When we choose our meals, we usually opt for foods that will help fill us up and keep us satisfied. However, unbeknownst to most people, certain foods can leave you more hungry than when you began eating, which can lead to overeating and excessive food cravings. Knowing which foods help keep you satiated versus which ones mess with your hunger is an important part of eating well, as no one wants to leave the dinner table more starving than they began.
"Certain foods that don’t have much to them, such as simple carbs, don’t stick with us very long," says nutritionist Susan Piergeorge, MS, RDN of The Golden Door over email. "We need the trinity of protein, complex carbohydrate and fat to make us feel full, satiated and happy."
Foods that don't contain enough nutrients can have you feeling hungry not shortly after, but even worse, certain foods — usually the junkiest and most unhealthy ones — can mess with your body's hormones and actually cause a greater increase in appetite.
If you feel like you're stomach is constantly grumbling, you may want to make a change to your diet. Next time you're deciding what to eat, avoid nibbling on these seven foods, which can end up making you more hungry.
"Foods laced with sugar or that have a high sugar content will make you feel hungry," says Philip Caravella, MD over email. "The reason is that after eating sweets, they will very briefly give you some satisfaction. But they will not have lasting effects because they are very rapidly absorbed from your stomach and small intestine, briefly raising your sugar level but without staying power."
2. Refined Carbohydrates
"Anything that drastically raises one’s blood sugar level in a spike can result in hunger pangs forming shortly thereafter," says nutritionist Cheryl Forberg, RD of The Biggest Loser over email. "These include simple carbohydrates such as white flour, white pasta and white rice. Eating these foods will cause a blood sugar spike. As we come down, this triggers a natural hunger cue that will have us craving more food."
Fruit juice is really just sugar and carbohydrates, even if the sugar comes from a natural source. "A glass of juice lasts with you for about an hour and then you are hungry again," says Piergeorge. "Opt for some fresh fruit accompanied with nuts, nut butter, an egg or some cheese."
4. Fast Food
One of the main ingredients of fast food is trans fat, which can have a detrimental effect on your body's natural hunger hormones. A study published in the the American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology found that rats who were fed a diet high in trans fat showed increased insulin resistance, as well as higher levels of leptin, the hormone responsible for signaling that you are full.
5. Salty Foods
Salt is an addictive food, which means eating it causes a chemical reaction in the brain that causes us to crave more. Not only that, but salty food can trigger dehydration, a sensation that is often mistaken for hunger.
6. "Sugar-Free" Foods
You may think that consuming a sugar-substitute is healthier than having the real deal, but sugar-free foods have their own trove of negative health effects. According to Harvard Health, eating foods with artificial sweetener causes our brain to associate sweet food differently, leading us to crave more sweets and eat more unhealthy food in general.
7. Foods With MSG
Foods that contain monosodium glutamate, such as Chinese food, fast food, and many packaged and processed goods, can trigger the release of insulin, leaving you feeling more hungry. According to a study in the journal Lipid Research, MSG can also affect your levels of leptin, such as in the case of trans fat.
In general, to feel full and satisfied, opt for whole foods high in fiber and protein and avoid processed, salty, and sugary junk foods.
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