If you’re having a hard time losing weight or want to reduce your portion sizes, you may want to look at your appetite level. One of the most difficult parts of losing weight over a long period is staying in tune with your appetite and only eating to fuel your body. Snacking and poor portion control are often the primary culprits when it comes to weight gain. Learning how to control your appetite naturally should be high on your list of things to do if you’re struggling with hunger pangs and cravings.
Weight loss can be a tricky journey, especially if you’ve been trying to lose weight for a while and have reached a plateau. Read on as we explore 5 natural food ingredients that can help you to control your appetite.
5 Natural Ways to Control Your Appetite
1. Green Tea Extract
Green tea is the tea of choice for millions of people across the globe. This beverage is popular as it provides a slow release of energy, preventing that unpleasant crash you often get from coffee.
Green tea contains two primary components that can be effective in weight loss: caffeine and catechins. Caffeine is a fat burner and appetite suppressant, while catechins boost the metabolism, fight cell damage, and reduce fat. Not only is green tea loaded with antioxidants, but it also contains polyphenols, natural compounds that can reduce inflammation.
If you don’t like drinking green tea, you can also take it as a supplement and still receive the benefits.
2. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper can be found in many South American, African, and South Asian dishes. The key ingredient in cayenne pepper is capsaicin. This thermogenic chemical can increase metabolism and decrease appetite, meaning if you eat it regularly, you are less likely to overindulge at mealtimes.
One study done in 2014 found that regular addition of capsaicin to subjects’ food increased satiety, preventing overeating. When we eat spicy food, our body temperature rises, causing us to go into a “cool down” mode, burning a few extra calories. In addition, we’re much less likely to overindulge in spicy food as our bodies will only allow us to eat so much before we become uncomfortable.
This herb is a member of the legume family and is often found in curries and soups. . It has also been shown to delay carb and fat absorption which decreases appetite and controls blood sugar. However, it’s worth noting that most studies have found that fenugreek’s weight loss benefits can only be found in higher doses, like fenugreek extract or isolated fenugreek fiber.
4. Garcinia Cambogia
Garcinia is a small, pumpkin-like fruit native to Indonesia. The garcinia cambogia’s peel contains high amounts of Hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is said to have weight loss properties including appetite reduction, fat oxidation, and bodyweight reduction. Garcinia cambogia can also help raise the body’s serotonin levels, which affect the brain receptors responsible for fullness signals, suppressing appetite.
Finding garcinia cambogia whole in the US is difficult unless you live in an area with a high density of Indonesians, but supplements are much more readily available.
5. Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is a herbal tea made with the leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis
plant. This plant’s leaves are slowly cooked and then steeped in water to make the tea. Yerba mate contains some energy-boosting properties and studies have shown that it increases GLP-1 and leptin levels. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a hormone associated with regulating appetite, body mass, and blood sugar levels.
While it may be tempting to try appetite suppressing supplements, try these natural sources first. These foods and extracts combined with filling meals and a few healthy snacks should get you through the day without over-snacking. Fill your plate with vegetables so you’re full, and keep sugar to a minimum, and you’ll soon shake your cravings. The good news is once your appetite is controlled naturally by your healthy food and natural supplements, you won’t feel like you’re constantly warring against your urge to eat.
If you’re continue to struggle with your appetite and weight fluctuations, it may be a good idea to get a blood test to check for hormone levels. These tests can be done by your physician.
Dr. Nancy Rahnama, MD, ABOM, ABIM, is a medical doctor board certified by both the American Board of Obesity Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine. Her specialty is Clinical Nutrition, that is, the use of nutrition by a medical doctor to diagnose and treat disease. Dr. Rahnama has helped thousands of people achieve their goals of weight loss, gut health, improved mood and sleep, and managing chronic disease.