How To Reduce Appetite

Joe Fowler
Author: Joe Fowler Time for reading: ~18 minutes Last Updated: August 17, 2022
How To Reduce Appetite

Weight loss has been one of the most popular queries in nutrition and wellness for decades.


  • Hunger and Appetite
  • satiety vs hunger and appetite
  • Why are you constantly hungry?
  • Leptin and ghrelin
  • Why Appetite Can Be Increased
  • Foods that reduce appetite

Weight loss has been one of the most popular queries in nutrition and wellness for decades. Despite the fact that the science of nutrition and the approach to losing weight are improving every year, you can still find bad advice. For example, hunger is a bargaining chip for harmony. Allegedly, without fighting the feeling of hunger, it is impossible to lose those extra pounds.

This misconception often prevents even just starting to change eating habits. Who likes to constantly want to eat and fight appetite? Albeit for the sake of the desired weight loss.

And decisive people who reduce weight with the help of willpower, suppress hunger, as a rule, quickly lose control over themselves and these processes. Which is not surprising, because in order to change eating habits and consolidate the result, nutrition and lifestyle must be comfortable, such that it is easy to stick to for a long time. You can't fight hunger all the time. And frankly, it's not necessary at all.

Understand what hunger and appetite are. Where do they come from, how are they regulated and how to reduce appetite, creating comfortable conditions for weight loss without hunger and stress.

Hunger and Appetite

To understand how to reduce appetite, consider how it differs from hunger.

Have you ever had something that you just ate lunch and are not at all hungry, but you wanted something special? This usually means that your meal satisfied your hunger, but left your appetite unattended.

How are these two states different?

Hunger is the body's physiological need for food, a signal that energy is running out and it's time to get a new portion of nutrients to generate it.

Appetite is the desire for food, the emotional sensations associated with eating, our addictions, taste habits. Appetite can appear even after a hearty meal, when looking at your favorite food, smelling its flavors, or just thinking about it.

The main difference between hunger and appetite is that if you are hungry, it doesn’t matter to you what to eat. And if you have an appetite, most likely you want something specific, the appetite will not be appeased by any food.

In other words, hunger is the need of the body, appetite is the need of the soul.

It is very important to be able to distinguish between these states. Only by understanding the nature of your desires can you easily satisfy them. Trying to suppress your appetite with tasteless food can only make things worse and lead to both weight gain and eating disorders, loss of contact with the body.

For example, often women and men, deceiving themselves, try to dull their appetite and pacify hunger with food that they do not really want. This usually does not lead to a decrease in appetite, but to mindless mechanical stuffing of the stomach, consuming extra calories and further relapse. If you give yourself a moderate amount of food "for the soul" in time, you can effortlessly reduce the total number of calories and lose weight without appetite suppression and without stress.

How to distinguish hunger from appetite:

Sign Hunger Appetite How it starts Increases gradually, 3-4 hours after eating. Occurs suddenly, intensely, does not depend on the time of the last meal. What you want Willingness to eat any whole foods - buckwheat, chicken breast, fish, cucumber, salad, and so on. Craving for specific foods and dishes - sweet, fatty, salty, spicy. Where is it located in the body In the area of ​​the diaphragm, in the stomach, there may be weakness in the legs. In the chest, head, arms, throat. How it manifests Requires satisfaction in the near future, but may be delayed due to more important matters. Needs immediate satisfaction. It is impossible to think of anything else. How much food do you need? At least a piece. Security question: are you ready to have a full meal? Yes! First, second and compote, please. No, I want an eclair with caramel filling. Consequence Eating in this state leads to satiety. Eating in this state quite often leads to feelings of guilt.

As you can see from the table, eating in response to hunger should lead to satiety. What is it?

satiety vs hunger and appetite

Satiety is the opposite of hunger and appetite. When there is saturation, there is no need to think about how to reduce hunger and how to subdue appetite.

It is saturation that determines the amount eaten at one meal. This is a regulator that at a certain point makes you stop eating.

To understand what can be done to reduce hunger, let's figure out what kind of hunger happens and how to manage satiety in each case.

The center of satiety, regulation of hunger and appetite is located in the brain, in the hypothalamus. This confirms that the feeling of hunger and satiety is a complex process that is not limited to filling the stomach.

