Fitness + Well-being

7 tips for reducing hunger if you're on a diet

When you’re looking to shed a few extra pounds, do you really need to fight through hunger pains to know you’re losing weight?

Not necessarily, Angel Planells, a Seattle-based dietitian and spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, told Fox News. “If we are methodical about our weight loss approach, we don’t have to be hungry,” he said.

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Lauren Blake, a dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, agreed, and told Fox News that people shouldn’t restrict to the point that they’re always hungry. “There’s evidence that says when we restrict too much, it can be harmful to our metabolism, and it supports the loss of lean muscle mass,” she said.

Planells and Blake both gave Fox News some tips on warding off hunger pains when on a diet:

1. Don’t skip breakfast.
To regulate your hunger throughout the day, eat breakfast, whether that’s a bowl of cereal, some eggs, or even dinner leftovers, Planells said.

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2. Keep healthy snacks on hand.
To keep your blood sugar stable, avoid going four hours or more without eating, Planells said. Try snacks like yogurt, a handful of nuts, or even peanut butter and fruit to keep you full, he said.

3. Don’t drink your calories.
Drinks deliver calories a lot faster than solids, Blake said. And since our guts sense fullness based on volume, not calories, drinks won’t leave us as satiated as solid foods, she explained.

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4. Reach for whole, fiber-rich foods.
Whole foods like fruits and vegetables are naturally lower in calories, and also have more water content and fiber that will keep you full longer, Blake said. Planells agreed: He noted that while the general American consumes about 10 grams of fiber per day, dietitians generally recommend Americans consume 25 to 30 grams per day.

5. Feature protein in your meals.
Protein helps with satiety, Planells said. Try animal-based sources such as beef, chicken, pork, or fish, or plant-based sources like soy and quinoa, which have the added benefit of extra fiber, Planells said.

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6. If you’re hungry late at night, drink a glass of water.
Sometimes, we can mistake hunger for thirst. If you’re hungry late at night, try drinking a glass of water, Planells said.

7. Do order an appetizer if you’re dining out.
It might seem counterintuitive, but don’t skip the appetizer section of the menu if you’re dining out. Opt for a bone-based soup or a salad to help fill you up and reduce the risk of overeating during the main course, Blake said.