10 Ways to Deal with Hunger Pangs While Dieting

Keep hunger under control and eat healthy

Eat, drink and be merry. Our body gets used to a level of energy through our nutrition. When we diet, we usually eat too little food. While the number on the scale moves downward, the brain is secretly sabotaging our efforts. Hunger pangs try to force energy intake back to its original level. Our brain, thinking our body is starving, kicks into conservation mode. “You must be hungry!” is its message. Here are 10 ways to stop those pesky hunger pangs.

Eat breakfast

Skipping breakfast can generate stomach hunger pangs, also leading to snacking and binging later in 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 hydrated

Eight glasses of water a day are recommended. According to Dr. Melina Jampolis, a nutrition specialist, it can be easy to confuse hunger pangs with thirst.

Spice up your meals and snacks

Control hunger pangs by sending “full” messages to the brain with spicy aromas like ginger, turmeric, curry, chili powder and cayenne, advises Dr. Alan Hirsch of the Chicago Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. These plant extracts also increase metabolism.

Eat protein every four hours

Protein acts as an appetite suppressant to help control hunger pangs. Eating two to three ounces of protein triggered a 25 percent spike in energy, increasing fat metabolism 32 percent, and lasting up to four hours, in research conducted by the University of Wollongong in Australia.

Watch your sugar intake

Sugar's aliases are corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, honey, maltose, corn sweeteners and dextrose. Don't eat simple sugar foods alone — ensure they are mixed with a meal to help control your hunger. Richards J. Johnson, M.D., of the University of Florida showed in his research that communication between the digestive tract and the brain’s fullness center was disrupted by high-fructose corn syrup, making appetite control difficult.

Exercise regularly

According to a 2008 study published in the American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, any form of aerobic exercise helps regulate appetite to control hunger pangs.

Snack strategically

Weight loss diets like The Mayo Clinic Diet manage hunger and reduce binging with snacking. The Mayo Clinic Diet recommends snacks that have 100 calories or less to stay in your daily calorie goal. The diet also suggests fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and lowfat dairy products to reduce hunger pangs.

Eat slowly

A 2009 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that eating slowly results in a greater sense of fullness, reducing the intensity of hunger pangs.

Work your jaws: Chew

Chew low-calorie gum when you feel stomach hunger coming on. According to recent research conducted by the University of Rhode Island, chewing gum before and after meals helps reduce your hunger and the amount of calories you eat.

Stomach pains may be unrelated to hunger

If your hunger pangs do not go away when you consume food and drink, seek medical attention immediately. The pain may be caused by some gastrointestinal disorder that is in the early stages, and such disorders can be isolated and treated if caught early.

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