Conventionally, the types of hunger can be divided into several groups:

  • biochemical hunger, depends on the level of sugar and insulin. When they decrease to a certain value, a feeling of hunger occurs. To dull such hunger, a meal balanced in proteins, fats and carbohydrates is sufficient, which will cause a mild rise in the level of these indicators in the blood. Important components for balancing blood glucose levels are fiber and fat, include them in every meal;
  • energy hunger depends on the level of energy. The energy has run out - you feel hungry. To reduce it, the food eaten must begin to be digested, and the body must synthesize energy from it. This does not happen immediately, so if you want to lose weight, stop eating in a hurry and give your body time to generate energy. Eating should be measured, do not be distracted by conversations and devices. Listen to the body, the feeling of fullness does not come immediately;
  • cellular hunger occurs when you want a specific product, and in fact - a substance that the body needs. It can be cravings for amino acids (proteins), fatty acids (fats), vitamins and minerals. For example, it’s not just that on a low-carb diet you dream of sweets, but on a low-fat diet you dream of peanut butter. The occurrence of such hunger is the body's way of declaring a lack of something important. In this case, it will not be possible to remove the feeling of hunger, stop cravings for a particular food, without giving the body what it asks for. The diet should be varied and balanced;
  • mechanical, or sensory, hunger is associated with an effect on receptors in the stomach. When the stomach is full of food, it sends a satiety signal to the brain. If a person eats a small amount of food, the receptors in the stomach receive less stretch and the feeling of fullness does not occur. More often, this effect occurs with a decrease in the amount of fiber.

Of course, this division is conditional, saturation should be complex. But the ability to recognize the types of hunger is the basis that will make it possible to learn how to manage the feeling of hunger and satiety and finally stop looking for magic pills in the hope of deceiving yourself and your body.

Why are you constantly hungry?


We will analyze the reasons from simple to complex. The first thing that may be associated with the inability to control hunger is errors in nutrition and lifestyle.

Malnutrition as a cause of constant hunger:

  • You eat regularly but don't consume enough calories, such as trying to lose weight quickly. The simplest and one of the most common options. It often occurs with diets with severe dietary restrictions, when constant hunger is a consequence of a banal lack of energy. In this case, you do not need to try to reduce your appetite and pacify the desire to eat. The first thing to do is to build a complete diet of foods that are suitable for your goals;
  • you eat irregularly, starve, sit on strange diets, practice fasting days or marathons with a strict calculation of BJU. In this case, the desire to eat more is a defensive reaction of the body, an attempt to protect itself from another energy shortage, to accumulate it for the next hunger strike. Hunger suppression is always dangerous and can lead to serious metabolic disorders. You need to abandon unhealthy ways to lose weight and choose a complete diet that meets your needs for energy and nutrients;
  • your diet is defective, contains "harmful" food. You do not get all the substances necessary for the normal functioning of the body with food; moreover, sugar and trans fats lead to a deficiency of vitamins and microelements. It can be both on various kinds of restrictive diets with insufficient calorie intake, and with very high-calorie, but malnutrition, with an excess of "empty" calories. In this case, it will not work to reduce appetite and extinguish the feeling of hunger without revising the diet;
  • The basis of your diet is fast carbohydrates, foods that cause a sharp jump in insulin, followed by a sharp drop. As a result, you want to eat again an hour after eating. An example is a high-carb sweet breakfast - porridge with honey in milk, muesli with jam, yogurt with sugar, chocolate balls with milk, cottage cheese with banana and jam. The only true recommendation for appetite suppression is to reduce the number of simple carbohydrates, refuse carbohydrate snacks and build balanced meals that contain proteins, fats, complex carbohydrates and fiber for high-quality satiety;
  • Your diet is deficient in complete fats. The myth that you need to reduce the amount of fat in your diet for weight loss is still popular. But removing fat completely or critically reducing it is a mistake, it is dangerous for both women and men. Fats are a source of "long" energy, a material for the production of sex hormones and a necessary component for the health of the gastrointestinal tract. Stop abstaining from high-grade fats, because a low-fat diet will only bring harm. Try to include fats in every meal and you will notice that it will become much easier to control hunger between meals. Daily requirement - 1 g of fat per 1 kg of weight;
  • your body lacks amino acids - an indispensable "building material" for the work of the whole organism. Try to include protein - plant and animal - at every meal, and you will not have to think about suppressing your appetite. But you can not mindlessly increase the amount of protein in the diet, especially if there are problems with its absorption. The daily requirement for a healthy person without intense physical activity is 1 g of protein per 1 kg of weight;
  • you are trying to cut out carbohydrates, trying to lose weight quickly. No matter how rave reviews and advice you hear, in no case should you drastically reduce the amount of carbohydrates. For a healthy, energetic and happy life, they must be supplied in sufficient quantities. Complex carbohydrates from cereals, whole grain breads, nuts, seeds, and legumes throughout the day are great for reducing hunger between meals. Daily requirement - 3-4 g of carbohydrates per 1 kg of weight;
  • fiber sources in your diet are less than necessary. Without it, you lose the volume necessary for receptor saturation, and perceive this as hunger. Hunger control is impossible without fiber in the diet. Diversify your diet with various types of vegetables, herbs, berries - with a low calorie content, they reduce hunger, help maintain a stable blood sugar level and allow you not to want to eat for a longer time. The minimum number of such products per day should be 20-30 g;
  • you are not drinking enough fluids. The feeling of hunger can be false, it is often confused with the desire to drink. Be sure to monitor the water balance, take a test sip before eating. Sufficient fluid intake between meals will help reduce hunger by dulling it by stretching the stomach with water. This does not mean that you need to drink instead of eating, but this method will help overcome the feeling of hunger, not break into junk food. Daily requirement - 30-35 ml per 1 kg of weight;

