To Your Health
May, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 05)
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Say No to Diet Drugs

Feel Full the Natural Way

By Editorial Staff

How can I lose weight without feeling hungry all the time? For too many people, the answer lies in taking hunger-suppressing diet drugs. Fortunately, there's a safer, less expensive and more satisfying way to curb your hunger. Try these seven strategies to feel full the natural way.

1. Think low-calorie and nutrient-rich.
Alright, let's start with an easy one. Snack smart. You know it, but do you really know why you should choose fruit over that birthday cake enticing you in the break room? By snacking on strawberries, broccoli or sweet potatoes, you can actually suppress ghrelin, a hunger hormone. Low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods "make you feel satiated on a lot fewer calories than Pringles do," says James Kenney, PhD.
2. Make time for breakfast.
You've heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Do you know it also can prevent those pesky nightly cravings? Many of us consume most of our calories at the end of our long days. However, recent research has shown that people who start the day with a healthy, calorie-rich meal consume 5 percent less calories throughout the day. Add up all those vanishing calories and you could be 10 pounds lighter in a year!
A plate of diet pills. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark 3. Don't skimp on complex carbs.
Include apples, sweet potatoes or lentils in your diet and you could lose weight in just weeks. According to a new study from The Cochrane Collaboration, an independent health-research organization, people who consumed fiber-rich, complex-carbohydrate foods lost more than 2 pounds in five weeks. Because foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes rank low on the glycemic index, they're less likely to cause blood sugar spikes and will make you feel full longer.
4. Give potatoes a chance.
Yes, you can eat white potatoes. They contain "natural resistant starch," a type of starch that acts like a fiber once it hits your digestive system. This will cause you to feel full longer while keeping your blood sugar level after a meal and may even reduce body fat. Also, by chilling the cooked potatoes, the amount of the natural resistant starch is doubled. So eat your potato salad and fit in to your skinny jeans, too.
5. Take a deep breath.
Stress causes the body to produce cortisol, which in turn creates a resistance to leptin (a hormone that helps you feel full). A simple breathing technique can help reduce your stress level and keep you feeling full longer than when you give in to that snack stash. Try this: Exhale, counting to five as you release tension from your body; let your shoulders slump as you breathe out. Then count to five as you inhale gently and fully, down through the lungs and into your belly. Hold for a four-count. Exhale again, repeating the first step. Continue for five minutes.
6. Stop and smell the vanilla.
The sweet scent of vanilla isn't just for filling potpourri baskets or coating overpriced decorative candles; it also can curb your appetite. The scent of vanilla unleashes neuropeptides, sending your brain into sensory overload and making you feel full. Any vanilla scent will do, whether an extract, body lotion or candle. Now you can buy that overpriced candle without feeling guilty.
7. Add a dash of air to your meal.
Professor Barbara Rolls, PhD, discovered that study subjects who drank smoothies and other drinks blended for at least twice as long as necessary ate 12 percent less and felt fuller than those who drank beverages blended for a shorter period of time. Dr. Rolls, a well-published author and the Gunthrie Chair of Nutrition at Penn State, attributes these results to the increased air in the longer-blended drink. (Adding low- or no-calorie ingredients such as lettuce or tomato to a meal will produce the same effect by increasing overall water content).