5 Secrets to Appetite Control

5 Secrets to Appetite Control

Learn the secrets to help you stay healthy, yet satisfied.

Just as you can control things like cholesterol and blood pressure by changing the foods you eat or altering your behaviors, you can also control how hungry you feel. Here’s how to make smart choices:

1. Don't confuse thirst with hunger.
Sometimes you eat because your satiety centers are begging for attention. But sometimes those appetite centers want you to quench your thirst, not fill your stomach.

Your thirst could be caused by hormones in the gut, or it could be a chemical response to eating; food increases the thickness of your blood, and your body senses the need to dilute it. When you feel hungry, drink a glass or two of water first, to see if that's what your body really wants.

2. Avoid the alcohol binge.
Alcohol adds extra calories and lowers your inhibitions about eating. It also hinders leptin, the hormone that tells satiety chemicals to kick in, helping you to stop eating.

3. Watch your carbs.
Eating a super-high-carb diet increases neuropeptide Y (NPY), a protein that hampers metabolism and boosts appetite. Aim to have less than 50 percent of your diet come from carbohydrates. And those carbs should be complex, such as whole grains and vegetables.

4. Manage your hormonal surges.
There will be times when you can’t control your hunger and satisfaction hormones, and you feel hungrier than a lion on a bug-only diet. That's when you need to rely on the healthy "emergency" foods you have around you—a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit or cut veggies—to sate your appetite and keep you satisfied until your next snack or meal.

Adopting these simple habits can help you manage your weight and help ensure your body has all of the nutrients it needs to stay well.

Medically reviewed in August 2019.

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