As you already understood, food is a powerful tool in supporting health. Learn more about food hacking from the lecture of the free course "Your own nutritionist"

  • shifting the balance of the gut microbiota in favor of “bad” microbes can increase hunger and cause cravings for specific foods, usually unhealthy, that can further mess up the balance of bacteria in the gut microbial community. Usually this is a consequence of an inadequate diet, in which a large amount of processed food. The correction will depend on how long you have "suppressed" the healthy microflora. The main thing is to evaluate how varied your diet is. Maximize your diet with all kinds of vegetables, herbs, seeds, nuts, sprouts, fruits, berries, probiotics (like sauerkraut), and whole grains. If necessary, contact a specialist. After the examination, the doctor or nutritionist can give a list of herbal remedies and medicines to correct the composition of the microbiota,
  • you eat in a hurry, like to eat on the go, chew too quickly and as a result do not experience receptor saturation. Eat slowly, mindfully, be aware of what you are eating, the flavor of the food, the texture. All of these tips lead to actions that not only reduce hunger, but also help food to digest better.

Leptin and ghrelin


There are times when the diet is complete, but the appetite cannot be pacified. This may be due to an imbalance of leptin and ghrelin, hormones that have a decisive influence on the feeling of hunger and satiety. It is because of these hormones that one day you can not stop yourself and eat everything you see, and the next day you may almost not want to eat. Controlling the state of hormones is the key to a stable feeling of hunger and satiety.

Leptin - the satiety hormone

Produced mainly by adipose tissue and suppresses appetite. After eating, leptin enters the bloodstream and the brain, where it sends a signal to the hypothalamus that hunger has been tamed, food is no longer needed. As leptin levels rise, appetite decreases.

The more adipose tissue, the more leptin is released. A 10% decrease in body weight results in a 53% decrease in leptin levels. That is, an increase in appetite during weight loss is a normal process, because along with a decrease in the amount of adipose tissue, the production of the satiety hormone is reduced.

The state of leptin resistance (permanently elevated levels of leptin, in which sensitivity to it decreases) is also common. This renders the tissues insensitive to leptin, and therefore contributes to a constant feeling of hunger, despite the consumption of sufficient or even excess calories. Elevated levels of leptin can be with obesity, frequent overeating and lack of physical activity.

Ghrelin - hunger hormone, indicator of energy deficiency

It is secreted in the stomach, and one of its functions is to stimulate appetite. Ghrelin levels rise before meals and fall immediately after meals and during exercise. Strong and chronic stress, disrupted sleep patterns increase its level.

How does lifestyle affect hunger?

  • lack of sleep can suppress the secretion of leptin. Therefore, after a sleepless night, it is especially difficult to fight hunger; without leptin, satiety does not occur. If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be able to deceive yourself and kill the feeling of hunger, even if you ate enough during the day. Give up an inadequate regimen, improve sleep, and you don’t have to think about how to overcome hunger;
  • Excess stress stimulates the production of ghrelin and can damage any, even the most complete diet, depressing the feeling of fullness, even if you have eaten enough. Working with stress management, anti-stress practices are an important part of healthy satiety. The main rule - never eat in a state of severe stress, especially if you follow the calorie content and work on being overweight;
  • an inactive lifestyle is one of the factors that block leptin sensitivity, causing a person to stop feeling full, even if they have eaten enough. Pay attention to physical activity, without it a normal feeling of hunger and satiety is impossible.

Why Appetite Can Be Increased

Hunger and appetite are different states. And if hunger is a signal of a lack of some substances, then appetite can be a signal of a lack of sensations.

