5 Secrets to Appetite Control
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5 Secrets to Appetite Control

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. Just make smart choices about what you eat and what you do:

  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. Not only does alcohol add extra calories and decrease your inhibitions about eating, but it also inhibits leptin, the hormone that tells satiety chemicals to kick in, which helps you stop eating.
  3. Watch your carbs. Eating a super-high-carb diet increases neuropeptide Y (NPY), a protein that decreases metabolism and increases appetite. Aim to have less than 50% of your diet come from carbohydrates. And those carbs should be complex, such as whole grains and vegetables.
  4. Stay va-va-voom satisfied. Sex and hunger are regulated through the brain chemical NPY. Some have observed that having healthy, monogamous sex could help you control your food intake; by satisfying one appetite center, you seem to satisfy the other.
  5. 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, cut veggies -- to sate your appetite and keep you satisfied until your next snack or meal.