So you’re on a diet, but you can’t stop thinking about food. First you crave something sweet, then you crave something salty, then you crave carbs—any carbs. Take it from me, it’s hard not to think about food while you’re on a diet, but there IS a solution!
One of the very best ways to keep away those pesky cravings is by eating more fiber every day. It’s that simple! Fiber does some pretty amazing things in the body, one of which is triggering the release of an anti-hunger hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK).
CCK is produced in the small intestine and plays an important role in bile production and digestive enzyme secretion, but it also helps with satiety, which means it sends a message to your brain when you’re full. So the more fiber you eat with each meal, the faster you’ll feel full, and the less likely your chances of overeating! (FYI: Eating more fats will also stimulate the release of CCK, but fiber is definitely better for you and a lot lower in calories.)
In a series of studies done at the University of California, researchers found that both women and men who ate a high-fiber meal released more CCK that those who ate a low-fiber meal, and that CCK levels were actually twice as high after a the high-fiber meal.
Fiber also helps curb cravings simply by taking up a lot of space in your stomach. Basically, high-fiber foods pack a lot of volume but contain very few calories, so even though they fill you up, they’re not going to send your calorie intake through the roof. It’s a win-win situation—more fullness, fewer calories! I recommend eating at least 35 grams of fiber every day, especially since the average American only consumes about 10 to 15 grams daily.
Consuming more fruits and vegetables is the best way to increase your daily fiber intake, but if you’re still having a hard time reaching 35 grams a day, add a high-quality fiber supplement with a balanced ratio of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Flaxseed, oat fiber and acacia fiber are great options, but try to avoid products made with psyllium because they can cause gas, bloating and constipation.