When dieting, one of the biggest challenges is keeping your hunger satisfied while avoiding food cravings between meals. This is because dieting stimulates hunger and consumption through 2 distinct primal mechanisms that are either homeostatic or hedonistic in nature. First, through the body’s motivation to maintain energy balance, homeostatic derived feelings of hunger are driven by caloric (energy) deficiency. However, hedonic eating is initiated by anticipation of a pleasurable experience or reward and is independent of caloric status— this is what drives junk food cravings and overeating. At the end of the day, if you cannot overcome these deep-seeded drives to eat, then you will fail at dieting.
But wait… there may be help!
In recent years, supplement scientists have moved beyond stimulant based appetite suppressants, with a recent focus on finding compounds that decrease overeating through manipulating hormones associated with appetite regulation. In a recent double blinded and placebo controlled study published in Appetite, Swedish scientists illustrated that consuming a single dose of thylakoid-rich spinach extract prior to breakfast dampens the homeostatic and hedonic drives to eat. The authors reported that, compared to placebo, ingesting thylakoids led to a 21% decrease in hunger, 14% increase in satiety (feeling of fullness after meals), and a 36% reduction in overall junk food cravings. Although blood hormone levels were not assessed, the scientists speculate that thylakoid supplementation likely alters secretion of appetite regulating hormones [i.e., increased cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), and decreased ghrelin].
ACTION POINT: Supplementing thylakoids promotes substantially reduced hunger, increased satiety, and reduced desire to eat junk foods regardless of food type (i.e., salty, sweet, or sweet-and-fat). The best thylakoid supplement on the market is called AppeFit (Vitamin Shoppe). Take 1 scoop (containing 5g of Appethyl thylakoid-rich spinach extract) daily with water, 30-60 minutes prior to breakfast.
Reference: Stenblom EL1, Egecioglu E1, Landin-Olsson M1, Erlanson-Albertsson C2. Consumption of thylakoid-rich spinach extract reduces hunger, increases satiety and reduces cravings for palatable food in overweight women. Appetite. 2015 Aug;91:209-19.