You may be someone who has decided to lose weight but are fearful that you cannot control your appetite and that hunger will spoil your weight-loss programme. Many people, as they lose weight, do experience hunger at one time or another. Do not despair. There are foods and drinks that you can use to control your appetite.
I call these foods and drinks appetite-control foods. What they have in common is that they create a feeling of fullness in your stomach while you consume foods that contain few calories with little carbohydrates. Even though your stomach is full, you are not exceeding your ideal calorie intake.
Just imagine you choosing whether to eat a cup of peanuts or a bowl of salad. Initially, your body can't really tell the difference between the nuts and salad. When it is full enough, your stomach turns off the hunger signal regardless of whether you are eating salad or peanuts. By then, you might have eaten the salad containing only 100 calories or the peanuts with as much as 500 calories. Your choice of food can be critical, so let's look at some excellent food and beverages for appetite control.
Fresh, clean water
That's right. Water is a powerful appetite suppressant and, if you drink an eight-ounce glass of water when you first start feeling hungry, you will find that it suppresses your appetite in nearly every case. Drink a glass or two of water and have the discipline to wait 10 minutes. You will find that your appetite is either completely gone or dramatically reduced.
Experts suggest that the human brain sometimes misinterprets signals of thirst as a sign of hunger, so you eat when you should drink some water. The great thing is that water contains zero calories. Don't be fooled, drinking more water will not cause you to gain weight, unless you have some medical disorder that causes you to retain fluid.
Green tea, as distinct from the black tea found in regular tea bags, is an excellent beverage for weight control. It not only controls appetite but it stimulates the body's metabolism to burn fat, enhances energy levels, offers protection from several cancers and is useful for hypertension, cholesterol control and circulatory disorders. Green tea even contains a substance called treanine that assists in stress management, because it calms and relaxes the nervous system.
Modern medical research continues to find more and more advantages from consuming green tea regularly. These benefits are not dependent on the small amount of natural caffeine found in green tea. Green tea can be had hot or cold with or without natural sweeteners. I use a particularly effective formulation of this herbal called Herbal Tea Concentrate.
Protein shakes and snacks
Protein is a powerful appetite controller, as it does not cause the fluctuations in blood sugar levels that often trigger the urge for unhealthy snacking. But not all forms of protein are truly healthy. In fact, there are many benefits in using plant-based protein over most animal sources of protein.
Soy protein shakes provide an excellent low-calorie meal-replacement drink that will satisfy your appetite. Here is a recipe for the shake I use as my breakfast meal and regularly recommend to my patients. Combine eight ounces of unsweetened soymilk with two heaping tablespoons of Herbalife Formula #1 shake powder. Add a slice of papaya, or half of a banana or an apple and blend. This shake is specifically designed to effectively replace a conventional meal. Not all shakes are equal. Avoid meal-replacement drinks and weight-loss aids that contain lots of sugar and not enough protein.
Despite all the recent propaganda against soy, mainstream medical research continues to demonstrate an abundance of health benefits from this food. Roasted soy nuts, soymilk, soy beverages and bars are other ways to use soy for appetite control while enjoying its many health benefits.
Green, leafy vegetables
Vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, callaloo, bokchoy, broccoli, field greens and other green vegetables contain so few calories that you don't need to count them. Allow yourself to eat an unlimited quantity of any leafy vegetables. They are calorie-free foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and cancer-fighting substances, and at the same time, they fill your stomach and make you feel full, turning off the hunger signals in your brain.
You can consume these green vegetables in different ways. Most people don't like to eat them plain. Instead, you can make a salad and add a low-calorie salad dressing like home-made olive oil and vinegar. Avoid commercial salad dressings that boast of being low-fat and cholesterol-free but contain MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, and other unhealthy ingredients.
Eat the largest apple you can find of either the Jamaican or American variety. Sure, they contain some calories and some carbohydrates, but because they are mainly water and fibre, apples will fill you up and stop you from eating other more calorie-rich foods.
Let me explain. If you are hungry, it's very tempting to reach for some processed foods, like a bag of chips or crackers, for example. You can unconsciously nibble away and before you know it you have consumed 1,000 calories or more. But, it's almost impossible to eat 1,000 calories worth of apples. You'll probably fill up long before reaching 400 calories. Apples are great appetite-suppressing foods because the bulky fiber fills up your stomach and turns off your appetite before you overeat. Plus, apples contain various vitamins and minerals and anti-cancer agents.
Swallowing a couple of fibre tablets with a glass of water before you begin eating can reduce the amount of food you end up eating. The best fibre tablets contain a variety of different fibres like oat bran fibre, apple pectin fibre, or other natural fibres. They create a feeling of fullness with little food and add no calories to the meal. Fibre powders are also available, and these can be blended into your soy-protein shake.
A particularly useful fibre supplement for weight loss contains fibre that has been 'activated' to trap and eliminate any excess fat in your meal. It's called 'activate fibre'. Remember to drink plenty of water when you take these tablets because fibre without enough fluid can slow up your digestive system.
You may email Dr Vendryes at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Facebook or listen to An Ounce of Prevention on POWER106FM on Fridays at 8:15 p.m. His book An Ounce of Prevention - Especially for Women is available at local bookstores and on the Internet.