Your “hunger hormone” levels rise and your “satiety hormone” levels drop in the evening, a study has discovered.
So is this situation just one that has to be accepted as a cost to fat loss dieting?
Is evening hunger just something that everyone who wants to get lean has to push through?
To a certain extent, yes!
No remedy will eliminate hunger.
However, the science of diet design can help reduce evening hunger in several major ways, with the result being a drastic reduction of cravings and a huge drop in the likelihood of falling off the wagon.
HORMONES THAT MAKE YOU HUNGRY RISE IN THE EVENING
Let’s take a look at the phenomenon of evening hunger and then see what steps we can take to reduce it while still dropping body fat.
There are several reasons why evening hunger is particularly pernicious during fat loss diets:
• Most people have higher stress hormone levels in the early morning and daytime and lower stress hormone levels (such as cortisol) in the evenings. Stress hormones suppress appetite.
• Most people are busy with work or responsibilities in the mornings and afternoons. Sure, you can be hungry during this time, but the demands of workday tasks can keep you distracted from the hunger sensations to quite a large extent.
• Evenings are usually more relaxed times where you settle down to watch your favourite TV shows or hang out with family and friends. Not only are you no longer focused and distracted from hunger, but you’re engaging in the kinds of activities (TV watching and/or socializing) that are highly associated with eating lots of delicious food.
• For those who drink caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, diet sodas, energy drinks), morning and afternoon hunger is a much smaller issue. Because they are under the effects of caffeine at these times, the powerful hunger-suppressing effects of this substance make cravings much less likely. However, most people taper their caffeine use in the evenings so that they can fall asleep at night.
• Falling asleep requires relaxation, which is the opposite of willful effort! If you’re hungry during the day, you can get through by sheer willpower. But if you’re hungry at bedtime, can you will yourself to sleep? Unfortunately, “willing yourself to sleep” is an internal contradiction.
What Can be Done to Help?
For many dieters, evening hunger can be a great hindrance to both diet progress and mental sanity. Luckily, science can help. There are no less than 5 different diet manipulations you can employ to make your fat loss diet much less susceptible causing to bouts of evening hunger. Make any or all of the following changes to your diet, and your evening hunger problems will decline.
Of all of the macronutrients, protein is the most satiating. That’s right, per unit of calories, protein fills you up the most and keeps you fuller, longer. With minimum levels of fats needed for proper body and hormonal functioning, and carbs which are effective at supplying energy and preventing muscle loss during dieting.
2.More greens and fruits
Not only are greens and other low-calorie veggies stocked full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, they are also incredibly filling. If you eat enough of them they can make a meal downright hard to finish! Fruits can also be consumed more at the expense of slices of bread and grains.
3.Bigger meals at night
Simply eat bigger meals in the evening. Keep your morning meals to mostly protein and veggies, and then save more of your daily fats and carbs for the later meals. Just when you’re most prone to be hungry, you have your biggest meals of the day to eat.
When low-palatability foods (foods that are not the best tasting) are eaten, people just don’t tend to want as much of those foods, to begin with, or to have more of them later. If you eat half a cheeseburger on a diet, you might feel like you could kill someone for the other half. But eat the same calories and macros in unflavored oatmeal and egg whites with olive oil, and you’ll be happy when you’re done with the meal so that you don’t have to chew that mess anymore!
Does this mean you have to eat disgusting food during your diet? No. But it can mean that you should ease up on the tasty sauces, spices, and cheeses that make your food both high in calories and super tasty.
5.Reducing or eliminating shakes
Drinking your meals is a much easier way of getting in calories than eating them. Chewing a bunch of food can be a pain in the ass, and solid foods (especially the high volume foods high in fiber, such as whole grains, fruits, and veggies) can keep you fuller much longer than liquid foods.
If you’re particularly parched or starving come nightfall, it’s probably because you either
a) didn’t eat or drink enough earlier in the day, and/or
b) you didn’t nourish your body with enough essential vitamins and minerals
In that case, pay close attention to what foods you’re craving at night, and figure out what that means in terms of nutrients.
There’s a reason why your doctor suggests eating a well-balanced diet and drinking a ton of water: It’s because all of these different food groups will collectively nourish your body and keep you satiated. So take notice of the number of proteins, healthy fats, and high-fiber foods you’re eating throughout the day.
By Priyanshi Bhatnagar