How Food Can Both Perpetuate and Control Your Insatiable Appetite

How Food Can Both Perpetuate and Control Your Insatiable Appetite

You’ve just eaten a large meal and instead of feeling satisfied, you’re opening the fridge to find something else to quell the still- hollow feeling in your stomach. A big slice of cheesecake catches your attention. That ought to do it. Your body is craving something sweet and you must have some. But why?

Why you have an insatiable appetite isn’t always a “piece of cake” to figure out. It could be the types of food you’re eating or the foods you’re not eating that are causing your insatiable appetite. Overeating makes you feel bad about yourself and about your body as you load on the pounds.  You feel a lack the willpower, that you give in too easy to your appetite.

But you continue to do it. The result is a cycle of overeating and feeling bad about it. And it’s not just the extra pounds that are unhealthy, it’s what you’re eating in those extra pounds that could affect your health, leading you into a downward spiral of self-chastisement and health problems.

Now for some positive thoughts. First, it’s important to recognize that it’s not completely your fault. You don’t possess a total lack of willpower. Some foods have the power to encourage you to overeat, but some actually are able to curb your appetite.

Grains

It’s easy to remain hungry when you eat foods high in refined grains, added sugar, and additives. These are usually packaged foods as opposed to whole foods in the produce, meat, and fish sections of the grocery store. Loading up on veggies, fruit, proteins ( eggs, meat, fish), and healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, oily fish, the fat from the skin of animals, and fattier cuts of meat, can naturally regulate your appetite. The reason is they’re high in fiber, nutrients, and in some cases lower in calories … qualities that create fullness and turn off or tone down the desire to keep eating.

 

Protein

Even when you’re restricting your calorie intake, eating a higher proportion of protein can help control your appetite – but you don’t want to overdo it. About 3 ounces of protein per meal is usually enough to do the trick. And when you combine protein and fiber, this duo can even make you feel fuller longer.

 

Blood Sugar Level

Cracking the eating merry-go-round has a good deal to do with controlling blood sugar levels. Foods low on the glycemic index release blood sugars more slowly than those that cause a quick rush of insulin, like sugars and certain carbohydrates. Here are some excellent low-glycemic foods that can take the edge of the hunger monsters:

  • Oats are an excellent way to control that blood sugar spike and start the day right. Oatmeal – rolled, groats or steel cut oats – is a low-glycemic food that’s also high in fiber, which slows down the rate at which carbohydrates are digested and absorbed by the body; that’s as long as you don’t add sugars like table or brown sugar or maple syrup, which can have the opposite effect.
  • Fiber, Resistant Starches, Healthy Fats. Rather than relying on artificial appetite suppressants, a big industry that convinces many people that they can curb their appetite with a miracle pill, some foods contain something called “resistant starches.”
  • Resistant starches use up space in your digestive system to help you feel full more often. It a type of dietary fiber that isn’t absorbed into your bloodstream and so creates the feeling of fullness before it becomes assimilated and leaves your body. Sweet potatoes contain a type of starch that staves off the digestive enzymes.

 

Nuts and Seeds

  • There’s a specific area of the brain associated with cravings and hunger. In a medical center study in Boston, researchers determined that eating walnuts activates that specific area of the brain associated with cravings and hunger. Walnuts regulate hunger pangs and show a definite neurocognitive impact on the brain.
  • Oleic acid fats. Good fats like oleic acid found in nuts, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil, triggers the small intestine to produce Oleic acid finds its way to nerve endings in the brain sending a message to curb the hunger. Fat also delays the stomach from emptying digested food to keep you fuller longer.
  • Hemp seeds are rich in dietary fiber as well as other nutrients. Hemp can help induce weight loss because it is a natural appetite suppressant and makes you feel full longer. Adding just four tablespoons of hemp seed to your meal or snack can reduce your food cravings significantly. Sprinkle over soups, stews, vegetable medleys, yogurt and add to smoothies and other blended juices.
  • Chia seeds have soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber makes chia seeds gel-like; they absorb about 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel. If you soak the seeds overnight and then take a few tablespoons of the chia gel about 10 minutes before each meal you’ll often find that you eat less at that meal. You can also mix chia gel in moist foods or smoothies, yogurt or cereal or pudding.

 

Foods That Fill You Up

  • Veggies. Load up on them first, especially the fibrous ones like acorn squash. Add complex carbs like whole grains, to make your veggie meal more satisfying: beans, whole grain bread (Ezekiel sprouted bread is low in carbs and high in fiber), quinoa, and barley are a few popular ones.
  • Beans are a great dietary fiber. On its own, beans make you feel full. Because beans are also rich in protein, the two nutrients combine to make you feel especially full and satisfied.
  • Avocados are a healthy fatty vegetable whose versatility boosts its ability to make you feel full. Combined with many other foods, avocado keeps you satisfied longer. Make guacamole and spreads, sprinkle on salads, and add to sauces and dressings.
  • Bananas contain a fair amount of sugar, but the natural sugar in bananas don’t have the same insulin-spiking effects that added sugars do, plus they’re fiber-rich, filling, and satisfying.
  • Soups, besides being nourishing, can also satisfy the tummy and reduce hunger. Vegetable, chicken, and bean soups are good varieties to build upon. Limit creamy soups.
  • Water. While water is zero calories, drinking water before a meal will fill up your stomach, leaving less space for food.

 

A Word About Leptins

Besides foods, our own bodies also manufacture appetite-suppressing substances. Leptin, a hormone made by our own body, controls how energy is expended. Leptin helps to regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger. But some people are leptin resistant and for some reason are unable to experience the effects of leptin.

Another roadblock to the appetite suppression action of leptin is that when dieters are consistently under-eating, another hormone takes over, canceling out the effects of leptin. This hormone called ghrelin is often referred to as “the hunger hormone.” If you’re watching your calories, eating high-nutrient, unprocessed foods, fiber, moderate protein, and wondering why you can’t lose weight, ghrelin may be the culprit.

 

Foods to Avoid

Now that you know what weight-losing foods to load up on, you should be aware of which ones to avoid. These should be obvious:

  • Flavored yogurts – they contain added sugars and/or additives.
  • Candy, ice cream, chocolate. They spell sugar and unhealthy fat. (A little dark chocolate high in cacao and low in sugar is ok.)
  • Soda and sweetened beverages. Sodas are sugared water. They have an amazing amount of added sugar; fruit juices can too. Even fresh-squeezed 100-percent juices contain a lot of sugar by themselves.
  • High-processed foods are usually high in calories and low in nutrients. They also tend to cause overeating because of the way they activate reward centers in the brain.
  • Cakes, donuts, cookies, pastries, brownies and other sweets are full of added sugar and high in carbs – a “deadly” duo in stimulating your cravings.
  • Pizza has all that crust, cheese, vegetable oil, and fatty meat like pepperoni and sausage. You’re asking for trouble eating traditional pizza. However, low-carb varieties made from scratch allow you to adjust the crust with low-carb options, healthy oils and load up on vegetables instead of high-calorie and high-fat meats – just go easy on the cheese.
  • White bread, rolls, wraps, pita, and pasta are carb city. Limit them in your diet or eliminate them.
  • Salty snacks like chips, pretzels and fried foods like french fries, fried chicken, and battered vegetables are also high in carbs, unhealthy fats, and sometimes contain additives to stimulate your appetite.