Top Nutritionist, Liam Mahoney reveals his six top tips to help fight those cravings and suppress your appetite
Healthy tips to suppress your appetite
Your body relies on food for energy, so it’s normal to feel hungry if you don’t eat for a few hours. But if your stomach has a constant rumble, even after a meal, there are a few simple yet effective ways you can tweak your diet and lifestyle to help you feel fuller for longer. Top Nutritionist, Liam Mahoney from leading Active Nutrition and protein brand Grenade shares his six top tips to combat hunger.
EAT MORE PROTEIN
Protein is a staple of any healthy diet, with numerous studies showing that protein is the most filling and metabolism boosting of all the macronutrients. To get more protein into your diet and curb hunger cravings it is important to try and consume protein at every meal. Packing more protein into your diet can really help to keep hunger at bay, so opt for lean meats, lentils, eggs and oats to up your protein intake at meal times. Snack wise, I recommend carrying a protein bar with you to make sure you’re not tempted by unhealthy, un-filling options which could only leave you feeling hungrier, and as a result, overeating. I recommend the Carb Killa bars from Grenade, each bar is packed with over 20g of protein, and at just 220 calories per bar, they’re the ideal alternative to chocolate and convenience foods. They’re also packed with fibre and contain less than 1.5g of sugar.
DRINK MORE WATER
Water intake is incredibly important for your overall health, but it can also help to make you feel full. The body finds it difficult to tell the difference between hunger and thirst, meaning that often when you feel hungry, a glass of water could do the trick. Aim to drink around 2-3 litres of water each day, and also try to incorporate water-based foods into your diet, such as broccoli, asparagus, or celery, as these too can help to control hunger pangs.
CUT BACK ON STARCHY, SUGARY CARBS
Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are not the enemy. However, certain starchy, sugary carbs, such as, white bread, cakes and cookies are nothing but empty calories that will leave you feeling incredibly unsatisfied. They will satisfy your hunger pangs for a short period of time, but soon after you’ll be craving something else. If your diet is packed with these kinds of foods, you’ll very rarely stay full and often end up craving more and more sugar, which isn’t good news for your health, or your waistline. Pay close attention to the nutritional content of the foods you’re eating, as fruits and vegetables loaded with fibre can help to suppress your appetite and leave you with more energy.
EAT LITTLE AND OFTEN
Eating a large meal comprised primarily of refined starchy foods will cause the sugar level in your blood to rise, but once that meal is digested, energy levels crash and then sugar cravings begin to strike. The bigger the meal, the higher your need for sugary snacks to refuel your body, and eating an entire bag of crisps or chocolate might satisfy a craving, but it won’t curb the hunger, so you end up eating more. Frequent, small meals on the other hand deliver manageable amounts of energy, keeping blood sugar levels stable and hunger under control, whilst allowing the body to function more efficiently throughout the course of the day.
PLAN AND PREP
Planning and preparing what you are going to eat in advance will encourage you to make conscious choices about your food. When you plan ahead, you may notice that your appetite actually decreases because you’re aware of what you are going to eat next, so you will be less likely to worry about your cravings and impulsively snacking. Food journaling is also a great way of keeping track of what you are eating, as it will encourage you to consider what you’ve already eaten, and what you plan to eat later. When you plan and prep, you can ensure you are eating foods that will satisfy your hunger and keep you fuller for longer.
GET MORE SLEEP
When sleep is interrupted or shortened, ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite, often referred to as the ‘hunger hormone’ increases and leptin, the hormone that will suppress your appetite decreases. To keep your levels of ghrelin down, aim to get the recommended eight hours of sleep a night and avoid foods and meals high in sugar before bedtime, as they will cause a surge in blood sugar and increase energy, which in turn will disturb your sleep, making you feel cranky and hungry the next day.