Food is a pleasure. We love snacks. But if your goal is to eat healthier, lose weight, or just get through a day of meetings without feeling bloated, it may be worth looking into foods and drinks that can help you control your appetite.
There are many options, including teas, foods, and supplements, to keep you satisfied. Some of these items might be already in your home (oh, hello, cinnamon!) You can also grab the rest on your next visit to the grocery store.
But before we get started, here are some ground rules.
- Talking to your healthcare provider is a smart idea before you make any major changes to your diet.
- Avoid any appetite suppressant that promises to be quick and easy. Make sure you take note of all possible side effects.
- You should only purchase reputable brands of supplements and herbs if you are certain that they are right for you.
- You already know water is better for you than sugary sodas and fruit juices.
Let’s not forget about how great it is. Water has zero calories and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture recommend it as your primary beverage.
Hydration can also help you eat less. A study that was published in 2016 examined the relationship between obesity and dehydration. It found that people who weren’t adequately hydrated had higher body masses indexes (BMIs).
Sometimes, you may feel hungry even though your body is thirsty. Water can help curb the craving for snacking. Drink a glass of water, and wait for 30 minutes. It won’t make you feel hungry again. If you feel thirsty, water is the best thing.
Water is not meant to replace a meal or snack. Your body still requires nutrients from a healthy diet.
For those who love chocolate, there’s good news: Dark chocolate is a healthier option than milk chocolate.
A 2011 small study compared the hunger levels of 16 healthy men after eating either milk chocolate or dark chocolate. People who ate dark chocolate were more satisfied and had less desire for sweets. They also ate less overall, compared to those who ate milk chocolate.
Although the FDA does not have a standard for using the label “dark” chocolate, dark chocolates generally don’t contain milk solids. They also contain higher cacao percentages than milk chocolate. 70% cacao chocolate was used in the study.
You can find a sweet treat that doesn’t have too many calories by choosing chocolate with a high percentage of cacao. This will usually contain less sugar.
This is another reason to enjoy a piece of dark chocolate after a meal.
Gymnema is a great option if you want to reduce your sugar cravings. The Gymnema Sylvstre plant is native to India and Australia. It can also be found in parts of Africa. Its Hindi name, “gurmar,” refers to “destroyer sugar,” and this pretty much sums up its effects on appetite.
Its most active ingredient, german, prevents you from eating sweet and bitter foods. This makes it an effective ally against sugar cravings.
Gymnema could also aid in carb and fat metabolism. A 2014 review of studies revealed that gymnemic acid, a compound found in gymnema, has anti-diabetic and can decrease body weight while inhibiting glucose absorption.
Gymnema can be taken as a tea, capsule, or powder. Talk to your healthcare provider about the dosage before you take any herbal supplements.
Although 5-HTP sounds like something you see in “Star Wars”, it is actually an amino acid that your body produces. It’s also known as 5-hydroxytryptophan and is a precursor to the chemical serotonin which regulates your mood.
While more research is needed to understand serotonin and satiety some research suggests that increasing serotonin levels may help suppress appetite.
A 1998 study that included 20 participants found that people who took 750 mgs of 5-HTP per day ate less carbohydrate, fat, and gained weight than those who did not take the supplement.
5-HTP can be found in the seeds and roots of Griffonia simplicifolia Baill, a medicinal West African plant. It is also available in supplement form.
Fenugreek may be listed in some recipes. The herb can be used as a seed or leaf in Indian cooking. It is also used in Ayurveda (an ancient Indian medical system), as an herbal supplement. The high fiber dried seeds smell like maple syrup.
Fenugreek may suppress appetite over the counter natural suppressants. In a small study in 2009, the herb was found to delay stomach emptying and slow down the absorption and digestion of fat and carbohydrates. This led to a decrease in appetite and a reduction in blood sugar.
Participants who consumed 8g of fiber from Fenugreek felt fuller for longer periods than those who consumed half the amount or none.
Perhaps the greatest news is that fenugreek has very few or none known side effects.
Green Tea has an already-recognized reputation as the “healthiest beverage on Earth” because of its antioxidants. Did you know that green tea extract, a concentrated version of the beverage, may increase metabolism, aid in weight loss, and help to burn fat?
This is possible because of the caffeine and catechins in green tea extract (specifically epigallocatechin galate or EGCG). The well-known stimulant caffeine may aid in fat loss and calorie burning. EGCG may also help.
Green tea extract can be combined with other ingredients such as soluble fibers to decrease appetite.
When drinking green tea, it is best to limit your intake of EGCG to 338 mg per day. It should also be kept below 704 mgs. Your liver may be damaged if you consume EGCG in higher doses than 800 mg.
Caralluma Fimbriata is a burgundy-colored native cactus that can help reduce hunger and increase endurance. The active compounds found in this plant may increase the flow of serotonin within your brain, which can help to reduce carbohydrate intake and suppress appetite.
A 2013 small study found that participants who consumed 1,000 mg of Caralluma Fimbriata daily for three months, in addition to following a particular diet plan and exercise program, lost more weight and circumference than those who did not take the supplement.
