An appetite suppressant is a food, supplement, or another method that stops a person from feeling hungry. Some plans are more useful for suppressing appetite than others. Manufacturers of appetite suppressant pills make big claims about the ability of pills to suppress appetite and promote weight loss. However, the effectiveness of these pills is not known, and according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), they often come with dangerous side effects.
Instead, a person can use a range of natural methods to suppress or lose their appetite in a risk-free, healthful way. In this video, I will discuss a list of evidence-based methods that a person can use to suppress their appetite without the need for diet pills. We also discuss which foods are the best appetite suppressants.
Natural appetite suppressants
A person can use the following ten evidence-based methods to suppress their appetite and avoid overeating:
Not all foods satisfy hunger equally. Compared to carbohydrates, protein and certain fats are more useful for helping hunger and keeping people feeling full for longer.
A person can replace some sources of carbohydrate with proteins and healthful fats to help keep their appetite under control.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend the following high-protein foods:
The guidelines also recommend that a person gets their healthful fats from natural sources such as nuts and seeds, avocados, and olive oil.
Drinking a large glass of water directly before eating has been found to make a person feel fuller, more satisfied, and less hungry after the meal.
Another study, which looked at appetite in 50 overweight females, showed that drinking 1.5 liters of water a day for 8 weeks caused a reduction in appetite and weight, and also led to more significant fat loss.
A soup starter may also quench the appetite. Research from 2007 showed that people reported feeling fuller immediately after the meal if they had a liquid starter.
Fiber does not break down like other foods, so it stays in the body for longer. This slows down digestion and keeps people feeling full throughout the day.
Research suggests that fiber can be an effective appetite suppressant. High-fiber diets are also associated with lower obesity rates.
On the other hand, another review found that introducing extra fiber into the diet was effective in less than half of the studies they looked at.
More research is needed to identify which sources of fiber are the most effective for suppressing appetite.
Healthful high-fiber foods include:
Exercise is another healthy and effective appetite suppressant. A review based on 20 different studies found that appetite hormones are suppressed immediately after exercise, especially high-intensity workouts. They found lower levels of ghrelin in the body, a hormone that makes us hungry, and higher levels of “fullness hormones” such as PPY and GLP-1.
The bitterness of dark chocolate is thought to help decrease appetite and diminish cravings for sweets. Researchers also believe the stearic acid in dark chocolate can help slow digestion, further increasing feelings of fullness. Interestingly, the simple act of smelling this treat might produce the same effect.
One study observed that merely smelling 85%, dark chocolate decreased both appetite and hunger hormones just as much as eating it. Nevertheless, further studies are needed to examine the effects of dark chocolate on feelings of fullness.
Consuming a small amount of ginger powder has been shown to reduce appetite and increase fullness, possibly because of its stimulating effect on the digestive system. This was a small-scale study, so more research is needed to confirm this effect. Ginger powder is available for purchase online.
It is reducing general food intake while dieting can leave people with a ravenous appetite. This can cause a relapse into binge eating. However, dieting does not have to mean going hungry. Some foods are high in nutrients and energy, but low in calories. These include vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. Eating a large volume of these foods will stop the stomach from growling and still allow a person to burn more calories than they consume.
Getting enough quality sleep can also help reduce hunger and protect against weight gain.
Studies show that too little sleep can increase hunger and appetite by up to 24%, and decrease levels of some fullness hormones by up to 26%. Research also shows that individuals who sleep less than seven hours per night rate their fullness levels after breakfast as 26% lower. It's worth noting that several studies also link short sleep, generally defined as less than six hours per night, with up to a 55% higher risk of obesity.
Excess stress is known to raise levels of the hormone cortisol. Although the effects can vary between individuals, high cortisol is generally thought to increase food cravings and the drive to eat. Stress may also decrease levels of peptide YY (PYY), a fullness hormone.
In a recent experiment, participants ate an average of 22% more calories after a stressful test when compared to a non-stressful version of the same test. Finding ways to reduce your stress levels may not only help curb hunger but also reduce your risk of obesity and depression.
Restricting food consumption too much can lead to a relapse of overeating. Instead, eating a good amount of the right foods can reduce hunger and food cravings throughout the day. A person can suppress their appetite by including more protein, fat, and fiber in their meals. Stocking up on vegetables and pulses can make a person feel fuller for longer. It might also help to try different spices, such as ginger and cayenne pepper, and drink tea to beat unwanted food cravings.