Do you want more in life? Yeah, we probably do, but we need to be careful not to overdo it. Too much of anything is bad for us. It doesn’t matter if it’s cake, exercise, or reading. Gluttony is a sin. In fact, it’s one of the seven deadly sins—the vises that make us flawed human beings. We tend to overdo it when it comes to the things in life that make us feel good. But with a little temperance—one of the seven virtues—we can avoid that gluttonous vibe.
When it comes to eating, we could all do with a little temperance. We need food to survive, but our bodies only require a certain amount of calories. If we eat more than our recommended daily allowance, we start gaining weight. It is no surprise that our nation is dealing with an obesity problem. It can be hard not to overeat, especially when faced with a juicy burger and fries.
Luckily, today’s fortune has a solution and is backed by a bit of science. There are a few things we can do to prevent ourselves from overindulging at mealtime.
Choose Proteins Over Carbohydrates
Studies have shown that eating more protein can curb our hunger better than carbs. Eating eggs for breakfast can make us feel fuller longer than eating a bowl of cereal or a bagel. The extra protein also helps prevent muscle loss when we reduce the number of calories we take in to lose weight.
Eat Fiber-Rich Foods
When we do eat something other than protein, it helps to choose foods rich in fiber. High fiber foods such as oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, and beans contain soluble fiber that absorbs water and slow down the rate of digestion. This aids in the release of fullness hormones such as cholecystokinin (CCK) and Peptide YY (PYY) from our gut. These hormones make us feel sated and reduce our appetite.
Reduce Your Stress
When we get stressed, we produce the hormone cortisol. Higher cortisol levels tend to increase appetite. They also decrease the levels of Peptide YY (PYY) mentioned earlier. We need to slow things down a little and relax if we want to control our hunger.
Add a Little Spice
Adding a little ginger or hot and sweet peppers to a meal can curb one’s appetite. The capsaicin and capsiate compounds in peppers have been found to increase one’s fullness. Ginger has a history for reducing nausea, inflammation, and muscle pain. It also reduces hunger.
Be Mindful When Eating
We need to eat to stay alive, but eating is more than just a meal. Eating should be an event. Digestion begins way before we put that first bite of food into our mouths. The smells and colors of food make our salivary glands produce saliva which helps break down the food while we chew.
When it is time to eat, we should slow down and enjoy the experience. In today’s society, we tend to rush through everything. We should give more time to food, especially since it is one of the three necessities of life. Get to know our food. Savor every morsel. Admire every flavor. Eating slowly also gives our gastrointestinal tract a chance to secreted the digestive hormones that signal fullness to our brain before we’ve scarfed down too much.
Dark Chocolate for Dessert
There is nothing wrong with a little dessert, especially if it is made with dark chocolate. Researchers believe that the stearic acid in dark chocolate, slows down digestion, helping us feel full. In fact, one study found that merely smelling 85% dark chocolate decreased our appetite and the production of hunger hormones as much as eating it.
Tempering our tummy doesn’t have to be hard. These simple methods can keep gluttony at bay so you can have your cake and eat it too.