Tame your appetite
Don't even try to defeat your appetite, the latest scientific findings say - satisfy it instead!
So, how do you tame your appetite to avoid gaining weight? You could drug it with a medication that alters brain chemical levels so you feel full when you are not, or you could try to overcome it with willpower by saying no to the high calorie foods you tend to overeat - and end up feeling deprived.
Don't even try to defeat your appetite, the latest scientific findings say - satisfy it instead! It is mainly the volume of food that creates the feeling of satiety after a meal, so if you eat plenty of food with a low Glycemic Index (GI) and relatively few kilojoules, you can satisfy your appetite without gaining weight. The fact that less insulin, a hormone that encourages fat storage, is secreted when consuming a low GI diet will assist in achieving more effective fat loss.
As a basic introduction, the Glycemic Index (GI) of foods is a rating of carbohydrate containing foods according to their actual effect on blood glucose levels. Foods with a low GI are more satisfying as they tend to be carbohydrates that release their sugar gradually into the bloodstream over a prolonged period of time, while the consumption of high GI foods can result in an immediate and short-lived increase in blood sugar levels.
So, what are these low kilojoule, high volume, low GI, appetite busting foods that can help keep unwanted weight at bay? You will be surprised by how familiar and tasty they are. Here are some of the best:
Soup creates satiety in about every way a food can - your eyes see a big portion, the large volume of liquid fills your stomach, and a fibre rich soup has a low GI taking more time to digest, thereby keeping you fuller for longer. Plan a tasty soup with real vegetables or beans in it - a soup with some chunks to chew, such as minestrone, potato-leek, corn chowder or mushroom barley. Remember though - do be careful with cream-based soups - they can be loaded with fat and kilojoules that can be disastrous for any weight loss plan. As the cold months draw nearer our stores will be stocking those delicious soup packs of pre-prepared fresh vegetables - so save yourself some time and enjoy the simpler ‘home-made soup' option.
If you don't want to start your meal with soup, have a big glass of vegetable juice instead. Any kind of vegetable juice will do, even tomato juice - it's likely to be the juice's low GI that ensures the feeling of satiety. Vegetable juicers, available from some of our stores, are marvellous for ensuring a ready supply of your own fresh vegetable juice - try various combinations of your favourite fruit and vegetables - you'll be glad that you did!
Most bran cereals are a terrific source of soluble fibre and along with oats, fruits, vegetables and legumes, fibre rich foods may be our best ally in ensuring our good health. Not only do these soluble fibre-rich foods provide a lot to eat for very few kilojoules, but they tend to have a lower GI - soluble fibre is known to have a delaying effect on the digestive process. This slower rate of digestion takes the edge off your appetite for longer than many other foods. One of the wiser ways to outsmart your appetite is to eat a good breakfast, especially one that is high in fibre and low in fat. So, start your day the healthy way with a bowl of a crunchy high fibre bran or oat cereal and a topping of fresh fruit and low fat yoghurt.
With their appealing sweetness and juiciness, berries and other fruit may be the smartest snack of all. Along with a high water content, berries have lots of fibre and a low glycemic index, so they are filling with few calories. That satisfaction from eating a generous bowl of strawberries or raspberries can make a huge difference to the overall success of your weight loss plan.
Reach for the blender and make yourself an ‘appetite-suppressing' fruit-protein breakfast smoothie with ½ a cup of skim milk, ½ a cup of plain yoghurt, ½ a frozen banana, ½ a cup of frozen mixed berries and almonds. The meal knocks out hunger because it is nutrient dense, and has a low Glycemic Index.
Studies have shown that protein - such as that found in fish, chicken, meat, dairy products, egg, nuts and dried beans - may be more filling bite for bite than carbohydrate or fat. A mixed meal containing carbohydrates and protein tend to have a lower blood sugar response or a lower GI, than a meal containing only carbohydrate. Try these ideas for a healthy low GI, mixed meal:
A pita bread filled with strips of chicken mixed with baked beans, chopped spring onions, lettuce and low oil mayonnaise
A large baked sweet potato filled with cottage cheese and chopped gherkins / peppadews or tuna in water with chopped onion, cherry tomatoes and low oil mayonnaise
Brown rice with lentils (cook them together) and a medley of stir-fried vegetables in a sweet and sour sauce
Remember that it is not advisable to eat too much protein - you can overtax your kidneys and an over-consumption of protein can lead to osteoporosis, arthritis and gout.
Fat free dairy products
Drinking fat free milk or having a fat free yoghurt before or with a meal will help you feel full sooner and you are likely to eat less the next time. Dairy products are a wonderful combination of carbohydrate and protein, and they have a minimal effect on the blood sugar level. They are also a good source of calcium and other essential micro-nutrients, so ensure your diet is enriched with products such as yoghurt, frozen yoghurt, cottage cheese and milk.
Beans and lentils
Beans, peas and lentils - so much more than you thought they could be! They give variety and they come in all kinds of attractive shapes, colours and flavours, opening the door to dozens of new and easy dishes including soups, snacks and salads. And when you eat them, you are getting protein and fibre with only a fraction of the amount of fat you would find even in lean meat. Their high soluble fibre content delays the digestive processes, thereby lowering the GI of a meal. Needless to say, including beans with a meal will ensure that satisfying feeling of fullness for hours after eating.