Do you constantly feel a sinking feeling in your stomach that makes you eat more than you need? Your favorite sweets, fast food and salty snacks attract you like a magnet and you can’t resist the temptation to snack? Learn home remedies to reduce your appetite and check the difference between hunger and excessive appetite.
- How to curb your appetite with home remedies?
- What is hunger?
- How is hunger different from appetite?
- What is emotional hunger?
- Why does the body demand more food?
- Summary of information about hunger and appetite
Excessive appetite contributes to weight gain and makes it difficult to lose unnecessary kilograms. The feeling of hunger is not always related to the need to meet the body’s nutritional needs. The feeling of hunger is often associated with, among others, with emotional disorders. We usually do not distinguish between appetite and physiological hunger, which makes it difficult to maintain proper body weight.
There are effective ways to help reduce appetite, but it is very important to perform tests and detect possible disease causes of excessive appetite. Excessive appetite may be associated with, for example, glucose metabolism disorders or other health problems that require specialized treatment. In some cases (e.g. in patients with morbid obesity) it is necessary to suppress appetite using prescription drugs.
How to curb your appetite with home remedies?
It is worth emphasizing the importance of rational nutrition in reducing excessive appetite. Taking in the right number of calories, composing a daily menu of unprocessed, healthy foods and eating meals regularly is the best way to reduce appetite.
If you are tired of constantly snacking, your diet should include foods that make you feel full for a long time after eating a meal. These include:
whole grain products (e.g. whole grain bread, groats, pasta), which are a source of long-digestible complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber;
meat, fish and dairy products, which are a source of high-quality protein that ensures a long feeling of satiety;
vegetables, which are a source of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals,
fruits, which are also rich in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals and prove to be very helpful in satisfying hunger and the desire for sweet foods;
seeds and seeds (e.g. linseed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds) are products rich in dietary fiber, healthy fats and vitamins and minerals.
First of all, and most importantly, a healthy diet affects the secretion of hormones and helps maintain normal blood glucose levels, preventing hunger pangs and excessive appetite, e.g. for sweets. Rational nutrition helps reduce appetite because it provides our body with the right amount of nutrients. Foods in a diet designed to reduce appetite should have a low glycemic index (less than 55). Products with a GI below 55 are those that cause blood sugar levels to rise slowly after consumption. They are allies of overweight people.
It also plays an important role in reducing excessive appetite eating meals regularly and proper hydration of the body. Eating 4-5 meals (3 main meals and 2 healthy snacks) at regular intervals helps to avoid sudden drops in blood glucose, which cause a decline in body performance and the feeling of hunger, and regular hydration helps prevent the feeling of thirst confused with hunger.
To avoid constant snacking, you need to develop appropriate eating habits. It prevents hunger attacks, among others: long chewing of food – after about 20 minutes of eating, the brain receives a signal that hunger has been satisfied. If we eat in a hurry, even after eating a large portion of food, we may feel hungry quickly.
It is worth remembering to eat breakfastthat help replenish energy lost during sleep. We burn calories while sleeping, and a morning meal helps avoid a sudden drop in blood glucose levels and reduces appetite in the morning.
In pharmacies and herbal stores you can find numerous dietary supplements that help reduce appetite, e.g. herbal preparations, but they should not be overused. Before starting to use dietary supplements, it is worth consulting your doctor.
What is hunger?
Hunger is related to the body’s natural reaction to lack of food. The feeling of hunger means that the concentration of one of the nutrients in the body is decreasing and it is necessary to eat another meal. The need to eat is controlled by the hunger center and satiety center in the cerebral hypothalamus. Hunger occurs as a result of motor, thermal, hormonal and metabolic signals reaching the brain.
How is hunger different from appetite?
The desire to eat another meal may appear even if the stomach is full. Excessive appetite is a serious problem that is often difficult to solve on your own. Since the feeling of hunger is related to the impact of various stimuli on the hunger and satiety centers, it is worth consulting a doctor, because hunger attacks and excessive appetite may be caused by, for example, hormonal disorders or other abnormalities in the functioning of the body.
