This is a question of worry many people face. You're trying to drop a few pounds, so common sense is to start eating less and cut out calories. Nonetheless, there's actually a strategic way to do this so you don't go hungry and you're still getting the nutrients you need. Here's how to cut calories without actually starving yourself!
Protein-packed foods can actually help you manage your hunger, which can help you cut calories safely. It decreases hunger by releasing an appetite-suppressing hormone cholecystokinin (a.k.a. CCK), which sends fullness signals to your brain. Additionally, protein reduces ghrelin, a hormone that makes you feel hungry. Therefore by eating more protein, you’re less likely to go for a snack or overeat at your next meal. You should shoot for 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal to remain safe and healthy.
Size matters when it comes to what you eat. Basically what this means is you'll eat more calories with a food that is smaller or crushed compared to bigger foods in a bigger shape. So denser foods, such as cereal, squeeze more food into a smaller volume, which increases the calories you're actually eating. In order to cut calories, choose big-volume foods with a lighter-weight. Some great examples are salad, popcorn, whole grain English muffins, bran flakes, and tubular pasta.
Don't solely eat fatty food, but some fat can actually assist your weight loss as well. Similar to protein, fat influences several hormones like CCK that help you feel full. Research has also shown that heart-friendly polyunsaturated fats can increase another satiety hormone, peptide YY, that reduces the hunger-promoting ghlerin. Try eating more foods with this kind of fat, which can be found in walnuts, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed. Just be sure to stay away from saturated fats so your heart and health are protected!
But not too often! How frequently or infrequently you eat can make a huge difference on your appetite and weight. The trick here is to eat often enough without eating too much. You can do this by having three portion-controlled meals each day, followed by one or two small snacks in between. By eating four or five times a day, those eating intervals will be shorter, so your appetite will stay more consistent. Compared to only eating three times a day, there's longer intervals between meals, which can cause large fluctuations in appetite and increased hunger after you digested. Get the difference?
It's a given that whole wheat pasta and bread are packed with fiber your body needs. However, don't sell your whole grains short. There are many more whole grains out there that can defeat hunger better, such as oats, barley, and rye. Research shows that these grains encourage your gut to grow beneficial bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids, which in return helps you feel fuller faster and eat less overall. AND of course, will teach you how to cut calories each day.