WHEN it comes to losing weight, the key is keeping hunger at bay.
We all know that when we eat properly satisfying meals, we’re less likely to overeat or snack afterwards.
Some grub, however, is more filling than others – and even “healthy” foods can leave you wanting more.
Kathleen Alleaume is a nutrition and exercise scientist, and she said that if you’re trying to curb your excess and cut down on cravings, here are the foods to avoid:
Sodium-rich snacks like crisps and nuts are incredibly moreish and tend to be highly refined and highly calorific.
Not only do they offer little in the way of nutrients, but research has shown that added salt makes people eat more food – regardless of how much fat was in the meal.
Salt also makes us thirsty. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, tricking our bodies into wanting to eat more instead of simply grabbing a glass of water.
Sure, salads can be packed with vitamins and minerals while being low-calorie, but if all you’re eating is a bunch of leaves, you’re probably going to be starving within the hour.
You can make your salad much more satisfying and nutritious by making sure you’ve got a good dose of protein (chicken, fish, boiled eggs, beans, tofu), some slow-release carbs (brown rice, sweet potato) and a bit of good fat (avocado, nuts, seeds, houmous).
We’ve all snacked on corn cakes and rice crackers, thinking that they’re low calorie and therefore the perfect 3pm pick-me-up.
But they’re usually super low in fibre and rice crackers, in particular, tend to be made from highly refined rice that makes our insulin levels spike, causing blood sugar to crash and making us feel hungry again.
You don’t have to give them up, but rather than eating an entire packet, why not dip a few in some houmous or nut butter so you’ve got a bit of protein and fat going on there too?
Juice cleanses are always touted as quick fixes to losing fat but they often lack fibre – meaning that your body absorbed the calories quicker (to say nothing of the mental strain of not eating normally).
If you want to stay fuller for longer…and actually enjoy your food, chew your meals.
Research has shown that alcohol flicks the brain into starvation mode. This increases your appetite and explains why we reach for a greasy kebab after a night on the town.
Alcohol calories can’t be stored in the body so the only way that you can dispose of booze is to metabolise it for energy – and that means that anything you eat at the same time or afterwards is going to be stored as fat.
So avoid binge drinking if you want to avoid binge eating.
The key to feeling satisfied is to always have a mix of macros
Kathleen explained: “Whether it’s from intense exercise, stress or lack of sleep, everyone has days of increased hunger.
“However, the best way to curb the cravings is to include the hunger-fighting combo of fibre-rich carbs and protein in each meal.
“Protein has staying power, keeping you fuller for longer. Fibre-rich carbs digest slowly so your blood sugar levels are kept steady.”
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Last month, we revealed that we often feel more hungry after eating breakfast because many of us eat high-carb meals first thing.
Ian Marber, nutrition consultant and founder of The Food Doctor, told us that: “A very high carb breakfast with little fibre and protein to slow the digestive process can lead to short-term energy as well as hunger, often within a couple of hours.”
The takeaway? Add some fat and protein to your carb-rich meals or snacks.
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