Appetite Control Guide

Appetite Control Guide

Alex Brecher

Appetite suppression is a big concern after weight loss surgery. That’s because an excessive appetite can lead you to eat too much food, and often too many calories to hit your weight loss goals. With such a big step as bariatric surgery, you want to do everything you can to support a successful journey, and that includes controlling appetite.

There are many strategies for appetite suppression. You can choose filling foods, look for appetite suppressing coffee or tea, or look into appetite suppressing supplements, for example. This appetite control guide can help you figure out what you may need to do to reduce appetite. As always, talk to your doctor about anything related to health, dietary changes, or nutritional supplements!

What Is Appetite?

Appetite is the drive to consume food. It can be the result of hunger, but it can also be due to other factors. For example, think about what happens when you pass a pizza parlor and smell the pizzas baking. And what happens to your appetite when you see your favorite dessert? You might feel a drive to serve yourself some even if you already finished your meal.

Appetite can stem from these factors.

  • The need for food, or hunger.
  • A visual cue, such as seeing a favorite food or seeing other people enjoying food.
  • A scent of food, such as waking up to the smell of bacon and eggs cooking.
  • The taste of food, such as eating fresh bread and wanting another serving because the first serving was so delicious.

Hunger vs Appetite

Hunger refers to the actual physiological need for food. Your stomach may growl. You may have low blood sugar. You may be one of those people that gets “hangry.” When you are hungry, you need food.

That’s why some weight loss surgery patients refer to appetite as “head hunger.” It’s not coming from a physiological demand for energy from your muscles or other cells or tissues in your body. It’s coming from a part of your brain that wants food.

How to Control Appetite

There are many strategies for controlling appetite. These are some.

  • Having weight loss surgery.
  • Eating more filling foods.
  • Changing your environment to limit temptations.
  • Trying coffee or tea as appetite suppressants.
  • Using appetite suppressant supplements.

If your appetite is getting in the way of healthy habits or reaching health goals, it is best to talk to your doctor about healthy approaches for suppressing appetite.

Bariatric Surgery and Changes in Appetite

Bariatric surgery can help reduce appetite in a few ways. First, it helps you feel more full because it makes your stomach pouch smaller, whether you get the gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or gastric band. 

Bariatric surgery can also change levels of hormones that are involved in hunger and appetite. For example, bariatric surgery can lower levels of a hunger hormone called ghrelin so that you are not excessively hungry. It can also lead to normalized levels of leptin, which allows you to feel satisfied so you are less likely to overeat.

Another effect of bariatric surgery is a change in food preferences. You may have different taste sensitivity compared to before surgery. Some patients have more or less liking for sweet, salty, sour, or bitter foods compared to their preferences before surgery. Some patients have more or less of a liking for calorie-dense or low calorie-dense foods.

It’s hard to predict how taste preferences may change in a single patient, but however they change, it’s likely that they will. The effect may be a reduction in appetite.

It’s good to keep in mind that you may find that you have a stronger desire for higher calorie-dense foods when you gain weight. That means that if you have fallen off the bandwagon and are experiencing weight regain, it can be harder to get back on track. Keep in mind, though, that appetite suppression may be stronger if you can get yourself back on track.

Foods to Suppress Appetite

Food choices and eating patterns definitely come into play when thinking about how to suppress appetite. What you eat, and how you eat it, can help reduce hunger. That in turn can help reduce appetite, since you’re less likely to want to eat if you feel full. 

These are some ways to reduce hunger for appetite suppression using food. 

  • Eat foods higher in fiber. Fiber helps prevent blood sugar spikes and keeps you from being hungry or craving carbs soon after eating. Fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts are sources.
  • Eat foods higher in protein. You might want to include a source of lean protein at most meals and snacks. Still, watch out for fatty proteins, such as fatty red meats or chicken with skin. They’re higher in calories compared to the amount of protein they have, so they won’t do as well at keeping you full as leaner proteins. Fish, skinless chicken, tofu, egg whites, beans, and fat-free cheese are all high in protein.
  • Limit high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, especially foods known as “slider” foods. These foods add calories without really filling you up. They can “slide” through your pouch, sleeve, or stomach, and largely “slide” right past the effects of weight loss surgery. Ice cream, crackers, chips, cookies, and cakes are examples.

These are some other food-related strategies for appetite suppression.

  • Eat slowly. Chew your food thoroughly, just like your surgeon recommends after weight loss surgery. Notice the flavors, textures, and scents of the food, and enjoy them!
  • Offer fewer choices at a meal. The more variety you have on the table or on your plate, the more you may be tempted to eat. Having a few plain foods, such as a protein, a vegetable, and a high-fiber carbohydrate, can be a good general strategy.
  • Keep junk food out of the house and out of sight. Having sugary, starchy, or fatty foods within view or within reach can make you more likely to feel a craving for them. If someone in your house requires such foods to be in the home, put them in the back of the fridge or pantry so you don’t see them by accident.
  • Drink more water. Drinking water about 30 to 60 minutes before a meal can help reduce appetite. So can drinking more fluids generally. Sometimes, our brain interprets thirst as hunger, leading you to eat instead of drink.

