectiveness of the inhaled oils would diminish. Rotating oils like peppermint, grapefruit, bergamot, patchouli and lemon can all help kill your hunger. Invest in a diffuser necklace and regularly change the pads to experience the benefits.
For more ways to use essential oils to benefit your waistline, why not check out this epic guide to essential oils for weight loss?
While you may think that working out can serve to increase your appetite, some studies say differently.
In 2012 research, 18 normal-weight and 17 obese women were asked to briskly walk on a treadmill for 45 minutes in the morning. They were then shown pictures of food while their brain activity was recorded. The women also logged what they ate throughout the day.
Researchers found that the morning exercise suppressed their desire for food, as measured by their brain activity and food diaries.
However, a similar study the previous year found that consistent exercise helped curb appetites in fit women but made generally sedentary women hungrier!
The bottom line? Work out every day, get fit and you will soon see a reduction in cravings.
12. Manage Your Stress
We all know that stress and anxiety can lead to emotional overeating and binge eating in many people. But now scientists can explain exactly why this is!
Chronic stress causes levels of ghrelin (the appetite stimulating hormone) to rise in the body. This serves to decrease feelings of depression and anxiety in the short-term.
So while are bodies are doing us a favor by helping us relax and boost our mood, an unfortunate side effect is that we eat more!
13. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners and Empty Calories
Empty calories refer to those foods which provide calories, but next to no nutrients whatsoever! Think chips, sodas, muffins and most processed goods and you’re on the right track.
Because foods like this don’t exist in nature, our bodies are naturally expecting a hit of vitamins and minerals to go along with the rapid influx of sugar and calories. When they don’t get it, they need to use some of our stored nutrients to burn these calories, leaving us in ‘nutrient debt’. The body then craves more food to make up for these depleted nutrients.
By eating whole, nutritious foods – as nature intended – you’ll ensure your body only signals for more food when it actually needs it.
14. Eat An Apple a Day
Apples contain a type of soluble fiber called pectin which reduces the amount of sugar and calories that are absorbed into the bloodstream after eating – ensuring more stable blood sugar levels.
According to Dr. Oz, an apple can keep you full for up to two hours after eating, making it the perfect mid-morning snack.
15. Treat Yourself To Dark Chocolate
If you really need to satisfy your sweet tooth, nibble on a square of high quality dark chocolate – containing at least 70% cocoa.
In a study of white and dark chocolate, it was found that participants who ate dark chocolate experienced more stable blood sugar levels than those who at the white variety.
What’s more, another study found that those who ate dark chocolate a few hours before a pizza actually ate 15% less than the people who ate milk chocolate.
16. Cook With Coconut Oil
This tropical oil has so many uses – in the home, in beauty products and in the kitchen.
Coconut oil can attribute a lot of its health benefits to the fact that is made up of a high percentage of medium-chain fatty acids, rather than the long-chain fatty acids found in many other oils.
Scientists have proven that MCFAs are oxidized in the liver and are more likely to be burned as fuel instead of stored as fat, like LCFAs are.
Swap your regular cooking oil for coconut and enjoy decreased appetite levels. In fact, here are six ways that coconut oil can help you with your weight loss goals!
17. Take Apple Cider Vinegar Daily
In a 2005 study, participants were given varying levels of the fermented vinegar along with white bread – a simple carbohydrate known for causing blood sugar peaks and dips.
Blood tests showed that the higher the levels of vinegar taken, the lower the blood glucose and insulin levels of participants. The people who took the most vinegar also reported feeling fuller than the others.
Try these five tasty ways to get your daily dose of ACV and quell your hunger.
18. Kick Off The Day With Coffee
If you’ve read these 12 Scientifically Proven Reasons To Drink Coffee Every Day, you’ll know that caffeine is a great metabolism booster.
Many nutrition experts recommend drinking a glass or two of water when hunger hits. That’s because sometimes our bodies think they’re hungry when actually, they are dehydrated.
Studies may back this advice up. In 2012, researchers discovered that people who drank 17oz (500ml) of water before every meal lost 44% more weight over a 12-week period than those who didn’t.
The researchers believe this occurred because the water increased feelings of fullness, and prevented participants from eating more than they needed to.