When you feel ravenous, there’s not much that can keep you from reaching for some snacks. Even in these moments, you can help calm your cravings with appetite suppressant foods. Could they be the key to managing your appetite? Read on to find out what they are and how they work!
What Are Natural Appetite Suppressants?
When you think about suppressing your appetite, the first thing that probably pops into your mind is a synthetic diet pill that works “miracles” on your body weight. But that’s not what this article is about, instead we’re focusing on the tools nature has given us: foods that help manage your appetite.
These foods can help you stick to your nutrition plan when you get cravings for chips, candy, and other junk foods, or want to eat before your next meal. These situations get difficult when you can’t tell if you’re really hungry or if it’s just a craving.
What Is the Difference Between Hunger and Appetite?
Let’s start by getting to the bottom of this question. How are cravings different from hunger? Hunger is like an alarm clock – when it produces the hunger hormone ghrelin, the brain is signaling your body to up your energy intake when blood sugar levels are low. This innate cue protects you from malnutrition (or just the odd hanger attack!)
Cravings work differently. External sensory stimuli can set off a sudden desire to eat. You might see a luscious cake in an ad. Maybe your neighbor is baking up a storm and the delicious smells are wafting over to you. But this kind of craving can also be related to psychological factors like stress, or might come up because you just enjoy eating or have particular foods that you crave.
Find out more about how to avoid stress eating in this article.
Do Appetite Suppressants Help You Lose Weight?
Knowing the difference between hunger and cravings, and especially learning how to recognize it before your next meal, is crucial if your fitness goals include weight loss. This is where these special foods come in. They don’t magically drop the kilos for you, but they do help you better manage your cravings so you consume fewer calories.
If you only eat when you’re really hungry, you’ll automatically eat less overall, which is what counts! Because if weight loss is part of your nutrition plan, you’ll need to maintain a moderate calorie deficit.
Learn more about calculating your personal calorie intake goals with our free body check.
Manage Your Appetite With These Foods
Don’t worry, we’re not going to keep you waiting any longer! In this section we’ll discuss some foods that work wonders to curb cravings. And we’ll get into how each individual appetite suppressant actually works. So let’s get started!
Ginger is first up because it’s already got quite a reputation as a superfood. Its distinctive and striking flavor makes this root a popular ingredient in various cuisines. Ginger stimulates several zones on your tongue, which also has a useful side effect: it’s supposed to reduce your hunger. On top of that, ginger can also boost metabolism after a meal!
So treat yourself to some tea throughout the day – thinly slice some ginger, pour hot water over it, and enjoy the sensation. Ginger also pairs perfectly with mint and lemon for a refreshing bottle of infused water.
Make sure to put some lentils on your plate, too. These low-fat legumes have fewer calories by weight than many meats, as well as a high percentage of dietary fiber, which expands, fills your stomach, makes you feel full quickly, and can help keep you feeling full. Include high-fiber food in your meal to not only stay full for a few hours longer, but also eat a smaller amount of calories in total.
Speaking of dietary fiber – rolled oats also have plenty of grams of fiber, so they’re another food that can help reduce hunger for longer.
The essential oils contained in peppermint can also satisfy your need for sweets. So if you’re feeling hungry, drink a cup of peppermint green tea, or a glass of water infused with fresh mint first. Some people also swear by chewing gum or brushing their teeth with a mint toothpaste when cravings strike.
If you like it hot, you can use chili to your advantage. The sensation of spiciness in a meal may help you reduce the amount of food you eat overall, which is why it’s the subject of research as an appetite suppressant. One study by Purdue University concluded that cayenne pepper can help curb your feelings of hunger, especially if you don’t normally use it. In their results they reported that participants had fewer cravings for high-fat, salty, and sweet foods after eating cayenne.
That’s plenty of options already, but there’s still one important appetite suppressant we haven’t mentioned yet: protein! Recommendations for weight loss often include a high-protein diet, and there’s been a lot of research conducted on this kind of diet. One study reported that an increased intake of protein had a positive influence on participants’ feelings of hunger and satiety.
Our tip: If you’re still looking for something to cover or supplement your daily protein needs, our Whey Protein or our 3K Protein could be just the thing! Whey Protein is a quick and easy source of protein to fend off blood sugar spikes.Click here for our protein products
Are Hunger Suppressants Dangerous/proteins?
Natural appetite suppressant ingredients aren’t dangerous as long as you don’t have any allergies or intolerances to them. However, they also aren’t a cure all and should be planned into a nutritious and balanced diet so that they can work the way you want them to – and you don’t experience the notorious yo-yo effect.
Make sure you don’t lose sight of the fact that not only is every person different, but also every metabolism. What works for one person may not work for another! So if you want to balance your appetite in the long run, and not just suffer through a short-term diet, take some time to figure out which food options work best for you.
Synthetically produced suppressants are a different matter because they do have possible side effects. For example, a common active ingredient called sibutramine could increase the risk of a stroke and heart attack, while the active ingredient phenolphthalein may be carcinogenic. Be careful!
Household Remedies: Appetite suppressant foods in your own pantry
Fortunately, there are household remedies known for their effects on appetite. Probably the best known is also the easiest: when you feel a craving coming on, it’s always a good idea to drink one or two glasses of water first. Warm water can reduce hungers pangs even more for some people.
Another well-known household remedy for managing your hunger cues is to make yourself a cup of herbal tea or a low-calorie broth. It fills your stomach and tricks your instincts. Sometimes a distraction may help when you’re reaching for unhealthy snacks. Find an activity that makes you forget about food for a while. Try going for a walk or focusing on that thing you’ve always wanted to fix around the house!
- Foods can suppress your appetite and minimize cravings without any artificial supplements.
- Ginger, chili, lentils, peppermint, and oatmeal are all considered natural appetite suppressants, but they work in different ways.
- Protein, water and fiber can also make you feel fuller for longer, have a positive effect on your cravings, and help with weight loss.
- Use caution when taking artificial products for reducing hunger or weight loss, some of which can be hazardous to your health.
Bundeszentrum für Ernährung (2020): Ingwer
Bundeszentrum für Ernährung (2015): Mehr Ballaststoffe
DGE (2012): Mehr Ballaststoffe bitte!
Purdue University (2011): Study: Reasonable quantities of red pepper may help curb appetite
Gwin, Maki, Leidy (2017): Increased Protein Consumption During the Day From an Energy-Restricted Diet Augments Satiety but Does Not Reduce Daily Fat or Carbohydrate Intake on a Free-Living Test Day in Overweight Women
Eatsmarter (2018): Natürliche Appetitzügler: Das sind die 8 besten
Praxis Vita (2019): Natürliche Appetitzügler: Leichter abnehmen mit Mutter Natur?
Verbraucherzentrale Hamburg (2017): Schlankheitsmittel: Was ist dran an Pulvern und Pillen?