11 Science-Backed Ways to Reduce Cravings and Appetite

This post is all about proven ways on how to reduce cravings, so your sweet tooth can stop ruining your diet

Dieting is one of the most daring and challenging things a person can do. Other than the fact that eating is so much fun, it’s also addictive. This is why many people get caught up with the fact that they can really never lose weight from dieting – but let us change that perspective. 

I will be giving you my 11 best foolproof ways on how you can stop being hungry most, if not all the time, and eliminate those sugary cravings!

Disclaimer: This article is meant for people that have a healthy relationship with food and aren’t restricting themselves. At a bare minimum, an adult female should be getting 1,600 calories a day (when trying to lose weight). Do not use this article if you are under-eating. This is only meant for those that are eating enough food but are still chronically hungry.

Alright, let’s get into it….

Hunger as a state of mind

Many aspiring philosophers believe the fact that hunger is a mental state. However, based on Science, hunger is actually physiological. Hunger basically works like this: your body signals that you’re hungry, for instance, your stomach grumbles. Then your appetite hits you and it is the brain’s way of telling you that your body needs food. 

However, that might not always be the case. Ignoring the growls and the urges of your body to eat might in fact do more harm than good. So what do you need to do? You can do a couple of things to keep your mind off of that “hunger feeling.” 

According to Alina Petre, MS, a Registered Dietitian, who actually is also a writer and a speaker, these are some of the best Science-based ways on how people can control that nagging hunger feeling…

Drink Coffee

I don’t trust people who don’t drink coffee….

Name one person who doesn’t like drinking coffee?! Other than the fact that it can wake you up even when you’d rather hit the snooze for the hundredth time, coffee actually imposes a ton of health benefits. Dr. Petre said that drinking coffee increases the release of peptide YY (PYY) which is the hormone that promotes the feeling of fullness in the body.

She says that the PYY levels play a crucial role in the distinction of how likely a person would feel the urge to eat. So if you already had a big lunch and are still craving more food, a nice cup of coffee can help sway that feeling…

Eat Dark Chocolate

Contrary to drinking coffee, I might know only a handful of people who are in love with dark chocolate (I am one of them! The more bitter, the better). Because of its bitter taste and indistinctive appeal, eating dark chocolate has been found to decrease a person’s appetite. 

Not only that, dark chocolate can also be the key in order for your sweet tooth to come to a full stop.

This is completely anecdotal, but I have found that my sweet tooth has basically diminished when I started incorporating dark chocolate at the end of my dinner instead of sugary treats. If you always want something sweet, try and work your way up to a nice 90% cacao bar and see if your sweet tooth goes away.

In addition to that, some experts and dietitians also believe that the stearic acid, a long-chain saturated fatty acid, found in dark chocolate can help moderate digestion; this leads to you feeling full. 

Exercise regularly

I cannot emphasize this enough – exercising not only makes you look and feel good, it also helps with your eating behavior. Exercise has been known to put a decrease in the brain region activations linked to cravings and eating, thus, resulting to a lower motivation to eat. 

Moreover, exercising can also decrease the hunger hormone levels while at the same time, increasing the hormones of feeling full. How’s that for a work out? 

Get more hours of sleep

It’s actually simple logic – when you sleep more, you won’t feel hungry. As stupid as it may sound, it’s actually legitimate. On a Scientific perspective, being sleep-deprived can heighten the feeling of appetite and hunger by up to a total of 24 percent. In conjunction with that, it also decreases the hormones that make you feel full by up to 26 percent. 

Therefore, it’s safe to say that if you have the correct amounts of sleep per day, your body would not be craving food constantly because you would mostly feel and be full. A general standard of “enough” sleep for adults anything between six to eight hours. 

Use smaller plates

This is not a joke; in fact, according to a study, reducing the size of dinnerware can unconsciously help you reduce the proportions of your meals. This will then result to you consuming less and lesser food without you even noticing it. 

