How to curb your appetite

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Clinical dieticians say it is possible to eat less, lose weight and keep it off. (WLS)

We've all heard about too many "miracle diets" that promise much and often deliver little. But the "eating experts" - clinical dieticians - say it is possible to eat less, lose weight and keep it off.

Before you chow down, drink up. Water, that is. One or even two glasses before a meal. And a Virginia Tech study found drinking two glasses of water before eating "leads to greater weight loss." But it's not that simple.

"Most of the time, you need more than one strategy. You need several strategies," said Judy Cohen, RD, Clinical Nutritionist, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami Beach.

One of those strategies for success: avoid low-nutrient meals because you'll wind up eating more.

"You're not filling yourself up with nutrients so those hunger cues will still be there and you'll still want to eat," Cohen said.

It's crucial for all your meals and snacks to have healthy fat, protein and complex carbohydrates. For example, Cohen says, don't just have a mid-afternoon apple, spread some peanut butter on it.

"Adding some protein, adding a little bit of good heart healthy fats to those meals, main meals, or snacks, can help you stay fuller for a long period of time," she said. "I would recommend for people to honor their satiety."

Satiety, the state of being satiated or full. It takes your brain a good 20 minutes to register that your stomach is full. So eat slowly and pause halfway through your meal. More often than not you'll realize you're already full.

And to curb your appetite before a meal, start with a glass of low-sodium vegetable juice, a handful of almonds or a small salad.

One more suggestion: don't forget the fiber. Adding it to your meals and snacks will fill you up. Fruit and vegetable skins are high in fiber and so are whole grains.

BACKGROUND: It seems like we're always hearing about the latest "miracle diet" that promises you can drop the pounds without having to drop your favorite foods. More often than not, after a day or two, the only thing that drops is your self-control when those hunger pains hit. The best way to stave off those pains is with natural appetite suppressants. Apples are a good way to do that because they contain soluble fiber as well as ursolic acid, a natural compound that has been found to boost fat burning. Women who added three small apples a day to their diet lost two pounds in 10 weeks (source:

Another study showed that overweight people who ate a bean-rich diet lost nearly 10 pounds in 16 weeks (source: People who ate eggs for breakfast instead of cereal consumed up to 438 fewer calories over the entire day. Studies have found that an egg breakfast may help control hunger for a full 24 hours. (Source:

THE HARRIS-BENEDICT EQUATION: Losing up to 1.5 pounds per week is considered healthy, which you can do by cutting 500 calories a day. The Harris-Benedict Equation is the most widely used method of calculating your calorie needs, which can also help you decide your calorie needs for weight loss. This is the equation for women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years).

Plug in your age, height and weight. So, for example, a 35-year- old woman who is five feet, three inches tall, weighs 140 pounds and gets little to no exercise has a basal metabolic rate (BMR) of 1687 kcal/day, which would require 1687 calories a day to maintain her weight. If she wanted to lose 10 pounds the healthy way, she would cut back to 1187 calories a day for two months. Here is an online calculator that saves you from having to do the math: Here is the study behind the equation:

WORK UP AN APPETITE? It's a common notion that exercising makes you work up an appetite, but one study challenges that idea. Researchers from Brigham Young University had 18 normal-weight and 17 obese women briskly walk on a treadmill during the morning for 45 minutes. The morning exercise helped dampen their desire for food, as measured by their brain activity when looking at the pictures of food. Also, while researchers thought the women would eat more on exercise days, they actually all ended up eating similar amounts as on non-exercise days, regardless of size.

For More Information, Contact:
Maritza Rodriguez, RDN LDN
Clinical Nutrition Manager
Mount Sinai Medical Center
305- 674- 2121 Ext. 56181

Related Topics:
healthhealthdietdietingfoodhealthy living

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