While healthy eating and exercise are the fundamentals of weight loss and weight management, many turn to prescription drugs or supplements for help. One class of prescription or OTC weight loss drugs or supplements are appetite suppresants. True, most of them can be successful at curbing your appetite.
However, consider some of the side effects of leading appetite suppressants: headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, dry mouth, constipation, low blood sugar, back pain, heart palpitations, raising blood pressure, tremor, insomnia, shortness of breath, unpleasant taste, diarrhea, vomiting, or cough. Some also carry the risk of becoming dependent on the drug. It comes as no surprise that many of them are only approved for short-term use.
Many appetite suppressants have no randomized controlled trials to back them up and insufficient data with which to establish proper dosage amounts, long or short term safety, and duration recommendations.
You may be wondering, are there any safe, natural appetite suppressants out there to help lose weight or keep it off? There are plenty! This new article series will highlight many natural appetite suppressants that are science-backed and effective. You may be surprised you already knew of many of them!
Protein - No More Hunger Games
We start with our favorite natural appetite suppressant - protein! Of the three macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrate), protein is the most effective at providing a satiating effect (that is, providing a signal that brings a meal to an end).
Multiple mechanisms are circulating to explain why protein is so satiating. One possible mechanism is that protein increases thermogenesis, a metabolic process during which the body burns calories to produce heat.
Also, some appetite suppressing hormones are released in response to a high-protein meal. These include glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), cholecystokinin (CCK), and peptide YY (PYY).
Other studies suggest it may be because of the sensory experience of eating protein food sources, such as the texture of high-protein foods.
Interestingly, you can find many lab studies that compared a high-protein meal with a lower-protein meal that provided the same exact amount of calories. These studies consistently show that the higher-protein foods delivered better satiety than the calorie-matched foods with lower protein levels.
Remember to include protein at every meal and snack. Protein-rich sources include lentils (18 g protein/cup), beans (15 grams protein/cup), almonds (8 grams protein in 1/4 cup) and other nuts, nut butters, pumpkin seeds (3 grams protein in 1/4 cup) and other seeds, eggs (6 grams/egg), seafood, poultry, dairy foods (cheese, yogurt, milk), and whey protein powder.
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