Although more research is required to determine whether Caralluma fimbriata causes adverse reactions, existing studies show that there aren’t any. The FDA considers Caralluma safe (GRAS). The recommended daily intake is 500 mg twice daily.
It is important to increase your fiber intake for digestion, metabolism, weight maintenance, and digestive health.
Glucomannan, a water-soluble dietary fibre found in konjac (a root that is grown all over Asia), is a type. Konjac, also known as elephant yam, is the main ingredient of low-calorie shirataki noodles. These translucent noodles are often used in Japanese cuisine.
Glucomannan is able to absorb water and make its way to your colon largely uningested. The stomach is delayed by glucomannan bulking up.
While this could theoretically help you eat less, and lose weight, more recent research has not shown a significant relationship between glucomannan intake and weight loss, hunger, and fullness.
A 2005 study found that glucomannan supplementation as part of a low-calorie diet resulted in significant weight loss, compared to a placebo. A dose of 1 to 4 grams was found to be tolerated well.
Tip: Mix this supplement with some water. Glucomannan can cause choking hazards if it expands before reaching your stomach.
Trans fats do not have to be bad for you. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), a natural transfat found in meats and dairy, is also a good option. This fatty acid can be used to aid in weight loss. It has been shown to increase fat burning, inhibit fat absorption, and stimulate fat metabolism.
Participants who consumed 3.6g of CLA daily over 13 weeks, while eating low-calorie meals, felt less hungry than those who ate the placebo diet. However, the CLA group reported eating less breakfast.
CLA can cause digestive problems, insulin resistance and oxidative stress. It is generally safe when taken in 3 to 6g per day.
Ginger can be used to enhance the flavor of sweet and savory dishes such as cookies, soups, and curries. Teas made from the zesty rhizome (whose roots are underground) are also very popular.
Ginger has been shown to improve digestion and ease nausea. Who else flies with a bag full of Gin-Gins candy? Did you know that ginger can also regulate your appetite?
A small study in 2012 found that ginger-eating men felt fuller and less hungry three hours later than those who did not. This study used 2 grams dried ginger powder, dissolved in hot water and made a tea.
Ginger is safe and has no side effects when used in tea, capsules, tinctures, whole foods, or as a whole food.
Garcinia Cambogia is a tropical fruit that hails from India and Southeast Asia. The rind can be used to flavor curries. It also contains hydroxycitric acids, which have been proven to reduce appetite and weight loss.
There were mixed results. Some studies showed that it decreased appetite, prevented fat production, and reduced body weight. Others found it ineffective. It might be effective for some people, but not for others.
Side effects such as stomach discomfort, headaches, and rashes have been reported. However, Garcinia Cambogia is safe when taken in high doses up to 2,800 mg per day.
Another reason to enjoy your morning cup of coffee is the caffeine content, which can aid in weight loss and appetite control.
Studies show that drinking coffee before meals can reduce hunger and stomach emptying. You may also find it easier to eat less during the day and at the next meal by drinking moderate amounts of coffee.
For weight loss, the recommended “dose” is approximately 2 cups of coffee or 200 mgs of caffeine. Different coffee drinks contain different amounts of caffeine.
Caffeine can also cause anxiety, restlessness, heart palpitations, and disruptions to sleep.
Yerba Mate is a South American plant that contains caffeine. Most commonly, it’s consumed in a tea made with the leaves and stems from the Ilex Paraguariensis tree. It is well-known for its ability to boost metabolism and assist with weight loss.
A small study found that women who took 2g of yerba mat before riding for half an hour had less appetite, increased focus, energy, and metabolism.
You can safely consume yerba mate in recommended amounts of 3 cups of tea daily or 1 to 1.5 grams powder daily.
However, certain compounds found in yerba mat were shown to be monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI). Talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking MOAI medication before trying it.
Do you like spicy food? Enjoying your food with a kick can help you to eat more.
Cayenne pepper’s active ingredient, capsaicin can boost your metabolism and reduce your appetite. Capsaicin may decrease the production of ghrelin, which is a hunger hormone.
A small 2005 study found that some participants consumed 0.9 grams of red bell pepper (0.25 percent capaicin), either in capsules or in tomato juice. Others took a placebo.
Capsaicin capsules were 10 percent more filling than those who had a placebo. Those who consumed spicy tomato juice were 16 percent less hungry. Capsaicin made both groups feel fuller and ate less.
To reap the benefits, you can simply add hot bell pepper to your food or use it as a supplement. Cayenne can cause irritation and can be used to reduce blood pressure.
Cinnamon is a favorite spice for baking. However, it can also be used to control your appetite.
A 2007 study found that adding 6 grams of cinnamon to rice pudding (roughly 1 1/4 teaspoons) to your meal can slow down your stomach’s emptying. This may make you feel fuller for longer.
Cinnamon could also regulate blood sugar (or even prevent sugar cravings) as well as increase satiety.
The bottom line
It can be difficult to lose weight, especially if your favorite food is eating. Limiting your food intake can be difficult. These 15 natural appetite suppressants will give you many options to curb your cravings.
Before making major changes in your diet or trying new supplements, make sure to consult a dietitian or a healthcare provider. Some appetite suppressants, even though they are natural, can have side effects. Your health is the most important thing.