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october 2012

Beat Hunger Pangs

Dr Priyanka Rohatgi
Why is it that some people can resist yummy food and some can’t? Well appetite is a complex thing.When on a diet to lose fat, the leptin level falls and that signals the brain for more food and you end up consuming more calories immediately...

10 Success-Oriented Habits For Weight Watchers
  • Kick-start your day with a punching breakfast: Skipping breakfast can cause hunger pangs leading to snacking and bingeing later during the day. Hunger pangs begin 12 to 24 hours after the last ingestion of food, and are usually more intense in young people because they have more ‘muscle tone’ than older people.
  • Stay away from empty sugar calories! Sugar is available in many forms—corn syrup, brown sugar, honey, maltose, corn sweeteners and dextrose. Don’t just eat sugary foods. Always ensure that they are taken with a meal to help control your hunger.
  • Exercise regularly: Any form of aerobics helps regulate appetite and checks hunger pangs.
  • Keep yourself hydrated: It can be easy to confuse hunger pangs with thirst; start each meal with some fluid (soup, rasam, tender coconut water or buttermilk).
  • Spice up your meals and metabolism naturally: Control hunger pangs by sending messages to the brain with spicy aromas like ginger, turmeric, curry, chilli powder, jalapenos and cayenne pepper. These plant extracts also increase metabolism.
  • Snack with witty strategy! Some healthy snacking options include fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Low fat dairy products also help in checking hunger pangs.
  • Add protein to each meal and every four hours: Protein works as an appetite suppressant and helps control hunger pangs.
  • Chew well and eat slowly: Proper chewing and slow willful eating results in a greater sense of fullness, thereby reducing the intensity of hunger pangs.
  • Sleep and shed those pounds! Studies have revealed that people who sleep only 5 hours every night were 50 per cent more likely to be obese than those who sleep 7 to 9 hours. Researchers believe that lack of sleep directly affects hormones related to appetite, thereby causing you to gain kilos.
  • Drink more water! Water is the healthiest, cheapest and most readily available appetite suppressant around. Also, foods with high water content can help fill you up easily.
Must Haves To Fight Hunger Pangs
  • One of the simplest ways to alter your appetite is to decrease the energy density of your food. Energy density refers to the calories per gram of the food. Water-rich foods (soups, veggies) have low energy density. So you can eat more of them as compared to fat-laden foods (chocolates, nuts) that have high density.
  • Increase the intake of low GI foods. By releasing glucose gradually, low GI (glycemic index) foods keep insulin levels steady and stave off cravings. Examples of low GI foods are: most fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains. High-GI foods release a rush of glucose that makes insulin levels soar. We feel full for half an hour, and then the insulin drops and we crave for food. Examples of high GI foods are: white bread, potatoes and refined cereals.
  • Add more protein to your diet. Foods high in protein induce a stronger anti-eating hormone response.
  • The next best strategy is to turn to green vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and other leafy ones.
  • Apples are great appetite suppressing foods because the bulky fibre fills up the stomach and turns off the urge to eat more or overeat. In addition, apples contain various phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Dr Priyanka Rohatgi Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore.