5 Ways to Reduce Calorie Intake (without feeling hungry)
You’ve heard them all before “cut out snacks”, “eat less in the evenings” and of course “eat less and exercise more”.
In theory, they all work! Though in reality they usually don’t.
Unfortunately humans aren’t machines, you can’t give a simple command like “eat less” and expect it to happen.
We’re dynamic, we have cravings and unlike machines – we get hungry!
Here are five tips you can use to reduce calorie intake while still feeling satiated:
5. Using Smaller Plates Can Make You Eat Less
This is a neat “trick”.
The smaller your plates or bowls, the more your brain thinks you have eaten.
Pick smaller cutlery and you can literally fool your brain into feeling more satisfied with fewer calories.
Participants in a study consumed more cereal when given a larger plate compared to those given a smaller plate, even though they thought they ate less from the bigger plate! (8)
4. Limit Liquid Calories
One of my favourite minimal effort, maximal reward diet interventions is reducing liquid calories.
Soft drinks, alcohol, high calorie coffees and even some fruit juices. Many of which we over consume.
It can be a big problem, as it’s incredibly easy to consume large amounts of calories without knowing it (3). You could call them “empty calories” as they increase calorie consumption while doing very little to curve hunger.
Here are a few things you can do to reduce cravings if you’re looking to lose weight:
• Diet drinks instead of soft drinks.
• Don’t drink fruit juice out the carton, poor into a small glass.
• Pick lower calorie coffee options (without tonnes of cream etc).
• When on a night out avoid high calorie alcoholic drinks. A lower calorie option is vodka.
• Simply cut all of them out.
3. Pick High Fiber Foods
The average fiber intake of adults in the United States is only 15g, half the American Heart Association recommendation of 25-30g/day (6). I would hazard a guess that the UK’s intake isn’t much higher.
For that reason alone increasing fiber intake is something that the majority of us should do.
Particularly when it increases satiety and decreases subsequent hunger (6).
Slavin (2005) even states that “increasing consumption of dietary fiber with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes across the life cycle is a critical step in stemming the epidemic of obesity found in developing countries” (10)
2. Increase protein intake, especially at breakfast
Sub the cereal.
Eggs, yoghurt, whey and other high protein breakfasts should be consumed if you’re looking to lose weight.
Studies have shown that chowing down on a high protein breakfast, has a greater effect at reducing overindulging throughout the day (2).
Anecdotally I can concur with this study. Whenever I used to be in a rush, I’d either grab a bowl of cereal or some toast.
Within 30minutes I was starving; I’d eat anything and everything, particularly having a hard time avoiding sugary goodies.
If I’m in a rush now, I throw frozen berries, milk and whey into a blender. The higher protein content sees me over.
Upping protein intake throughout the day has been shown to lead to automatic (unregulated) weight loss, even when eating to fullness (4, 7).
Coupling a high protein intake with a good resistance training program (like this Push/Pull/Legs Program) will help you burn more calories while sitting on your sofa. As higher protein intakes and resistance training leads to more muscle mass, thus giving you a faster metabolism!
1. Increase Amounts of Sleep
Western societies commonly have chronic sleep restriction and high availability of AWESOME food, which generally isn’t a good combo… if you want to stay lean at least. Making this an easy choice for the number one spot.
“A sleep duration of less than 5h was found to increase the odds of obesity by 3.7-fold in men and 2.3-fold in women” (9).
Reduced leptin and elevated ghrelin are associated with short sleep duration and are the likely culprit for significant increases in appetite (1, 5).
Sleep is an individual subject, but 7-8 hours is a solid general recommendation.
Applying these five methods will help you to “eat less”, combine this with “exercising more” and your weight loss goals will be achieved before you know it.
1. D, Austin., L, Lin., E, Mignot., S, Taheri and T, Young. (2004). Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS Med 1(3): e62.
2. M, J, Bossingham., W, W, Campbell., H, J, Leidy and R, D, Mattes. (2009). Increased dietary protein consumed at breakfast leads to an initial and sustained feeling of fullness during energy restriction compared to other meal times. British Journal of Nutrition, 101, 798-803
3. G, A, Colditz., F, B, Hu., D, S, Ludwig., J, E, Manson, M, B, Schulze., M, J, Stampfer and W,C, Willett. (2004). Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in young and middle-aged women. Journal of the American Medical Association, 292 (8), 978-979.
4. P, M, Clifton, J, B, Keogh and M, Noakes. (2008). Long-term effects of a high-protein weight-loss diet. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87 (1), 23-29.
5. S, B, Dunbar., A, M, Landis., and K, P, Parker. (2009). Sleep, hunger, satiety, food cravings, and caloric intake in adolescents. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 41 (2), 115-123.
6. N, C, Howarth., S, B, Roberts and E, Saltzman. (2001). Dietary fiber and weight regulation. Nutrition Reviews, 59 (5), 129-39.
7. C, S, Johnston, P, D, Swan and S, L, Tjonn. (2004). High-protein, low-fat diets are effective for weight loss and favourably alter biomarkers of healthy adults. The Journal of Nutrition, 134 (3), 586-591.
8. K, V, Ittersum and B, Wansink. (2006). The visual illusions of food: why plates, bowls, and spoons can bias consumption volume. FASEB Journal, 20, 618.
9. S, R, Patel., T, Blackwell., S, Redline., S, Ancoli-Israel., J, A ,Cauley., T, A, Hillier., C, E, Lewis., E, S, Orwoll., M, L, Stefanick., B, C, Taylor., K, Yaffe and K, L, Stone (2008). The association between sleep duration and obesity in older adults. International Journal of Obesity, 32, 1825-1834.
10. J, L, Slavin. (2005). Dietary fiber and body weight. Nutrition, 21 (3), 411-418