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 The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine   Low Carb Connoisseur
    October 2004    Page 9       > About LCL Magazine     > Cover Page      > Inside Cover    Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12  13  14     

Feature Articles
 Make it Low Carb
 Sweet Comfort Foods
 Cookin' with Pumpkins!
 The Trouble with Trans Fats
 Here's What's New!
 Got Umami?
 Measuring Success
 Industry Interview
 Appetite or Cravings?
 Makeup Tips for Halloween
 Halloween without the Sugar
 DC Report: CAC Conference
 The Carb Credit Card
 Waiting for the Woosh Fairy



        Appetite or Cravings:  Are You in Control?

If you're struggling with losing weight and seem unable to get past cravings and a seemingly unending appetite that remains at odds with your willpower, you might need a little extra help. Here are some tips to help assure your victory!

Drinking generous amounts of water is overwhelmingly the number-one way to reduce appetite. A lot of water takes up a lot of room in the stomach. The stomach feels full, reducing the desire to eat. Water can quell the appetite in other ways.

Many people think they're having a food craving, when in fact they're thirsty. The next time you get the urge to eat, try a cup of water instead. Aim for 64 ounces of fluids daily. Don't gulp down an entire glass at a time, as if it were medicine, or you'll never continue. Instead, sip 3 to 4 ounces at a time, throughout the day.

Graze sensibly. Mom always warned us not to snack before mealtime, to avoid ruining our appetite. But nowadays, scientists are rethinking Mom's advice. Grazing means nibbling small amounts of food frequently, instead of eating just one to three large meals a day. Scientists who endorse it say grazing can keep your appetite down all day long and prevent bingeing. Nutrition specialists believe that grazing quashes the appetite because it keeps insulin levels steadier — and lower — than eating a few large meals.

A large meal, especially one that's high in carbs, stimulates the body to produce lots of insulin. Its job: to remove all of those excess sugars and block the release of fats into the bloodstream. Smaller, more frequent meals, on the other hand, keep insulin and blood-sugar levels more stable, so the brain doesn't signal an urgent need for more fuel. But for grazing to be effective you have to munch the right kinds of foods: You cannot graze on M&M's, potato chips and Haagen Dazs. Your insulin levels and appetite increase. But if you graze on low-carb, high-fiber foods that aren't packed with calories, you keep your appetite down.

Soup it up. A lot of research over the years suggests that soup has the ability to turn off the appetite with far fewer calories than many other foods. In a study at Johns Hopkins University, researchers compared soup with other appetizers to see which most effectively dimmed the desire to eat. They invited 12 men to lunch for two weeks. On different days, the men received different appetizers of tomato soup, Muenster cheese on crackers, or fresh fruit. Calories in each appetizer portion were equal. Then the men were given a main course to eat. Results: Tomato soup was the most satisfying appetizer. It beat out all the others in reducing the number of calories of the entree that were consumed. The least satisfying appetizer: cheese and crackers. Soup reduced later calorie intake by 25 percent compared with cheese and crackers.

There are probably two reasons for this: The crackers were pure starch, stimulating insulin levels, and to a lesser degree the same would be true of many fruits. But most soups are protein based with at least a balance of protein, fiber, and moderate carbs. And the soup is high in water content — again, filling up the stomach.

Say SI! to spicy foods. Have you ever binged on a huge plate of spicy food — like Mexican, Thai, Szechwan or Indian fare? It's nearly impossible. Those foods seem to quiet the appetite better than blander fare. One possible reason: The flavor is so intense that we don't need as much. Spicy foods also speed the metabolism. When people eat hot chili, they often sweat, a sure sign of increased metabolic rate. And the faster the metabolic rate, the more heat produced by the body. Remember, whatever warms you up, in turn slims you down. So stock up on hot peppers, horseradish, chili powder and the like. Learn to use them often, especially in place of salt. Remember, though, some foods in this category will be high in carbs, so pay close attention and skip the rice, beans, and corn tortillas.

Feast on fiber. How does fiber satisfy? In many ways. Satisfaction begins in the mouth, and fibrous foods provide robust mouthfuls that must be chewed thoroughly. It's a natural way to slow down eating, and eating slower means eating less — the extra time lets the body know it's received fuel and doesn't need much more. Next, fiber takes up a lot of room in the stomach, and increased stomach volume reduces appetite. So the stomach feels full longer. Soluble fiber also dampens insulin response. Normally, after a meal, insulin levels rise to help metabolize sugar. But soluble fiber keeps insulin levels lower after a meal. Richest sources of soluble fiber include whole grains, flax, and vegetables.

Outbike your appetite. Got the munchies? If you've already tried a glass of water or a high-fiber snack, but they didn't do the trick, take a walk, ride an exercise bike, or do some other activity. Regular exercise reduces the appetite, in part by modifying the insulin response, which reduces the upward spike that has been associated with increased appetite. Exercise helps control blood sugar, leading to a steady state associated with fullness. Aerobic exercise reduces the appetite in the short run, perhaps because it heats the body. Not many people can eat a lot after exercise.

Ask yourself 'why?' Before you eat, ask yourself why you want to eat. It may help you realize that it has nothing to do with hunger. Emotions are a major reason people eat. Some physician report that 85% or their patients have psychological reasons for overeating. One of the major reasons is stress. Stress makes you eat more quickly than anything else. Some people who are stressed out go for soft, creamy, comfort foods, like mashed potatoes with plenty of butter. Or they want baked foods, like a milk-and-cookies snack: It's the "nothing-says-loving-like-something-from-the-oven" syndrome. If you are turning to food in response to bad feelings, it's important to develop a strategy to feel better. Before you eat, ask yourself, 'How am I feeling about myself right now? What's happened this week to upset me? Am I eating this because I'm hungry or because I'm upset?'

Know your own triggers. The sizzle of freshly frying french fries. The crunchy texture of popcorn. The smell of freshly baking bread or pastries. The smell, sight, sound and even texture of foods are the most powerful triggers we have to eat — and to overeat. Sometimes we eat things because they look good, even when they aren't. Haven't we all eaten mediocre cookies, just because they looked delicious? And sometimes we eat them just because they're around. So eliminate the temptation by banishing junk foods from the house.

Our eating is so dependent on external cues that just seeing foods makes us want to eat. If someone else in the family insists on keeping high sugar, unhealthy foods in the house, ask him to hide them somewhere that you can't find them. Keeping a food record can help you identify these kinds of cues. For a couple of days, write down everything you eat and try to recall what made you start thinking about food — whether it was an advertisement or an emotion or an aroma. That helps you out?think a craving next time it happens.

Copyright © October 2004  Low Carb Luxury


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