When it comes to dieting, one of the biggest reasons why many people fail to stick with a diet or stray from the diet they are on, is simply because most of us become hungrier. The reason for this is when we are dieting to lose weight, we are at a calorie restriction compared to what we normally eat, so although our food quantity decreases in overall consumption, the hunger our body craves when it’s not dieting is still there. So how do we combat this hunger pain our body creates so we can stay on track easier?
One of the biggest things to do is to eat calorie dense foods. A way to look at this is to consume a diet rich in foods that contain fewer calories per cup or pound when compared to other foods you would normally eat. For example, if you ate a cup of raisins, you would consume over 400 calories from 1 cup. Raisins, however, are just dehydrated grapes, and although essentially they are the same products, 1 cup of grapes is only around 90 calories or so. Although it may not seem like much, a simple switch in your diet like from raisins to grapes can help you remain fuller while cutting back on over half of the calories you’d normally eat, to allow for more food consumption during the day.
What Should You Look For?
The energy density of food or calories per ounce of food will vary with each individual food selection. However, the simplest and easiest way to be able to consume the greatest amount of volume for the least amount of calories would be to opt for foods with high water content. This includes foods such as vegetables and fruit since most of them are almost purely water, it can provide you with a great volume of food to satisfy your hunger while still being low on overall calorie consumption. If you want to have energy dense foods that are high in protein, you’d opt for foods such as egg whites, fish, skinless chicken, and even legumes. If you want energy dense foods high in healthy fats, you could look for some nuts, seeds, and oils (although these are high in fats, they are healthy fats that are essential for the health of the body).
Fruits and vegetables have a high water and fibre content which is why you feel fuller for longer after consuming most fruits and veggies. Foods such as grapefruit, watermelon, carrots and more are over 70% water content which is why they contain such few calories. Combine the low-calorie value with the rich fibre content of most veggies and your body’s thirst for hunger for being quenched and diminished greatly.
Is A High-Fibre Diet Best?
Not all foods digest at the same rate either. The slower the digestion process of a food, the longer your body will feel full. This is why a fibre rich diet is very important when dieting for weight loss as it helps aid in feeling full for a longer duration of time. Women should be eating around 20g of fibre a day at minimum and males should try to consume around 30g of fibre a day. What fibre will do for dieting is not only provide you will more volume for your calories, but fibre takes a lot longer to digest compared to other nutrients. Since the digestion of fibre rich foods is longer compared to most, you are left feeling fuller or bloated a lot longer after a fibre rich meal compared to non-fiber rich meals. For foods that are high in fibre, some examples would be Raspberries, apples, banana’s, spaghetti, oats, bread, legumes, nuts, and most seeds.
If you are like me and have a bad sweet tooth, some foods to try out to help you remain feeling full for longer while still satisfying your sweet tooth cravings would be products such as low fat ice cream, low fat or low fat Greek yogurt (add some berries or other fresh fruit in for more volume and flavor), and even a small bowl of oats with berries in it can do the trick sometimes (fresh blueberries warmed in a bowl of oats tastes close to a blueberry pie). The trick with eating sweets on your diet though is to limit the sweets to not have most of your calories in your diet taken up by sugars and carb sources that are low in protein and healthy fat content.
The Take Home Message
By including many of the foods I have listed or doing some research for similar foods, you will be able to fix that issue of hunger while dieting that most people fall into. Fixing this hunger pain will prevent you from over eating, indulging in foods you shouldn’t be eating much of, and constantly searching for snacks throughout your day. Add some high fibre foods to your diet and increase your overall protein intake and I can promise you that you will begin to feel and remain feeling fuller for a lot longer.