The rise in obesity and obesity-related diseases has been so rapid and wide-spread that one can call it an “epidemic”.
The advancements in the food and agricultural industry have made the availability of energy-dense processed foods easy in the market.
Ready-to-eat, ready-made foods have gained popularity due to the changing diet and lifestyle of people.
Consumption of the energy-dense foods along with the sedentary lifestyle results in more energy consumption and less energy expenditure which eventually results in obesity.
There is a need to overcome this negative balance in energy by either increasing energy expenditure through exercise or reducing energy intake.
Different approaches to reduce energy intake are being adopted that also treat obesity. Exploitation of mechanisms (hunger, satiation, satiety) that control our food intake is one such approach.
Satiation is the feeling of fullness one feels while eating food. Whereas satiety is the lack of appetite one feels after a meal.
Different food and food supplements have varying effects on satiety. For instance, soluble fibres present in fruits (apple) become viscous in the stomach and delay the emptying time of the stomach that makes us feel full for a longer time and we eat less.
Protein is a macronutrient the digestion of which increases the level of hormones that induce satiety like peptide YY (PYY), Glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) as a result of which we don’t feel hungry for a long time and eat less.
Therefore, protein-rich foods tend to curb one’s appetite.
Fats are considered to be the least satiating of all the macronutrients, the protein is the most that is followed by carbohydrates.
The way the food is made and the combination of these macronutrients with one another also cause varying effects on satiety.
20 Natural Appetite Suppressant Foods That Curb Hunger
Here is a list of 20 foods that naturally curb appetite:
These are protein-rich legumes and are packed with fibre.
The only major sources of protein in a vegetarian diet are pulses, in such cases soybean can serve as an excellent protein source for vegetarians.
Soybean is the only vegetarian source of complete proteins (proteins that contain all amino acids e.g. meat and meat products).
Soybeans have been found to suppress an individual’s appetite.
In fact, they have been found to be as satiating as meat-based diets per research .
This property of soybean can be attributed to high protein content present in them.
Each 100g of soybean contains 36 g of proteins and 93 g of fibre.
Proteins are the most satiating macronutrients. The feeling of protein-induced satiety is influenced by many components of not just the gastrointestinal system but also the endocrine and neural system.
A research study investigated the digestion of proteins (soy protein), this study revealed that digestion of proteins produced peptides that cause the upregulation of cholecystokinin (a hormone that induces satiety).
What does this mean? The high protein and fibre content in soybeans bring about suppression in the food intake by regulating satiety hormones.
The uniqueness of this fruit lies in the fact that it is rich in fats as compared to other fruits which are rich in carbohydrates.
It has got a rather creamy texture this is due to the monounsaturated fatty acid ( MUFA) present in them.
Their texture makes them easy to incorporate into the diet. Apart from being healthy they are also delicious and widely used in the preparation of guacamole.
Each 100g of avocado contains 1.96 g proteins, 15 g fat (MUFA, PUFA and SFA), 6.8 g dietary fibre, 8.6 g of carbohydrates and 72 g water.
The rest is saturated fats, saturated fats in small amounts are essential for the body.
A clinical trial suggested that eating half an avocado during lunch curbed the appetite and reduced the desire of the participants to eat.
The high amounts of water, fats, and fibre in avocado have been known to be the reason behind it.
Soluble fibre in it forms a viscous gel in the stomach and induces the feeling of fullness thereby reducing food intake.
In one study it was identified that PUFA rich diet causes an elevated level of the hormone responsible for satiety- Pro-opiomelanocortin.
What does this mean? The presence of MUFA, PUFA and fibre in avocado makes it an excellent fruit choice for curbing appetite.
Eggs are a nutrient-packed conventional food.
They contain the moderate number of calories, are an excellent source of protein, saturated and unsaturated fats along with cholesterol (around 300 mg per 100g of egg) the presence of which had adverse effects on health is still debatable.
