By: Dr. Keith Kantor
As our population becomes more obese and overweight there is no doubt that people struggle with overeating- but why? Often time’s people are feeling hungry more often then they should because they are deficient in certain nutrients, vitamins, minerals, or their diet is lacking quality fiber and heart healthy fats. In some cases they are not over eating because of gluttony, it is more hormonal and metabolic then simply overeating. Sadly, doctors rarely address the above issues and more often then not dangerous weight loss pills are prescribed for rapid results to those wishing to take off unwanted pounds.
These pills can have dangerous interactions with other medications, increase risk for heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, diarrhea and they only produce results for the short length of time a patient is taking the diet pills. As an alternative I recommend approaching weight loss naturally through quality food, safe supplementation, behavior modification and accountability.
Consuming foods that naturally promote fat burning in addition to specific herbs, spices, and supplements like conjugated linoleic acid and chromium, can help you keep habitual cravings and/or sweet tooth cravings under better control.
Consuming safe and natural appetite suppressants work by balancing levels of “hunger hormones,” such as ghrelin and leptin. These hormones, ghrelin and leptin rise and fall throughout the day depending on several factors, including what you have just eaten, your mood, stress level, sleep, genetics, current weight and level of inflammation.
CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) – A naturally occurring fatty acid found in meats and dairy that helps with maintaining lean muscle mass, manage symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes and has been linked to reducing obesity. The higher the quality of meat the more CLA it contains. CLA reduces the risk of heart disease, lowers blood pressure and decreases blood cholesterol levels. People who take CLAs regularly also reduce their risk for developing breast, lung, colorectal, skin and stomach cancers. Combined with exercise and proper diet, CLA will improve your weight loss efforts and lower body fat levels. It will also increase your metabolic rate, helping your body burn fat more easily. The Scandinavian Clinical Research Group reported a 9% decrease in one year’s time of body fat, in a group of women who consumed CLA without making lifestyle changes.
1-3 grams per day of CLA in supplement form is recommended. There are some side effects with large doses of CLA, affecting cholesterol and insulin response. It is always best to consult with your medical doctor before taking any nutritional supplements, especially if you are currently on medications.
Chromium is a mineral our bodies need in trace amounts for its key role in processing carbohydrates and fats. This mineral also helps regulate blood sugar by working with insulin to help transport glucose into cells. Natural food sources include whole grains, bran cereals, seafood, green beans, broccoli, prunes, nuts, peanut butter and potatoes. Up to 1000 mcg. Is recommended daily in the form of GTF (glucose tolerance factor) chromium or chromium chelate. Chromium picolinate is the most widely promoted form of chromium, but some research shows that high doses can have negative effects on the kidneys and liver.
Foods High in Fiber
Dietary fibers, whether from food sources or in concentrated supplement form, have been used for hundreds of years to promote fullness, improve gut health, digestive functions, help maintain strong immunity and heart health. Despite the fact that fiber intake is inversely associated with hunger, body weight and body fat, studies show that the average fiber intake of adults in the United States is still less than half of recommended levels of 25-35 grams per day.
Fiber influences the appetite because is not able to be digested once consumed, plus it absorbs so much of its own weight in water, high-fiber foods help slow your body’s digestion of glucose (sugar), keep you feeling fuller for longer and it reduces cravings. Many foods high in fiber are also very nutritionally dense, like fruits and vegetables, helping prevent dehydration or deficiencies.
Eating a diet rich in fiber has been linked to a longer life span, better regulation of healthy body weight, improved gut/digestive health, hormonal health and much more. According to research in the Obesity Reports, “Evidence points to a significant association between a lack of fiber intake and: ischemic heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, overweight and obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, high cholesterol as well as gastrointestinal disorders.”
To feel full, fill up on the right foods and you will feel satiated faster and for longer. Consume more high fiber foods including chia seeds, flaxseeds, non-starchy vegetables, beans or legumes, and fruit (especially berries).
Final Lifestyle Tips for suppressing hunger.
Eat more heart healthy natural fats and protein. Consume omega-3 fatty acids from coldwater fish, nuts and seeds. Omega 3 fatty acids are tied to reduced inflammation, better mood control, anti-aging effects and reducing risk for chronic disease. Dietary fat and protein should be included in each meal, including real butter, healthy oil (coconut, olive, avocado, etc.), beef, pork, chicken, etc. It will keep you feeling full and reduce cravings.
Drink more water. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, ensure you are drinking at least half of your body weight in unflavored ounces of water per day. This will keep you hydrated and reduce false cravings.
Reduce Stress. Curb emotional eating by managing stress. Stress can lead to a spike in insulin and that results in carbohydrate cravings. Learning to eat mindfully and pre planning healthy meals options can help with feeling more satisfied from your meals.
Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Your body repairs, rebuilds and rest during sleep, if you are under sleeping you body goes into a state of major stress and will release stress hormones which can cause weight gain and increase risk for chronic diseases.
Avoid over exercising. Intense exercise for long periods of time can keep you feeling very hungry and fatigued, no matter what you eat. Opt for HIIT training, which are intense short intervals followed by rest periods in addition to strength training. Building lean muscle by strength training increases your basal metabolic rate (the calories your burn at rest), which helps manage weight at optimal levels.
There are no secrets to weight loss, but we can become so busy with out current routine that we forget how to live a simple healthy lifestyle. Eat whole unprocessed foods, 9-11 servings of high fiber vegetables and some fruits, consume quality protein and heart healthy fats at each meal, and hydrate daily. Be aware of your stress and sleep levels and manage them if you feel like your are imbalanced in this area of your life.