This article was written by Julie Upton, R.D., of Appetite for Health and repurposed with permission from POPSUGAR Fitness.
Feel like you need some help with hunger management? You're not alone. Most of my clients who struggle with weight loss or maintenance also struggle with hunger. Of course, it's no coincidence—it's hard to walk around feeling famished, particularly when you're faced with the temptation of high-calorie treats everywhere you turn. No wonder willpower wilts!
The good news is that several new studies have identified compounds in certain foods that trigger the release of hormones in the stomach that help you feel full. They can also set off neurotransmitters in the brain that suppress appetite and reduce cravings. Eating more of these foods can help keep your hunger in check, even as you cut calories to peel off pounds. It's a weight-loss win-win!
An apple a day may keep extra pounds away, according to research that shows this fruit contains filling soluble fiber, as well as ursolic acid, a natural compound that has been found to boost fat-burning and may promote lean muscle mass. In one study, researchers from the University of Iowa note that animals given ursolic acid supplements increased their muscle mass and energy expenditure (or calorie burn). And a study that was done on people and published in the journal Appetite shows that women who added three small apples (total calorie cost: 200) to their diet per day lost a little more than two pounds in 10 weeks—more than dieters who did not include the fruit in their diet.
A medium apple has 95 calories and six grams of fiber; a small apple has 75 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber. Be sure to eat the whole apple, rather than peeling it, as the ursolic acid and beneficial antioxidants are concentrated in the skin.
Beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas are a triple threat against hunger because they contain a lot of fiber, are excellent sources of slow-to-digest protein, and have a low glycemic index to keep blood sugar and carbohydrate cravings in check. A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Obesity indicates that people who ate about one cup (5.5 ounces) of legumes felt 31 percent fuller than those who didn't eat these fiber-filled foods. Another study, published recently in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, reports that overweight people who ate a bean-rich diet lost nearly 10 pounds in 16 weeks while simultaneously improving their blood-cholesterol levels.
Here's some egg-citing news: Eating a breakfast that's rich in protein (20 to 30 grams) suppresses ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates your appetite, while elevating peptide YY and GLP-1, two hormones that enhance satiety, according to research. One study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that when subjects ate eggs for breakfast (versus equal-calorie breakfasts of either cereal or croissants), they consumed up to 438 fewer calories over the entire day. In fact, studies have found that an egg breakfast may help control hunger for a full 24 hours. (To keep blood cholesterol in check, you can enjoy one egg yolk per day and use egg whites for the additional protein they provide.)
Read on for three filling healthy foods from POPSUGAR FITNESS.