One of the biggest problems with dieting can be the constant feeling of hunger that has you focused on food for 24 hours a day.
I think most of us would agree that if you could remain satiated throughout the day, while still losing fat, it would be much easier to stay on track with your fitness goals, especially over the long term.
Luckily, I’ve studied most of the research and have prepared for you three key methods to reduce hunger and lose fat effortlessly. Let’s find out how to reduce hunger and improve your dieting success.
1. Drink More Water
Perhaps one of the fastest and easiest ways to reduce hunger and lose fat is to simply increase your water intake!
Drinking more water throughout the day can increase your Resting Energy Expenditure (REE), or simply put, help you burn more calories at rest. This is one reason that fat burners and higher ratios of lean mass increase your resting energy expenditure or help you lose weight. Interestingly, drinking water can also have a similar effect, helping you burn more calories.
One group of researchers investigated the effects of drinking 500ml of water and the subsequent effects on calorie expenditure.
This study was a cross-over design, meaning that each subject experienced both conditions (water and no water). The results showed that the water condition increased energy expenditure by 24% for up to 60 minutes after ingestion, whereas the non-water condition did not have an effect on calorie expenditure. (1)
While this may not seem very significant, as it’s just a boost for one hour, these small changes can add up over the long term. In addition to this, drinking water before meals can also curb your appetite and help you reduce calorie intake, a key factor in weight loss.
One study investigated this, giving water before the meal over a 12-week period. Both groups were placed in a calorie deficit; however, only one group received 500ml of water before each meal.
After the 12 weeks, researchers found that the pre-meal water group lost a staggering 44% more weight compared to the non-pre-meal water group. Weight loss was 4.4lbs greater in the pre-meal water group.
How does it work? Well, it seems that drinking water before a meal will reduce the amount of calories you consume in that meal because of increased satiety. As mentioned, small reductions daily can lead to larger, more significant weight loss after weeks or months! (2)
2. Eat More Vegetables
Eating more vegetables is another underappreciated but easy and effective way to reduce hunger and lose fat.
Aside from providing your body with vital vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, vegetables are the perfect food to reduce hunger and help you lose weight. In short, vegetables:
– Have a low energy density, which makes them an ideal food to lose weight. (3)
– Have a high water content, which can help fill you up and reduce hunger.
– Contain plenty of fibre, which has been shown to increase satiety after a meal and aid in weight loss. (4)
– Fill your plate, reducing the amount of higher calorie starches or fats, which also reduces calorie intake during the meal and aids in long-term weight loss.
In fact, one study investigated the effects of a high-fibre diet while in a caloric deficit. Both groups were in the same calorie deficit, however, the high fibre group lost 5.4lbs more compared to the strict calorie deficit group. (5)
Lastly, vegetables are also a great whole food to have in your diet. Vegetables have been shown to increase satiety while reducing your likelihood to overeat when compared to processed foods. (6)
3. Eat More Protein
High-protein diets have become very appealing for those looking to reduce hunger while maintaining muscle mass. High-protein diets have been shown to increase satiety and decrease calorie intake.
One study investigated the effects of a low-protein diet (15% total macronutrients) compared with a high protein diet (30% total macronutrients). Carbohydrate content was held constant between conditions. The researchers found that satiety was significantly higher in the high protein group, while daily calorie intake was reduced, leading to greater total weight loss in the high protein group. (7)
Another study investigated the effects of two calorie-restricting diets; high protein vs high carbohydrate, finding the high protein group lost more body fat while preserving muscle mass. It is also important to note that the high protein diet improved insulin sensitivity, whereas the high carbohydrate diet actually witnessed a decrease in insulin sensitivity. (8)
Finally, another study compared high protein plus exercise and found that the high protein + exercise group lost an average of 15.4lbs over 12 weeks, whereas the high carb + exercise group lost only 8.8lbs. (9)
As you can see, the research is very strong and supportive for you to increase your total daily protein. As a rule of thumb, eating around 1g per one pound of body weight is sufficient to meet all your protein needs, boost weight loss and satiety!
Here are some high protein foods to focus on:
4. Bonus Tips:
Along with the key tips above, here are a few bonus tips to consider:
– Drink flavoured water or diet soda to reduce cravings and keep you full between meals.
– Chew sugar-free gum to help keep you satiated and reduce cravings.
– Exercise more to reduce hunger and help you lose more weight.
– Increase your NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis), such as walking more, taking the stairs etc.
– Snack on low-calorie foods – if you are very hungry try a small snack of vegetables, berries or lean meats, rather than a full meal.
– Focus on low calorie meals, which, as discussed earlier, will keep you feeling fuller and reduce hunger.
– Supplement with substances such as caffeine and green tea which can reduce your appetite while boosting your metabolism.
Although these tips may not be the magic bullet you were after, they are proven lifestyle changes that will not only help you lose weight but, most importantly, keep it off in the long term.
Next time you diet, or, if you are currently struggling to maintain your weight, try using these techniques to make your life a little easier, without having to religiously track macros or starve just to lose a few more pounds.
1.) Boschmann, M., Steiniger, J., Franke, G., Birkenfeld, A. L., Luft, F. C., & Jordan, J. (2007). Water drinking induces thermogenesis through osmosensitive mechanisms. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 92(8), 3334-3337.
2.) Dennis, E. A., Dengo, A. L., Comber, D. L., Flack, K. D., Savla, J., Davy, K. P., & Davy, B. M. (2010). Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middleaged and older adults. Obesity, 18(2), 300-307.
3.) Bechthold, A. (2014). Food energy density and body weight. Ernahrungs Umschau, 6, 2-11.
4.) Slavin, J. L. (2005). Dietary fiber and body weight. Nutrition, 21(3), 411-418.
5.) Birketvedt GS, Aaseth J, Florholmen JR, Ryttig K. Long-term effect of fibre supplement and reduced energy intake on body weight and blood lipids in overweight subjects. Acta Med 2000;43:129–32.
6.) Drewnowski, A. (1998). Energy density, palatability, and satiety: implications for weight control. Nutrition reviews, 56(12), 347-353.
7.) Weigle, D. S., Breen, P. A., Matthys, C. C., Callahan, H. S., Meeuws, K. E., Burden, V. R., & Purnell, J. Q. (2005). A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 82(1), 41-48.
8.) Piatti, P. M., Monti, L. D., Magni, F., Fermo, I., Baruffaldi, L., Nasser, R., … & Pozza, G. (1994). Hypocaloric high-protein diet improves glucose oxidation and spares lean body mass: comparison to hypocaloric high-carbohydrate diet. Metabolism, 43(12), 1481-1487.
9.) Meckling, K. A., & Sherfey, R. (2007). A randomized trial of a hypocaloric high-protein diet, with and without exercise, on weight loss, fitness, and markers of the Metabolic Syndrome in overweight and obese women. Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism, 32(4), 743-752.