When you get that ‘empty’ feeling between meals, it could be a sign of a lack of energy and nutrients. To prevent unhealthy cravings, nutritionists stress the importance of adopting a healthy balanced diet. A complete meal provides all the energy your body needs to function properly for several hours. By definition, a balanced meal should contain starch, protein, a dairy product as well as fruit and vegetables.
Alongside a healthy, balanced diet, it’s also important to maintain a good eating ‘rhythm’. That means not skipping any of the three main meals of the day, particularly breakfast, the importance of which is often underestimated. A decent breakfast will provide energy and vitality throughout the morning, so you won’t feel the need to indulge in ‘elevenses’. On the other hand, it’s just as important not to ‘trade’ lunch– even if you eat it at your desk - for dinner!
The brain plays a key role in regulating feelings of hunger. In particular, it generates the desire to eat, as well as the satiety effect – the sensation you feel when you’re no longer hungry. However, it needs time to regulate hunger and satiety. When you eat a meal, it takes your brain at least 20 minutes to register that you’ve eaten enough. That’s why it’s important to take your time over eating, both to avoid consuming excessive amounts and to prevent the urge to snack after a meal.
Apart from eating slowly, there are other ways of accelerating and prolonging the sensation of satiety. For example, you can opt for appetite-suppressing foods such as apples, grapefruit, almonds, oat bran or even locust bean gum. All these foods have a high fibre content which produces a natural hunger-curbing effect by either increasing the volume of the alimentary bolus or slowing down digestion in the small intestine.
To make the most of the hunger-suppressing effects of dietary fibre, good hydration is essential. In fact, it’s worth knowing that there are two types of fibre – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre, such as the pectin in apples, forms a kind of gel when it comes into contact with water, which slows down digestion and prolongs the sensation of satiety. Insoluble fibre, such as hemicellulose found in oat bran or psyllium seeds, absorbs water and expands, thus increasing the volume of the alimentary bolus.
If, in spite of all the above-mentioned advice, you still feel the urge to snack during the day, it’s a good idea to anticipate such cravings in order to avoid foods that are too sugary or fatty. Make sure you have a healthy snack available such as an apple or handful of almonds. You can also take advantage of slimming supplements such as Appetite Control Formula, which is formulated to control feelings of hunger and reduce appetite.
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