5 Foods That Fight Hunger Pains
WebMD tells you how you can eat volumes of the right foods and still lose weight.
Cutting carbs, calories: You lose weight, that's for sure. But those
between-meal hunger pains are vicious. Can you make it home tonight without
chewing off your hand?
For more than a decade, nutritionists have investigated this issue of
"satiety" -- feeling full -- to help us fight off hunger pains, writes
Barbara Rolls, PhD, in her book, The Volumetrics Weight-Control
Program. Rolls is the Guthrie Chair in nutrition at Pennsylvania State
University in Pittsburgh.
"Cut calories by simply eating less, and you'll feel hungry and
deprived," she writes.
Rolls' extensive research has led to this conclusion: By strategically
increasing a meal's water and fiber content -- with the addition of fruits,
vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains -- you can dramatically cut the
calories per portion, she tells WebMD.
Fruits and vegetables naturally have a high water content, which allows you
to eat more, because the food is "energy dense."
It's the grapes versus raisins concept: A cup and a half of grapes equals ¼
cup raisins for a snack that is about 100 calories. The water in grapes lets
you eat more, so you feel fewer hunger pains, she explains.
Also, a tiny bit of fat helps you last longer, Althea Zanecosky, MS, RD, a
spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, tells WebMD. Your system
burns carbs in an hour or two, so the hunger pains hit midmorning. "If you
add a little fat to your breakfast, low-fat rather than skim milk, or low-fat
yogurt, or a smear of peanut butter on a bagel, you're not hungry so soon
5 Foods to Try
Zanecosky and Rolls dish out their top "high satiety"
- Soup. Start with a broth-based soup (rather than
higher-calorie cream soups). Add your favorite cut-up veggies, plus a protein
such as beans, chicken, or fish, so you have all the elements of an
energy-dense, satisfying meal, says Rolls.
- Smoothies. If they're made with low-fat yogurt and loads
of fruit, you're getting protein, fiber, and calcium, Rolls explains. Smoothies
have become a nutritional mainstay.
- Pasta primavera. Start with whole-wheat pasta, and then
add a bunch of your favorite sautéed veggies, which "can be pretty darn
good," Rolls tells WebMD. "The more you increase the proportion of
vegetables to pasta, the greater the satiety. We've done a lot of studies with
these kinds of mixed casseroles or pasta dishes, and as you add more veggies,
you feel fuller."
- Popcorn. It's truly energy dense, plus there's the volume
effect. "If you have air-popped popcorn (and don't add fat to it), you get
a huge amount. That's good because it gives you lots of sensory satisfaction.
There's research showing that the perception of eating a whole lot can trick
the system," Rolls tells WebMD.
- Big salads. A meal-sized salad needs grated cheddar
cheese, low-fat dressing, plus an abundance of fruits and veggies to provide
satiety, says Zanecosky. "If I just have vinegar and veggies in a salad,
I'm not always full two hours later. When you add the cheese and a little
dressing, it stays with you."