Clinical studies suggested that people who consumed eggs for breakfast felt satiated for longer hours than the people who consumed a carbohydrate-rich breakfast along with a reduction in the energy intake in the following 24 hrs.
Eggs were found to be more effective in reducing the food intake than potatoes or chicken sandwich.
This satiating effect of eggs is due to the suppression of the hormone ghrelin (hunger hormone).
What does this mean? Eggs can be cooked in many ways and their economical cost make them a widely-consumed and food item all over the world. Along with the added benefits of nutrition it can serve as an excellent choice of breakfast that curbs appetite.
The presence of soluble fibre – beta-glucan in them makes them of primary value.
A recent study found that individuals who consumed oatmeal for breakfast felt more satiated and for a longer time as compared to the individuals who consumed readily to eat breakfast cereal.
Dietary fibres (soluble and insoluble fibres) pass undigested through the stomach and reach the colon. The action of gut microbiota on soluble fibre beta-glucan produced Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) as a by-product which brings about the suppression of appetite.
The up-regulation of both these hormones causes satiety making the person want to eat less.
Apart from the molecular mechanisms they physical property of these soluble fibres also brings about the suppression of appetite.
Soluble fibre binds to the water in the stomach and becomes viscous. This viscosity delays the stomach emptying time making the person feel full for a longer period of time.
What does this mean? The soluble fibre, Beta Glucan present in oats is responsible for its satiating effects. The up regulation of satiating hormone PYY and CSK along with the viscosity of this soluble fibre brings about a suppression in appetite.
5. Yogurt or Greek Yogurt
Yogurt or Greek yogurt has been proven to reduce appetite. The only major difference between yogurt and Greek yogurt is the latter is thicker and is higher in proteins.
One study found that consumption of Greek yogurt as an afternoon snack reduced hunger and delayed subsequent eating as compared to snack with low protein content.
Recent data suggest that the high protein content and high calcium content of yogurt is responsible for its influence on energy intake and appetite.
Consumption of yogurt was found to increase the secretion of hormones Glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 and peptide YY (PYY) that curbs hunger.
What does this mean? The high protein content, of yogurt is mainly responsible for its satiating effects. Protein is considered the most satiating macronutrient. Therefore, consumption of yogurt mid meals may help curb appetite.
A scale that measures satiety is referred to as the Satiety Index. After calculating the satiety index of 38 food items belonging to different categories of food, Potato was found to score the highest on the satiety index.
In an experiment where the satiating effects of different forms of potato where compared, Boiled Potatoes proved to be more satiating than French fries.
When eaten along with meat they reduced subsequent energy intake as compared to other side dishes such as rice or pasta.
Each 100g of potato contains 77g of water and 20 g of carbohydrates and almost 0 g of fats.
The satiating effects of potato can be attributed to its high water and carbohydrate content.
Recent studies have revealed that potato contains a protease inhibitor II (PI2) that is responsible for reducing food intake by upregulating the secretion of hormone Cholecystokinin (satiety hormone).
What does it mean? Boiled potatoes have been found to be most satiating among all carbohydrate rich foods. And if eaten as a side dish along with meat reduces subsequent energy intake.
As mentioned earlier the most satiating of all macronutrients is Protein.
The mechanism behind protein-induced satiety is a relatively high release of GLP-1 and PYY (satiating hormones) along with an increment in the energy expenditure.
A study found that participants who consumed a high protein meal (meat) for lunch showed a 12% reduction in their appetite for dinner as compared to individuals who consumed high carbohydrate meal for lunch.
What does this mean? The high protein content of meat makes it very filling and very effective in curbing appetite. Lean meat is good for weight loss.
Apples are a good source of dietary fibre and are an excellent choice for a mid-meal snack.
The soluble fibre pectin in them brings about the feeling of satiety. Increase in the amount of dietary fibre proportionately decreased food intake.
Pectin is a soluble fibre that binds to the water present in the stomach and becomes viscous.
This viscosity delays the gastric emptying time; therefore, the feeling of fullness lasts for a longer period and reduces food intake.