Don’t believe us? Well, even the most aware eater can actually overeat without realizing it. Take this study as an example; nutrition experts served themselves 31 percent more of the ice cream available when they were given larger bowls – will repeat for emphasis, nutrition experts overate when they were given a larger bowl.

Omega-3 Fats are your friends

If you haven’t heard of omega-3, then you might not be consuming enough of it. Have you ever seen canned tuna? You’ll probably notice it says ‘rich in omega-3’s’ in big bold writing. Omega-3 is one of the primary nutrients good for the heart. Also, it’s one of the most reliable sources of leptin, the hormone responsible for the feeling of fullness. 

Diets that are rich in omega-3 servings are delicious and beneficial for weight loss at the same time. 

Eat ginger

Ginger can be the single most-hated ingredient in the planet but it’s also one of the healthiest. This ingredient has been linked to a ton of health benefits which include decreased blood sugar levels, inflammation, reduced muscle pain, and nausea. 

But one thing that stands out in this context is that ginger has also been greatly linked to weight-loss. How? Because it reduces the hunger feeling in people. 

A study was able to find and observe that just 2 grams of ginger/ginger powder diluted in hot water during breakfast did not only promote health benefits, but it decreased the appetite too. The participants felt a feeling of being full after taking the solution. 

Drink plenty of water

Water is the only God-given liquid on this planet so it’s quite obvious that it’s beneficial for us. Many studies have revolved around the significance of water in our diets but how does this help in the avoidance of feeling hungry? 

Well, since drinking a ton of water is one of the simplest and best approach to weight-loss, it’s also an effective way of tricking your mind and body that you are full. Scientists and dietitians believe that drinking around 500 milliliters (ml) of water or around 17 oz is actually enough to contract the stomach lining and send the signals that you are full.

Not only that, but our bodies are very bad at distinguishing the difference between being dehydrated and hungry. Sometimes we think we’re hungry when in reality, we just haven’t had enough water that day.

Eat fiber-rich food

Similar to omega-3 fatty acids, allowing yourself to consume foods that are high in-fiber can also be amazing for your body. Fiber finds its way into the lining of the stomach and retarding the emptying rate, making the illusion that we are still full. In turn, it does great influence to our brains, making it release leptin or the feeling full hormones. 

Reduce your stress

Stress is natural, who doesn’t get stressed out? With everything happening all around us, it is normal to be stressed at times. But did you know that stress is greatly linked to eating? And voila, that’s when the term “stress eating” was coined. 

It might seem a bit ridiculous but as science suggests, a rise in the stress levels also alarms cortisol, the body’s natural stress hormone. Having high levels of cortisol in the body also raises the feeling of hunger as the brain will think that this is the only way our bodies will be able to cope with stress.

This is why varying activities that can help you reduce stress can, in turn, be an excellent way on how you can reduce the “hunger feeling” most of the time. With practice, you will be able to easily say no and turn your back around that slushy chocolate cake. 

Visualize yourself eating what you crave

This might seem a bit silly, but according to some experts, this does actually work. Just beware, though, remember to not do this in front of a lot of people because you might come out as a creeper. But experiments have been made and they’ve proven that visualizing yourself munching on whatever you’re craving for releases the craving feeing.

Take this experiment for instance, a total of 51 participants imagined eating between three (3) and 33 M&Ms before being presented a full bowl of candy. And as you imagined it, the people who imagined eating more M&Ms ate about 60 percent less of the candy than those who thought of eating less. 

Hunger is a normal thing; in fact, it is your body’s natural alarm to tell you that hey, you might want to fill your stomach out ‘cause it’s been a while since you last ate. But sometimes, you’re not noticing it and your cravings get the best of you. 

Controlling your hunger takes practice and a lot of patience – you might feel that you’re depriving yourself but think about the positive things that will happen to you when you overcome it and are able to stop stress or boredom eating. 

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