Do you sometimes feel ravenous, even though you just polished off a tasty lunch, a full dinner or a midnight snack? Some food ingredients can trick our bodies into not recognising when we're full, causing "rebound hunger" that can add inches to our waistlines. But these simple tweaks can help quiet your cravings.
You Drink Too Much Soft Drink
Soft drink, iced teas and other sweetened beverages are our biggest source of sugar – accounting for about two-thirds of our annual intake. New research from the University of California at San Francisco indicates that fructose can trick our brains into craving more food, even when we 're full. It works by impeding the body 's ability to use leptin, the "satiation hormone" that tells us when we've had enough to eat.
Your Breakfast Wasn't Big Enough
After following 6764 healthy people for almost four years, researchers found that those who ate just 1200 kilojoules for breakfast gained almost twice as much weight as those who ate 2000kJ or more for breakfast. The reason: eating a big breakfast makes for smaller rises in blood sugar and insulin throughout the day, meaning fewer sudden food cravings.
You Skipped the Salad
Most people don 't eat enough leafy greens, which are rich in the essential B-vitamin folate and help protect against depression, fatigue and weight gain. In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, dieters with the highest levels of folate in their bodies lost 8.5 times as much weight as those with the lowest levels. Leafy greens are also high in vitamin K, another insulin-regulating nutrient that helps quash cravings. Best sources: cos lettuce, spinach, radicchio.
You Don't Stop for Tea
According to a study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, people who drank one cup of black tea after eating high-carb foods reduced their blood-sugar levels by 10 per cent for two-and-a-half hours after the meal, which means they stayed full longer and had fewer food cravings. Researchers credit the polyphenolic compounds in black tea for suppressing rebound hunger.
You're Not Staying Fluid
Dehydration often mimics the feeling of hunger. If you've just eaten and still feel hungry, drink a glass of water before eating more, and see if your desires don't diminish.
Researchers at Flinders University found that visual distractions can help curb cravings. To test yourself, envision a huge, sizzling steak. If you're truly hungry, the steak will seem appealing. But if that doesn 't seem tempting, chances are you 're in need of a distraction, not another meal.