By Julie Daniluk R.N.C. www.juliedaniluk.com
Nutritionist and host of Healthy Gourmet on the OWN network
Do you struggle with cravings? They aren’t your fault! It turns out that our hormones cause our cravings. Hormones are the messengers that influence how we feel, what we want and how fast our body stores fat.
When your stomach is empty it produces a hormone called ghrelin that causes hunger. Think of ghrelin like the gremlin that is sabotaging your weight loss efforts. If you let yourself go hungry, your cravings will be too intense to resist!
The trick is to stay full. The way to get rid of the “ghrelin gremlin” is to eat wholesome foods that suppress your appetite. No gimmicks, no crash diets, just consistent tools to help you stay full and satisfied. Reduce your calorie intake by just 500 calories a day and you could lose 50 lbs a year! This can be as easy as cutting back 3 ounces of potato chips or one cheeseburger a day.
I know that you don't want Dr. Oz to go away but you do want to avoid extra visits to your doctor due to unbalanced blood sugar. In 2010, Drs. Chawla and Patil confirmed that the soluble fiber in apples called pectin reduces the amount of sugar and calories that’s absorbed into the bloodstream after a meal. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1541-4337.2009.00099.x/full) That’s good news for folks who want to prevent type II diabetes, but it also makes apples one of the best snacks for dieters. Apple pectin prevents spikes in blood sugar that lead to increased fat storage. It will help you avoid the blood sugar “crash” that leaves you craving more food.
Apple pectin can keep you full for 1—2 hours.
Eat an apple before or after a meal to help keep you full faster and longer, or between meals to help keep blood sugar balanced. Consider adding apple pectin powder to yogurt, porridge or shakes.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate you can't digest. This is great news for weight loss because it means fiber has no calories. One of the richest sources of insoluble fiber is wheat bran.
Fill up your stomach with a large glass of water and 1 or 2 tablespoons of bran and you will stop the released of the hunger hormone ghrelin for approximately an hour (results will vary depending on the person). Bran absorbs water and moisture in the stomach, becoming a sponge. It physically expands in the stomach & makes you feel full, so you will eat less! Start off taking small amounts and gradually increase the dose depending on how your stomach responds.
Note: Wheat allergies are becoming more common. Rice bran will work as effectively as wheat bran.
Take bran with meals. Make sure to consume enough fluid to create the sponge effect. Bran is great in shakes or apple sauce, where the liquid is built into the food. Be careful to drink lots of liquid because if you don’t, then the fiber can become like cork in your digestive tract and cause painful cramps or constipation. The best time to have wheat bran would be at breakfast, after dinner or before bed. If you’re going to have fiber alone between meals, then accompany it with at least 12 ounces of water.
Green tea contains an amazing phytonutrient called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) that increases the hormone CCK (cholecystokinin), which is responsible for creating the feeling of satiation. Feeling full between meals is the greatest weapon against the battle of the bulge. (Chen et al., 2006 -- Open access link: (http://ajpcell.physiology.org/content/291/4/C726.full.pdf+html)
EGCG also stimulates your metabolism by activating thermogenesis, which means your cells are burning energy—including fat! (Shixian et al., 2006; Boschmann & Thielecke, 2007; -- Open access link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17201629 ; (http://www.jacn.org/content/26/4/389S.abstract)
In the short-term, this may help you feel satiated for 2—4 hours, depending on what kind of meal you ate recently.
Over the long-term, if you drink green tea daily, it will help prevent storage of excess fat and improve your body’s fat burning ability. Because it also affects your appetite-regulating hormones, it can change how your body metabolizes food and handles cravings!
EGCG liquid or tablets are a great tool to keep in your purse or pocket so you can avoid cravings when out shopping or at work. You can drink tea before, after, and between meals.
Note: Whole leaf green tea contains fluoride that may disrupt thyroid function so consider taking EGCG extract if you suffer from hypothyroidism.
