Is It Harder for Women to Ignore Hunger?

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Enjoying Dinner OutThis morning, I read a study entitled “Women less able to suppress hunger than men”. It speculates that women have a harder time resisting food they love because of brain signals that send “hunger” messages to the stomach – messsages that are stronger and more prevalant in women compared to men.

The study suggests that the differences between the male and female brain could be one of the reasons for higher obesity rates among women. Apart from brain differences, there are other factors that make women more prone to weight gain than men, such as emotional eating and that fact that woman happen to have a lower resting metabolism than men.

Safe Ways to Suppress Hunger

Before I talk about ways to calm hunger, let’s take a look at the link between hunger and health. According to medical professionals, having a good appetite is a sign of a balanced, healthy body with a smoothly functioning metabolism. However, it can be tricky to have a “healthy appetite”, so to speak, when you want to lose weight by eating lighter foods or controlling portion size. Here are some tips on how to keep a grumbling tummy quiet while keeping your weight in check.

Citrus
Eating citrus fruits is not only a great way to get your vitamin C and quench thirst in the process, but herbal medicine experts claim that they are a natural appetite suppressant. Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits are high in water content which also means that they are relatively low in calories. If you are on medication and want to include grapefruit in your diet, check for drug interactions before you start.

Hydration
Feelings of thirst can sometimes show up as hunger or snack cravings. Don’t mistake hunger for thirst – have a drink before you hit the vending machine. Try drinking a glass of water or sipping unsweetened tea to see if the hunger sensations subside. Despite the claims of sports drinks, clean water is the best and healthiest way to stay hydrated if you are not suffering from dehydration.

Protein
Including a high quality protein in your meals can keep you feel fuller, for longer. High quality protein includes foods like skinless chicken breast, ground white meat turkey, pork loin trimmed of excess fat, egg whites, beans and plain, low-fat yogurts and kefir.

Sleep
Studies show that not getting enough shut eye, between 7 and 8 hours a night, can result in weight gain. Getting regular, sound sleep can keep insulin levels steady which means less blood sugar spikes and hunger pangs throughout the day. Studies also show that levels of a hunger hormone, ghrelin, increase when you don’t get enough sleep.

Have a Coffee Break
Try having a cup of black coffee, or coffee sweetened with agave – it’s not only a great pick-me-up, but it can also help to keep you from having a snack attack. Caffeine is a way to help suppress hunger and energize at the same time. If you are caffeine-sensitive, try a cup of green tea.

Good Quality Fiber
Choose healthy snacks that are high in natural dietary fiber – and as a result low in calories, for example apples, carrots, and celery.

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