Why you want something special, even after a balanced meal:

  • you didn't taste good, you ate without pleasure. This is one of the reasons why after the main meal you want to eat something else. There is a misconception that proper nutrition is healthy, but not always tasty. The advice that will help you stop looking for ways to overcome your appetite is simple - eat in such a way that you always taste delicious. There should be food of different colors on the plate;
  • you don't have enough flavors on your plate. According to Ayurveda, each meal should include six tastes - sweet, salty, spicy, sour, bitter, astringent. They not only "please" the receptors, but also have their own functions for organizing the entire process of digestion. Try to keep your plate full of different flavors and you will notice that you eat less because you no longer have to control your appetite and try to fight the desire to eat "something tasty";

How to add flavor:

Flavor Foods Sweet Coconut, Avocado, Cereals (Brown Rice, Buckwheat), Sweet Potato, Cucumber, Beetroot, Pumpkin, Zucchini, Walnut, Almond, Hazelnut, Pumpkin Seed, Olive, Banana, Apricot, Date, Raisin, Fig, Melon, Mango , grapes, ghee, shrimp, rabbit, chicken, beef, salmon. Sour Fermented foods, yoghurts, marinades, citrus fruits (lemons, limes, grapefruit), kiwi, sour apples, cheese, green grapes, unripe mangoes, sour berries. Salty Sea/Himalayan salt, sea kale, sea fish. Bitter Turmeric, Aloe, Lettuce, Dandelion Leaves, Arugula, Bitter Melon, Yellow Sorrel, Fenugreek, Sandalwood, Rhubarb, Watercress, Kale, Chard, Lollo Rosso, Romaine Lettuce, Kohlrabi, Red Cabbage, White Cabbage, Savoy Cabbage, Brussels Cabbage , honeysuckle, viburnum, chicory, matcha tea, coffee, mineral water "Zajechitskaya bitter", balm "Alatoo". Hot Chili pepper, black pepper, ginger, mustard, garlic, onion, turnip, radish, cloves, bay leaf, nutmeg, paprika. Astringent Unripe bananas, legumes (beans, lentils, mung beans), red raspberries, persimmons, broccoli, canola oil, lettuce, celery, cauliflower, zucchini, spinach, tempeh.
  • you eat your emotions with food. Often we lack joy, we drown in fear, shame and other destructive feelings. Using food as a "calming drug" is the easiest way to get dopamine and serotonin, the hormones of joy and good mood. Often this condition is observed in the evening, after a difficult and stressful day. But eating will not bring real peace. It is very important to learn to see the line between the desire to eat and the desire to be distracted by food. At the first urge to “eat” stress, try to stop and analyze what exactly you want now. Do you really want a chocolate bar, or do you just want to stop feeling anxious, and eating a chocolate bar is the easiest and most known way to deal with this anxiety? When you notice the connection between emotions and the desire to eat, try to withstand the tension and choose other ways to distract yourself. For example, go for a walk, dance, do a mini-workout, etc. It will be difficult at first, but over time you will be able to change the habit of “snagging” and become free from food addiction.

Foods that reduce appetite


How to eat and lose weight A very popular question from women and men of all ages. Of course, there are no products that literally reduce appetite. But there are foods that stimulate the appetite, and those that give a long satiety. And if you reduce the number of foods that stimulate appetite, and focus on foods that saturate for a long time, you can keep your appetite under control.

Try to reduce the number of foods that stimulate appetite, and by enriching the diet with your favorite foods that give long satiety, design your nutrition so that you forever forget about the need to deceive yourself, tame hunger, suppress appetite, etc.

Appetite-stimulating foods are best kept to a minimum, especially if you are trying to lose weight or have difficulty controlling your appetite. These products include:

  • spicy seasonings;
  • alcohol;
  • carbonated drinks;
  • sweet;
  • flour.

There is a category of products that enhance fat burning processes. They mainly include spices. Download the Fat Burning Foods guide and check out the top 6 fat burning foods and their recipes.


If you eat a balanced and tasty diet, observing food hygiene, the need to pacify the appetite will forever go away. Foods that saturate for a long time should form the basis of your diet:

  • sources of complete plant and animal proteins - quinoa, legumes, nuts and meat, poultry, fish, offal, eggs;
  • sources of healthy fats - avocados, fatty fish (add fats to each meal for a long satiety);
  • sources of whole grain carbohydrates - amaranth, buckwheat, millet, brown rice;
  • sources of fiber - vegetables, greens, cereals (give receptor saturation at a low calorie content and help absorb fats and reduce weight).

The regulation of hunger and appetite is a complex process that occurs at different levels: biochemical, nervous and hormonal. The key to a healthy appetite and the absence of an inexplicable bout of hunger is a balanced, complete diet, healthy sleep, and sufficient physical activity. But if you use food as a way to solve your psychological and emotional problems, even the most balanced diet will not protect you from constant food cravings. Pay as much attention to the reason you eat as to the choice of the food itself. This will help you eat less, monitor your weight and forget about the need to fight hunger forever.

If your diet is balanced, you sleep enough and are in balance with your inner world, but your hunger and appetite are still impossible to control, be sure to visit the doctors and go through the checkup. Perhaps you have disorders in the work of the endocrine organs or other diseases in which an increase in hunger and appetite is a symptom, a way for the body to draw attention to itself. 

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