Many people have heard about the health benefits of red wine. When you ferment red wine long enough, it becomes red wine vinegar. And while you wouldn’t want to drink a glass of red wine vinegar, it’s still a healthy, appetite-suppressing addition to your meal. Acetic acid, the active ingredient in vinegar, helps keep food in the stomach for a longer period of time so release of the hunger hormone ghrelin is delayed. Vinegar also improves digestion, and it helps you feel full faster and for a longer period of time (Hlebowicz et al., 2007 -- Open access link: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-230X/7/46
Acetic acid also helps prevent spikes in blood sugar following a meal (Östman et al., 2005 -- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16015276 ; Hlebowicz et al., 2007) and will lower the glycemic index of many foods. Red wine vinegar contains nutrients such the antioxidant resveratrol that has been shown to protect the heart! (Cerezo et al., 2008 -- Open access link: http://www.sre.urv.es/web/amb/Webgrup/Cat/AAB/docs/Publis_docs/Cerezo.FoodChem2008.pdf)
In the study by Dr. Östman and team, a dose of approximately 2 tablespoons gave the best results, and blood levels of sugar and insulin remained normalized for at least 45 minutes after women and men ate a meal of vinegar and white bread. If vinegar can help people cope with high glycemic foods like white bread, then imagine how effective it would be if you ate healthy whole grains!
You can expect it to fight cravings for 1—1.5 hours, depending on the contents of the meal consumed, but the effects of increased fat metabolism in the liver can extend more than 3 hours after a meal!
One tablespoon of red wine vinegar mixed with sparkling water makes a great cocktail. Drink this with meals to support digestion and regulate your blood sugar. A study by White and Johnston in 2007 ( http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/11/2814.full.pdf ) showed that taking vinegar at bedtime helps regulate blood sugar levels the next morning.
Many diets say that fats are to be avoided because they are high in calories, but not all fat is created equal. The omega-6 fatty acid found in pine nuts called pinolenic acid has been shown to increase the release of satiety hormones. A study in 2008 by Dr. Hughes and her team showed how this type of fat can actually promote weight loss and reduce food intake. Pinolenic acid appears to be particularly effective at stimulating the release of CCK (cholecystokinin), the hormone that works as a hunger suppressant. A study by Dr. Pasman (open access link: http://www.lipidworld.com/content/7/1/10 ) and team showed that pine nuts effectively improved satiety and increased CCK in overweight, post-menopausal women.
Hughes found that the satiety effects of pine nut oil lasts at least 30 minutes, but may not carry over into next meal (Hughes et al., 2008 -- Open access link: http://www.lipidworld.com/content/7/1/6 ).
Some people may experience a longer feeling of satiety as pinolenic acid affects hormone release. In some cases the sensation of fullness could last up to 2 hours!
Pine nuts make a great snack on the go. Consider making the delicious pesto below and adding it to your vegetable side dish, salad or whole grain noodles. Be sure to enjoy pine nuts and pine nut oil raw to protect the health qualities of the oil.
Here’s a pesto that will please your taste buds while it crushes your cravings! When served with whole grain crackers, this pesto contains all 5 appetite suppressants suggested.
|2 cups||fresh basil|
||green apple, sliced|
||red wine vinegar|
||pink rock or grey sea salt|
|Optional ingredient: 1 tsp
Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend on high until desired paste consistency is reached. Store in air-tight glass jar in fridge or freezer.
Serve with whole grain (high bran) crackers.
Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her soon to be published first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation (Random House), advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process. Join Julie's mailing list a get her FREE report on 50 ways to leave your cravings!
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Cerezo, A. B., W. Tesfaye, M. J. Torija, E. Mateo, M. C. Garcia-Parrilla, A. M. Troncoso. 2008. The phenolic composition of red wine vinegar produced in barrels made from different woods. Food Chemistry. 109(3): 606—615. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2008.01.013
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Open access link: http://ajpcell.physiology.org/content/291/4/C726.full.pdf+html
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Open access link: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-230X/7/46
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Open access link: http://www.lipidworld.com/content/7/1/6
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Open access link: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/1/281.full
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Open access link: http://www.lipidworld.com/content/7/1/10
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Open access link: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/11/2814.full.pdf