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Weight-Loss Strategies

Five Ways to Curb Hunger Naturally

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hat rumbly feeling in your stomach usually means one thing: hunger. Unfortunately, those pangs can prompt you to grab the closest vending machine snack or get a fast-food fix, which can really pile on the pounds. But what if there were a food that would curb hunger and help you stay full longer? What if this food were also healthful, relatively low in calories, and convenient? The good news is that there are five of these appetite-appeasing foods, and there’s a good chance one or more of these foods is already in your pantry. Eat an apple a day: Put something solid in your stomach to stave off hunger. Researchers at Penn State University found that when 58 adult volunteers each ate a fresh apple 15 minutes before lunch, they scored higher on feelings of fullness after the meal compared with when they had eaten a similar-sized serving of applesauce, apple juice, or even fiber-enriched apple juice prior to the meal. What’s more, the fresh apple eaters also consumed 15% fewer calories at lunch. Not bad considering an average-size apple provides only 90 calories. For a little added fun, try one of the newer high-flavor varieties such as Honeycrisp, Cameo, or Pink Lady. Try rye: Eat a bowl of whole grain rye cereal if you’d like your breakfast to stick to your ribs at least until lunch. Swedish researchers tested rye’s

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TODAY’S DIET & NUTRITION

hunger-preventing effects in 22 volunteers and found that the satiating powers lasted nearly eight hours. Scientists theorize that the high dietary fiber content of whole grain rye makes it so filling. In this study, volunteers ate a 2-ounce serving of rolled rye flakes cooked in 1 cup of water for 3 minutes in the microwave. Similar to rolled oats,


Weight-Loss Strategies

rye flakes are made from cut rye groats that are precooked and rolled to make them faster to prepare. Some studies show that oatmeal, like rye, can deliver a similar satiating effect. Indulge with sweet dried plums: Reach for an afternoon snack that not only will sooth your sweet tooth, but also curb your appetite. In a study at San Diego State University, 19 volunteers rated a snack of dried plums, better known as prunes, as more satisfying than a snack of low-fat cookies. Blood samples taken from the subjects after they ate these snacks revealed that the dried plums produced the greatest increase in a satiety-regulating hormone called ghrelin. Subjects in this study ate approximately 10 dried plums for their snack.

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Soup it up: Spooning into a bowl of soup

before a meal can dampen hunger. That’s what Penn State University researchers discovered when they served nothing or a creamy (puréed), chunky (chopped), or clear broth vegetable soup to 73 adult volunteers 15 minutes prior to lunch. The soup eaters ate 20% fewer calories than those who didn’t eat soup. Women in the study were served 11⁄2 cups of soup (129 calories) and men 2 cups (172 calories). While researchers didn’t test the hunger-stopping effects of higher-calorie soups, it makes sense that a similar-sized serving of vichyssoise (11⁄2 cups with 470 calories), for example, may not offer the same net calorie reduction benefits as would a lower-calorie soup when the calories of both soup and subsequent meal are tallied together. Go nuts and chew well: The combination of eating nuts and chewing them well can keep you full for two hours or longer. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by researchers at Purdue University who asked 13 adults to eat a serving of 45 almonds and chew them either 10, 25, or 40 times. More chewing resulted in the greatest feelings of fullness and the fewest hunger pangs. The reason, said scientists, is that the oils released from the well-chewed nuts raised appetitesuppressing hormones in the brain. The only downside is that 45 almonds contain 310 calories and 26 grams of fat. The upside? Swap nuts for less nutritious snacks such as chips or cookies and cut down on other sources of less healthful fats in your diet such as butter, margarine, and mayonnaise.

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— Carol M. Bareuther, RD

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curb appetite