suppress hunger
Nutrition

How to Suppress Hunger Without Food (Backed by Science)

Controlling your hunger pangs is one of the biggest challenges when you’re trying to lose body weight. Fortunately, you don’t have to give in and eat food to control your hunger and avoid weight gain. In this article, I’ll provide 15 science-backed ways to defeat your hunger pangs that don’t involve feeding your food desire.

1. Workout While Hungry

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Plenty of research indicates that your appetite is reduced when you do physical activity. In one study, working out was shown to decrease ghrelin levels and promote fullness signals. Ghrelin is known as the hunger hormone. At the same time, exercise appears to increase the peptide hormones that suppress the appetite.

2. Get Adequate Sleep

How to Sleep Better - HelpGuide.org

Research shows that when you are sleep-deprived you are likely to eat more food. In one study, sleep-deprived people reported experiencing hunger pangs 24 percent more frequently than those who got 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

Sleep deprivation will affect the hunger hormone levels. It can cause the body to increase its production of the hunger hormone ghrelin while suppressing the anti-hunger hormones like leptin. A good night’s sleep can also help control blood sugar levels. 

Make it your aim to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night to promote feelings of fullness and control levels of hormones.

3. Get Rid of Tempting Foods

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If you remove tempting unhealthy foods from your diet, you will be far less likely to succumb. Rather than having cookies and cake in the pantry, stock up on healthier options like almonds and apples. This will help to balance blood sugar levels and reduce feelings of hunger. 

Eat more plant-based foods as well as high-fiber foods. Dark chocolate is another healthy snack option. 

4. Drink More Water

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Whenever you feel your hunger levels increasing, have a glass of water. You will instantly feel less hungry. In one study, it was shown that individuals who consumed 500ml of water half an hour before eating a meal, had a food intake of 22 percent fewer calories than those who were not drinking water before eating. Plan to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day. 

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5. Reduce Your Belly Fat

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When you reduce your belly fat, you will automatically reduce your feelings of hunger. That is because belly fat contains a hormone called Neuropeptide Y. Use a combination of a reduced calorie diet and cardio exercise to get rid of your belly fat.

6. Maintain a Warm Environment

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Numerous studies show that the warmer the temperature, the fewer food people tend to eat. So, the warmer you can keep your home, the more you will be able to control your appetite and the greater your feelings of fullness.

Warmer temperatures also increase thirst, so be sure to keep up your water intake.

7. Stay Busy

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When you keep your mind and hands occupied, it will be easier to distract your attention from food. Just think about the times when you binge eat. More likely it’s when you’re sitting around watching TV or simply idling the time away.

When you feel hunger signals coming on, you should get up and do something to keep yourself busy, It could be going for a run or could be folding the laundry – anything will work!

8. Chew Gum

Electric chewing gum zaps your tongue to create a virtual flavour hit | New  Scientist

Chewing gum has been shown to help with appetite control by lowering hunger levels. This is surprising to many people, who have been led to believe that chewing gum actually increases their appetite. 

In one study it was shown that people who regularly chew gum, consume up to 68 percent fewer calories over the course of the day. The study also revealed that the best flavor of gum to send fullness signals to the brain is mint.

9. Grapefruit Fragrance

grapefruit | Description, Cultivation, & Facts | Britannica

While grapefruit is a good choice as part of a weight loss diet, research indicates that the very smell of grapefruit can help to ward off hunger pangs and promote feelings of fullness. In one study, people who took in the fragrance of grapefruit in the form of essential oil for just 15 minutes each week were able to significantly suppress their appetite. There are a number of other long-term health benefits from grapefruit, including having antioxidant properties and being a good source of fiber.

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You should also make use of traditional essential oils such as peppermint and vanilla to help control your appetite.

10. Green Tea

Lemon-Ginger Green Tea Recipe

Green tea is well known for its ability to help lose weight. It turns out it is just as good at suppressing the appetite and preventing food cravings. One study revealed that drinking green tea each day may significantly reduce ghrelin levels. You will recall that ghrelin is the hunger hormone. 

11. Switch to Blue Plates

Imperial Blue Breakfast Set, 12 pcs - Denby @ RoyalDesign

There is some fascinating research regarding the effect that color has on our desire for food. It has been found that some colors, such as yellow, red, and orange increase appetite, while others, including blue, reduce it. 

As a result, it makes sense to make the switch to blue plates when trying to reduce body weight. At the same time, you should look into getting smaller plates that make your meals smaller. 

12. Reduce Your Stress Level

Stress Management - HelpGuide.org

There is plenty of evidence to confirm that the higher our stress level, the more likely we will be to eat. The reason is that excess stress makes the body release more of the hormone cortisol which, in turn, causes food cravings. Stress will reduce leptin (the appetite suppressant) hormone levels. 

It’s clear that reducing stress and cortisol levels aids in weight loss. You can lower your stress by delegating tasks, deep breathing, using mindful meditation practices, having a budget, and learning to say no.

13. Go For a Walk

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One study found that going for a 15-minute walk when you feel a hunger craving coming on is a successful strategy to avoid giving into the temptation. Of course, reducing hunger is only one of many benefits of getting into the walking habit. 

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A fifteen-minute stroll after dinner each night will also help you to relieve stress and wind you down mentally and physically for a good night’s sleep. 

14. Visualize Yourself Eating

M&M's - Wikipedia

A fascinating study suggested that when you picture yourself eating the foods you crave for, you will eat less, the study involved visualizing eating M&Ms before being given candy. The people who visualized eating more M&Ms ate less candy.

15. Drink Less Alcohol

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Research shows that drinking alcohol will increase your appetite. It also reduces the appetite and reduces energy levels. Alcohol is also calorie-dense. If you are serious about losing weight, you should cut back on all liquid calories.

Summary

In this article, you’ve been given 15 scientifically supported ways to reduce your hunger cravings. You don’t have to make use of all of them. But, if you employ four or five of these tips, you will be able to beat those hunger cravings and win the weight loss battle. 

Should you ignore hunger when trying to lose weight?

Yes, you can ignore hunger when trying to lose weight. So long as you are following a diet plan that ensures you are getting enough calories to meet your energy need and following a balanced nutrient intake, ignoring immediate hunger pangs will not cause you any harm.

Will eating less help my hunger pangs go away?

Eating less may help your finger pangs go away. if you eat a small amount of protein, which is very filling, you will reduce your appetite going forward. A hard-boiled egg or two are great choices. 

What foods should I be eating to help control hunger pangs?

The best foods for weight management and controlling feelings of hunger are olive oil, omega-3 fatty acids (fatty fish are an excellent source), dark chocolate, sweet potatoes, lean proteins, flax seeds, and other fiber-rich foods and healthy fats. Stay away from refined carb and liquid calories and reduce your sugar intake. 

Steve Theunissen

Steve Theunissen is a former gym owner and personal trainer based in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness, and fat loss.

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