Hunger is unfortunately an inevitable part of any dieting phase. You are going to feel hungry at some point. As calories are reduced further and activity levels are increased, changes in your hormone levels can increase hunger levels and make it harder for you to stick to your diet. There is however, a few tips and tricks to implement to help you stay fuller for longer and keep you on track…
1. STAY HYDRATED
Hunger is often mistaken for thirst. By drinking enough water for your body, you can reduce hunger pains and go longer between meals, not to mention the health gains and increased training performance as well!
Aim for a minimum of 2L of clear fluid each day.
2. INCREASE PROTEIN INTAKE
Protein is the highest satiety macronutrient. Increasing amounts of research has shown that both acutely and in the long-term, higher protein intakes help reduce hunger and keep us feeling fuller for longer. There are several other benefits for consuming sufficient amounts of lean protein on a fat loss diet including blood glucose stability and muscle retention.
It’s also worth mentioning that a lot of the benefits that are often attributed to ‘low-carbohydrate’ diets have more to do with the fact that people increase their protein intake.
3. EAT HIGH VOLUME LOW CALORIE FOODS
Yes, that doughnut or chocolate bar might satisfy you momentarily, but you are likely going to be hungry again in 5 minutes! Think about eating foods that are high in volume and will keep you feeling full for longer. Meals that take longer to consume (require more chews) can increase satiety. Increasing the viscosity of a meal can also lead to increased fullness. The visual perception of the size and weight of a meal has shown to be important for appetite control.
Some good options are vegetables and big salads, diet jelly, low fat yoghurt, adding xanthan gum to smoothies, konjac noodles, and low calorie fruits (eg berries).
4. INCREASE FIBRE
Fibrous foods are often high volume and quite filling as a result. Soluble fibre forms a gel that slows down the emptying of the stomach and the transit time of food through the digestive system, extending the time you feel satisfied or ‘full’. It also delays the absorption of sugars from the intestines which helps to stabilise blood sugar levels.
Good sources of soluble fibre include fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, barley, seed husks, flaxseed, psyllium, dried beans, lentils, peas, soy milk and soy products. Aim for a minimum of 10g per 1000 calories per day.
5. REDUCE LIQUID CALORIES
Solid meals have been shown to be better for suppressing appetite than shakes or blended meals.
When dieting, it is recommended to prioritise solid meals over liquid calories for improved hunger management.
6. EAT BIGGER MEALS, LESS FREQUENTLY
Consuming smaller, more frequent meals is often advocated as a means of controlling body weight and hunger, however studies suggest that this has no obvious advantages in terms of its effects on metabolism and appetite, and may, in fact, even have adverse effects on hunger and satiety.
Reducing the frequency and increasing the size of your meals (for example, from six smaller meals to 3 or 4 larger meals per day) can help you feel more satisfied and fuller for longer.
7. BUDGET YOUR CARBS WISELY
Many people make the mistake of eating the majority of their carbs at breakfast, leaving them with a minimal amount for later in the day, causing increased hunger.
By budgeting your carbs and macros appropriately, you can ensure you will have enough food for the times you find yourself hungry the most (like those 3pm cravings!).
Essentially, how you choose to consume your macros throughout the day is entirely based on your personal preference.
8. FAST FOR PART OF THE DAY
By reducing your time window of eating for the day you can fit more calories into a smaller time period which can help you feel more satisfied. The easiest way to do this is just to delay your first meal as long as possible.
Try putting these tips into practice and see if you notice an improvement in your hunger levels!