A large body of research shows that total calorie intake is one of the most important factors in weight loss.
This means that from a strictly caloric point of view, if you eat 100 calories of sugar, it’s not that different from eating 100 calories of sweet potatoes.
(There are other longer-term health issues to consider, of course, but this tip is about more direct, short-term impact.)
This is all well and good in lab studies where people are fed controlled amounts of food, but out in the real world there is this thing called hunger! As a former fat boy who loves to eat (and whose favorite dessert is ice cream and waffles), I totally understand hunger and a love for food.
This is where healthy, whole food choices make a big difference.
For example, seven oranges have the same amount of calories as a hot chocolate drink at Starbucks - around 400.
Much harder to eat all these than to drink a hot chocolate!
Which of these choices is more filling, has more nutrients and is able to keep you full longer? It’s no contest, right? (The only problem is that the oranges are harder to eat.)
When you want to keep hunger cravings under control, it’s best to eat foods that give your brain a sense of fullness.
Your brain gets a greater “full” signal from unprocessed foods. The other benefit is that unprocessed foods help you avoid sudden spikes and crashes in blood sugar. Unstable blood sugar is another reason that you can have hunger cravings.
Sweet foods tend to give you a big blood sugar surge, then a big crash, signaling hunger. That’s why very sweet foods tend to increase your cravings for even more sweet foods.
In general you want to eat foods that help you feel full because of their nutrient content, as well as their ability to stabilize blood sugar. See the chart below.
Try to eat foods from the top right side of the chart. Click for larger picture. (Credit to foodtechconnect.com)