A study was conducted to determine the satiating effects of a high protein and high fibre (pectin) diet on an individual. The study found that dietary pectin reduced the food intake by 23% which was more than protein.
Pectin also brought about a 62 % reduction in leptin (a hormone that causes hunger) as opposed to 38 % by protein.
What does it mean? Soluble fibre, pectin present in apples was found to be more effective in curbing appetite than proteins. Therefore, consumption of apples between meals may reduce the subsequent energy intake in meals.
9. Green tea
Green tea is an extremely healthy beverage.
It’s rich in polyphenols such as flavanols, and their glycosides and depsides such as theogallin, chlorogenic acid etc., that are responsible for its high antioxidant activity.
Caffeine is also present in small quantities.
Individuals who consumed green tea experienced significantly higher satiety than those who consume water.
It is believed that the effects of green tea on appetite may be attributed to EGCG and to some extent caffeine present in them.
What does this mean?
Epigallocatechin gallate, a catechin present in green tea is responsible for its satiating effects. And consumption of green tea along with or after meals resulted in high amounts of satiety that curbed the appetite.
Cayenne pepper is not just spice and has many health benefits.
It has been used by ayurvedic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean medicine as an oral remedy for stomach appetite and circulatory problems.
The spicy taste of cayenne pepper is due to the presence of a compound called Capsaicin in them.
A study revealed that the addition of cayenne pepper to the appetizer during lunch reduced the intake of food in that meal as well as in the subsequent meals.
What does this mean? Cayenne pepper was found to suppresses appetite and regulate energy balance. This effect of cayenne pepper is due to the presence of the bioactive compound capsaicin in them.
11. Black pepper
Black pepper is a spice that is very commonly used all over the world.
The major constituent responsible for its physiological effects is Piperine.
Melanocortin is a hormone that binds to the melanocortin receptor (MC-4 receptor) in the brain. The increase in the activity of this receptor leads to a decrease in appetite. Increase in its activity can be achieved by melanocortin receptor agonists such as Piperine.
It was observed in a study that supplementation with piperine brought about reduction in the circulating levels of Ghrelin (hunger hormone).
What does this mean? Piperine, a major constituent of black pepper may be potentially used to curb appetite, as it influences the hormones and receptors responsible for appetite intake.
Quinoa is not actually a cereal. It’s actually the seeds harvested from the fruit of the quinoa plant. Since it resembles a cereal it’s called a ‘pseudo-cereal’.
Quinoa contains proteins and fibre in good amounts.
The protein quality of quinoa is of significance as it contains almost all of the essential amino acids that aren’t synthesized by the body.
Every 100g of quinoa contains 7 g of dietary fiber.
It contains double the amount of proteins present in oats along with a little more iron and fibre in oats .
The presence of good quality proteins and abundant fibre make quinoa a satiating food item.
What does this mean? As discussed earlier protein and fibre rich foods help in curbing appetite. Quinoa is one such food that helps control appetite.
13. Chia seeds
Chia seeds have been crowned as the Golden Seeds for the 21st century. This is attributed to its rich nutrient content and small calorific value.
They are rich in Proteins, dietary fibre, antioxidants, and its oil is rich in Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids ( PUFAs) particularly omega 3 alpha linolenic acid-ALA (60%) and omega 3 linolenic acid (20%) .
Chia seeds have the tendency to absorb water and swell up forming a viscous gel covering around it. This is due to the presence of water absorbing soluble fibres present in them. Each 100g of chia seeds is believed to contain 36 g of dietary fibre.
The high fibre content and PUFA content are responsible for its satiating effects along with numerous health benefits .
One study proved that addition of chia flour to white bread (40% chia flour) induced the feeling of fullness that was experienced for a longer time in healthy individuals compared to eating just white bread without chia.
What does this mean? This nutrient packed seed not only has numerous health benefits but the high fibre and PUFA content in them were found responsible for its property to curb appetite.
The dietary proteins present in fish are of good quality and have been found to have a number of beneficial effects such as lowering bad cholesterol levels in the blood.