It should be remembered that consuming food is intended to provide the body with a specific amount of individual nutrients that are necessary for basic biological processes. Our body derives from food, among others: energy and building blocks. Appetite has nothing to do with the need to meet energy needs or provide the body with specific nutrients.
Appetite is the desire for a specific food product, e.g. sweets. Appetite often appears under the influence of stimuli reaching our senses, e.g. the smell coming from a bar or restaurant we pass, or the attractive appearance of a given dish.
What is emotional hunger?
Eating behaviors are influenced by various factors, including: lack of ability to deal with negative emotions. The psychological need to eat causes increased appetite to appear in stressful situations that cannot be avoided in everyday life. It is then said that we eat stress. Emotional hunger is one of the common causes of overweight and obesity and a factor that significantly affects motivation during weight loss and the effects of the diet.
Sadness, regret, loneliness and anxiety are emotions that can cause excessive appetite. Our brain quickly gets used to eating emotions, which means that shortly after eating a meal (usually a meal that provides the body with carbohydrates), the bad mood passes and we feel much better.
As a result of constant snacking, we start to gain weight, falling into a vicious circle of negative emotions. Extra weight causes sadness and frustration, which intensifies the feeling of hunger, and after eating a meal, there is a feeling of guilt and remorse, which should arouse anxiety and prompt you to seek help from a specialist. Losing weight when you feel emotional hunger is very difficult and requires the support of an experienced psychodietitian who will not only select the appropriate diet, but also help you understand the relationship between emotions and appetite.
Both excessive appetite and lack of hunger may be related to abnormalities in the functioning of the body. Compulsive eating and avoiding meals may indicate an eating disorder. Disturbing symptoms, e.g. feeling guilty after eating, avoiding meals despite feeling hungry, inducing vomiting to empty the stomach, or eating excessive amounts of food, should prompt consultation with a specialist.
Why does the body demand more food?
When the feeling of hunger appears, which increases gradually, the body informs us that it needs another portion of food because, among other things, has used up energy resources and there is a lack of energy substrates in the blood, the stomach filling level is too low and its walls start to shrink or there are problems with maintaining proper body temperature.
The human body is a well-functioning machine that needs fuel in the form of nutrients. It is worth remembering that the quality of food has a significant impact on our health and well-being, and properly composed meals prevent hunger attacks.
It often happens that we incorrectly interpret the signals our body sends us and confuse the feeling of hunger with the feeling of thirst. When we feel like eating another meal that will exceed our energy requirements, it is worth reaching for water. If your appetite is related to dehydration, drinking a glass of water will make you stop wanting to eat.
You should learn to distinguish between the actual need for food, which is related to physiology, and appetite, which is unrelated to the body’s need for food and filling the stomach. It’s not easy, so you need to pay attention to the situations in which you start to feel like eating another meal. If we haven’t eaten for several hours or the meal we consumed was incomplete, e.g. it contained a lot of quickly digested simple carbohydrates, we are experiencing hunger. If we have recently eaten a nutritious meal and the desire to eat more food appears due to stress, boredom, anger or other emotions, we are most likely dealing with emotional hunger.
Additional snacks are the enemy of effective weight loss, so if home remedies for reducing appetite do not work, it is worth consulting a dietitian.
Summary of information about hunger and appetite
The fight against excessive appetite is difficult, but it can be won by, among others: home remedies to reduce appetite. It is important to remember that hunger and appetite have little in common. Hunger occurs when the body begins to lack, among others: energy, and appetite is the desire to eat something even though our stomach is not empty and we do not need to provide the body with nutrients.
The daily diet of a person struggling with excessive appetite should include products that provide a long feeling of satiety and help reduce appetite, e.g. whole grain cereal products, high-value protein, as well as sources of dietary fiber, which is found not only in cereal products, but also in vegetables, fruits, seeds and stones.
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Karolina Gruszecka, Psychodietetics, or how to get out of the vicious weight loss circle, Sensus Publishing House, 2023
Ogden Jane, The Psychology of Eating. From healthy to disordered eating behaviors, Jagiellonian University Publishing House, Kraków, 2011
Krauss H., Physiology of nutrition, PZWL Medical Publishing House, Warsaw, 2019