Lifestyle choices can also promote appetite suppression. Aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, may reduce appetite. That’s great, because that means it not only burns calories, but may help you eat fewer calories!

Another strategy to suppress appetite naturally is to get enough sleep. A lack of sleep bumps up hunger hormones. Plus it messes with blood sugar and increases cravings for high-calorie foods, especially sugary ones. 

Does Coffee Suppress Appetite?

Is coffee an appetite suppressant? It may be, according to some research. Caffeine may help reduce appetite when you have it 30 minutes to 4 hours before a meal. It can also speed metabolism, which is an extra benefit if you are trying to lose weight. 

It’s not just the caffeine in coffee that can help with hunger, though. There is also the possibility that drinking coffee can alter hunger and satisfaction hormones. It’s also good to keep in mind that coffee is a fluid; that is, it can hydrate you (if you’re thinking about the diuretic effect of coffee, keep in mind that its hydrating benefits outweigh its dehydrating effect). That means that it can suppress thirst signals that could be misinterpreted as hunger pangs, and it means that drinking coffee can help fill your belly so you are less likely to eat as much at the meal. 

If you are trying to use coffee to suppress appetite, these tips may help.

  • Watch out for added calories in your coffee beverages. Cream, whole milk, sweetened almond milk, and sugar and flavoring syrups can add calories that do not fill you up, but do fill you out. 
  • Avoid caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime. The caffeine can keep you awake, and that can cause a further increase in hunger due to altered levels of ghrelin and other hormones related to hunger and satiety. 
  • Consider regular or decaf coffee after lunch, or decaf coffee after dinner, to sip on instead of having a dessert. It can help signal your body and brain that you’re done with the meal and it can make you satisfied without having a big dessert.

For many bariatric surgery patients, the mention of coffee brings up a mixed bag of thoughts. You may have a long history of drinking coffee, but you may have been told to lay off of it after surgery because of its acid content. Surgeons may be concerned about the potential for acid in coffee to cause heartburn. 

Alex’s Acid-Free Coffee is a choice with a reduced amount of acid compared to national brands. It is lower in chlorogenic acid, but can have all the same effects on appetite suppression as any other kind of coffee. If caffeine is a concern for you, just choose Alex’s Acid-Free Coffee in a decaffeinated version. Caffeinated and decaf varieties are available in whole bean and ground forms. 

Appetite Suppressant Tea

Tea is used around the world for socializing, rituals, and healing, and it makes sense to ask if tea can be an appetite suppressant, too! It turns out that people use a number of teas, including both from camellia sinensis and herbal teas, for this reason. Here are a few.

  • Green tea, which comes from the tea plant camellia sinensis. It’s known for its antioxidant content as well as its possible benefits for heart health.
  • Mint tea. Spearmint is a widely known appetite suppressant.
  • Dandelion tea, which specifically is said to reduce carb and sweet cravings.
  • Hibiscus tea, which has antioxidants.
  • Ginger tea, which can both reduce nausea and act as an appetite suppressant. 

The BariatricPal Store has a wide range of teas that may suppress appetite. You can prepare bags and full-leaf tea easily by heating water to a rolling boil and pouring it over your tea. Let it steep for 5 to 7 minutes. 

Appetite Suppressant Supplements

Supplements to suppress appetite can come into play if you are already doing what you can to manage it. Cinnamon, fenugreek, cayenne pepper, and ginger are a few that have come to the forefront recently, but there are others.

BariatricPal Slim Trim has ingredients such as green tea, caffeine, garcinia cambogia, fucoxanthin, and more. The goal is to promote normal appetite and metabolism to support healthy weight.

Appetite suppressants can also come in the form of Vitamin Patches. That way, you do not need to swallow any pills. Just apply the patch by sticking it onto an area of smooth, clean, dry skin, and let the ingredients get to you through your skin. 

The following PatchAid Patches are designed to support weight loss with ingredients such as garcinia cambogia, green tea, fucoxanthin, or African mango seed extract.

Always be sure to discuss any appetite suppressant or other supplement with your doctor before using one. You want to be sure to choose the safest and most effective ones for your situation!

Appetite control is one of the most important things to consider after bariatric surgery. It can keep you from overeating, and it can help you stay on track with your post-op diet. There are many strategies to reduce appetite, ranging from food choices to appetite-suppressing coffees and teas. Appetite suppressants can come in supplements, too. Your doctor can help you choose the right strategies for suppressing appetite so you can make smart food choices and hit your weight loss goals.

Learning about appetite suppressants and various strategies to suppress appetite, such as appetite suppressant supplements or foods, can help you keep your calories in check. That can help you hit your weight loss goals, and that’s what we’re all about here at the BariatricPal Store.

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