Fish is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids. These polyunsaturated fatty acids are necessary for brain functioning and maintenance of health.
Studies have proved that the satiating effects of fish where consumption of fish was found to reduce the subsequent energy intake more than beef and chicken.
Fish oil supplementation also brought about the suppression of appetite.
The suppression of appetite by fish is due to the good quality proteins and PUFAs present in them.
What does this mean? Fish being rich in proteins and omega 3 fatty acids was found to reduce the appetite in an individual. It was found to be more effective in curbing appetite than fish or chicken.
Nuts are a popular snack.
Even though they are energy dense they have not been found to contribute to weight gain as most of its energy is not absorbed by the body.
They make a nutrient-packed and a healthy snack.
These nuts contain fats (unsaturated fats; good fats) in the largest amount followed by carbohydrate, protein and fibre.
As compared to other snack option nuts are the healthiest and are more nutrient dense.
Studies (human-based) have revealed the satiating effects of almonds and walnuts, when eaten as a snack suppressed the subject’s appetite. This property of suppressing food intake can be attributed to their nutrient profile.
What does it mean? Nuts contain all the macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) in sufficient quantities. The fat present in them are mainly PUFAs that are very beneficial for the body and are considered to be one of the reason behind its appetite curbing effect.
An experiment (human-based) concluded that the addition of fenugreek powder to ones diet reduced the food intake throughout the rest of the day.
Fenugreek contains 28%proteins and 48% fibre .
The soluble fibre in fenugreek called Galactomannan plays an important role in curbing food intake.
Its water binding capacity, gelling, viscosity are few known characteristics that play a pivotal role in satiety.
What does this mean? The dietary fibre Galactomannan present in fenugreek is the reason behind the appetite curbing property of fenugreek.
17. Whey protein
Time and again we have discussed the importance of proteins on satiety. Whey Proteins act on the metabolic targets of satiety and maintain energy balance.
Whey is actually the translucent liquid left behind after the cheese manufacturing process.
Whey proteins are separated and purified from it and sold in different forms like powder, isolates etc.
The richest source of whey is whole milk (cow).
An experiment conducted on obese individuals concluded that consumption of whey protein rich drink before a meal suppressed the appetite by regulating the satiety hormones- cholecystokinin (CSK), glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1).
What does this mean? Whey protein increases the level of satiety hormones thereby curbing appetite.
Legumes constitute a major source of proteins in a vegetarian diet. They are rich in dietary fibre, proteins, and carbohydrates along with a variety of micronutrients and are low in fat.
A research study was performed to determine the effects of nine different legumes on satiety.
It revealed that the consumption of legumes curbed the food intake for the next few hours after the meal.
The bulking of the fibres along with their gelling properties contribute to the reduction in food intake. Proteins and carbohydrates in them also produce satiating effects.
What does this mean? Legumes have a really good nutrition profile. Compared to other vegetarian sources of fibre and protein they are comparatively more filling.
Even though water is not as effective as all the above-mentioned food items but is brings about short-term satiety.
What does this mean? Consumption of water during the meal or more incorporation of water into the meal led to the reduction in food intake in that meal.
Besides being just a popular movie snack, it is also rich in fibre.
Popcorn is actually a healthy snacking option (provided its made with less butter/oil).
Popcorn is an air-popped whole grain.
What does this mean? Popcorn was found to curb hunger for a short period of time. It is calorie wise less dense and contains fibre. Therefore, it consumption as snack for suppression of appetite is considered over other snacks.
It is imperative that people understand our body requires a minimum amount of energy for its functioning below which the body switches to starvation mode and this can have serious adverse effects.
The amount of energy required by an individual varies with age, gender, and level of activity.
Curbing your appetite to below your minimum energy requirements can have detrimental effects on your health.
Curbing your appetite within limits doesn’t pose any health threats.
The combination with and the way the above-mentioned foods are consumed will exhibit varied results on satiety.
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