While experts agree that eating healthy meals and avoiding snacks during the day helps keep your weight in check, there are exceptions to the rule.
“Choosing snacks that are rich in healthy fat and fiber helps keep craving at bay so you’ll actually eat less at meals,” says Orlando-based nutritionist Tara Gidus. “About five minutes after fat enters the stomach, a hormone called enterogastrone is released, causing it to empty at a much slower rate. Thus you feel fuller, longer.
“The effect of fiber as a hunger suppressant actually starts the moment you take a bite,” adds Gidus, nutritionist for the Orlando Magic basketball team. “Foods full of fiber – think apples or whole grain bread – require more work to chew. Increased chewing slows down your eating so your body has more time to realize it’s full, so you eat less.”
If you are trying to lose weight, but find yourself plagued by hunger pangs, there are certain foods that can help you curb your appetite.
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Here, according to Gidus and other diet experts, are top foods for fighting hunger:
1. Almonds and avocados. These excellent snacks are both high in fat and fiber, says best-selling author and celebrity nutritionist J.J. Virgin, author of The Virgin Diet. A handful of almonds or half an avocado on whole grain toast calms the appetite quickly.
2. Green tea. Virgin notes that this popular healthy beverage contains EGCG, a chemical that has been proven in studies to curb the appetite. Stay away from sugary bottled brands and brew your own green tea from bags or loose-leaf tea.
3. Spicy foods. Gidus says that adding spice to your meals slows your appetite. “Just one spicy buffalo wing or a piece of Kung Pao chicken can actually suppress your appetite. Even though these are high-calorie foods you will eat less in the long-term.”
4. Coffee. Just like drinking a glass of water before a meal temporarily signals fullness to your stomach, research shows that coffee works the same way. But coffee also contains caffeine, which boosts metabolism and suppresses appetite.
5. Fatty fish. Not only are fish like salmon, sardines, and herring rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, they also suppress hunger by altering the body’s level of the hormone leptin. Leptin is the hormone that tells your body that it’s full so you’ll stay sated longer.
6. Lean protein. Craig Title, M.D., a New York weight-loss expert, advises his patients to snack on high-protein foods. Egg whites, turkey slices, or tofu can provide a prolonged sense of fullness without the swings in blood sugar that carbs create.
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