Hunger pangs suck, especially when you're trying to lose weight or just inhaled a huge lunch and are inexplicably starving again. But reaching for seconds isn't always the solution. Here are five scientifically proven ways to keep your stomach full, without resorting to that old "eating 12 almonds" trick.
Add half an avocado to your meal: Besides being creamy and tasting amazing, avocados are filled with monounsaturated fat (that's the good kind), which makes you feel fuller. In fact, one recent study published in the Nutrition Journal found that overweight people who added half an avocado to their lunches lost the desire to eat more by 40 percent over a three-hour period and by 28 percent over a five-hour period. Best food to happen to your diet all year. (Well, so far …)
Chew gum: There's something inherently satiating about the act of chewing (but weirdly, not swallowing). Case in point: Scientists in the Netherlands asked people to chew, but not swallow, food for either one minute or eight minutes. Then 30 minutes later, they documented the number of calories the subjects consumed during a meal. Turns out those who chewed for eight minutes ate 19 percent less food than those who chewed for one minute. Pop in a piece of sugarless gum after a meal for fresh breath and to ward off the urge to reach for that afternoon snack.
Eat the damn carbs: It may not be "in" to eat carbohydrates (Thanks, Gwyneth) but banning them altogether will just make you hungrier. The key is to choose complex carbs (those found in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains), which take longer to digest, keeping you fuller for longer. You can also try indulging in (certain) white carbs such as potatoes, which contain "resistant starch." According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, resistant starch helps people feel full for up to 24 hours and eat a whopping 320 less calories a day. French fries, please!
Work out: Despite the popular notion that exercise raises hunger levels, one study found the opposite to be true. According to researchers in Brazil, going for a run when you feel hungry activates brain cells that signal satiety, which, in turn, curbs eating. Of course, if you're starving, you won't motivate, so eating a small high-fiber snack (an apple, one cup of oatmeal) will help you get going.
Drink alcohol during dinner, not before: The next time you order a glass of wine, ask the waiter to bring it with your meal, not before. Research published by the University of Sussex found that alcohol temporarily alters your body's capability to feel full and boosts appetite for a brief period - just long enough for you to justify that fried shrimp appetizer.