When it comes to curbing your appetite, there’s no magic bullet, but there are foods that can help.
Studies have shown that coffee can decrease your appetite by increasing production of Peptide YY (PYY). PYY is a hormone that is created in your gut and is responsible for reducing hunger and increasing satiety. Coffee may also help prevent you from reaching for comfort foods. Central nervous system stimulants like the caffeine found in coffee increase the “feel good” neurotransmitter dopamine. When the brain’s reward pathways are activated your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are increased, and when you’re feeling good your less likely to turn to high calorie foods for relief. Everyone processes caffeine differently, but don't overdue it here. I recommend no more than 2 cups per day.
Fats & Protein
Eating healthy fats and protein at each meal and snack will help reduce your appetite in a number of ways. Fat and protein increase the hormone Cholecystokinin (CCK) which suppresses hunger. These macronutrients also delay gastric emptying, meaning they slow down your digestion, helping you to feel satiated longer. Focusing on balanced meals and snacks with fat and protein will blunt your blood sugar curve, and prevent you from crashing and feeling hangry hours later. My favorite healthy fats are olives/olive oil, avocados, and nuts/nut butters. For protein try wild caught fish (canned salmon and tuna are always quick and easy), organic tofu, pasture raised eggs, greek yogurt, and beans.
The stomach and intestines contain stretch receptors that help signal to the brain that you’re full. By increasing your intake of fiber you will add more bulk to your diet, helping you feel fuller faster. To increase your fiber, aim to fill half your plate with veggies or try making a small salad as an appetizer. Remember - eat your veggies first!
Not drinking enough water is the #1 mistake I see in my practice. This simple step can have a big impact on your appetite by promoting feelings of fullness. Research has shown that drinking water before each meal naturally reduces the number of calories you consume. Hot water is absorbed more slowly than cold water, helping you feel more full so as we head into the Fall and Winter season, it’s a great time to incorporate more traditional or herbal teas into your routine.