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Two Tips for Eating Less


One of the most popular posts on this site is my article “24 Ways to Stop Feeling Hungry.” While I am still evaluating the book You: On a Diet (currently it’s getting points added for lots of details about the workings of the human body and points off for a never-ending series of terrible similes), I’m intrigued by two hints they give for triggering the body’s natural systems for feeling full and satisfied. While I should qualify that I’ve neither tried these nor verified that they’re based on solid research (no offense intended to Doctors Roizen and Oz; I just like to check these kinds of things out), they seem promising enough to put forward for your consideration.

1. Eat a high-fiber breakfast
If you’re interested in weight loss and healthy eating, you probably already know that getting plenty of fiber helps us feel full and provides other health benefits. According to Oz and Roizen, however, eating a high-fiber breakfast specifically tends to suppress feelings of hunger in the late afternoon. My guess would be that this has to do with the speed at which the body processes fiber, but that’s strictly my own speculation.

2. Eat unsaturated fats about 20 minutes before a meal
According to Roizen and Oz, a certain amount of unsaturated fat (the “good” kind of fat, as found in foods like “nuts, seeds, fish and vegetable oils” according to the American Heart Association) naturally trigger’s one of the body’s “I’m not hungry” responses. They therefore recommend eating 65 calories or more of unsaturated fats (for instance, a handful of almonds) 20 minutes before a meal to prevent overeating during the meal. 20 minutes is about the amount of time your body needs to go from having enough food to signaling you that you’ve had enough food–which is one of several reasons eating slowly is such a great idea.

As you will have noticed, neither of these tricks has much to do with the psychology of eating: rather, they’re examples of stacking the cards in your favor to minimize the need to overcome urges you’d rather avoid. While overreliance on these kinds of techniques is likely to ultimately backfire, using them to help along more mental efforts can be a winning combination–as long as the tricks you’re using are good ones!

Photo by IainBuchanan

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