How to lose appetite for food

A lot of people do have a really hard time controlling their appetite, which is more than understandable because one effect of junk food on the mind is actual neurochemical addiction in the brain. There are a lot of myths on the internet regarding how to lose appetite for food, and I would like to dispel some of them along with giving a few tips that actually work.

The fact is, hunger is one of our primal instincts, and as such it can be pretty hard to control. Using evolutionary logic, it doesn’t make sense for us to be able to ignore hunger. For an animal in the wild, hunger means that it needs to go find food or it will starve and eventually die.

How To Lose Appetite

The problem is, evolution didn’t anticipate that we would one day have an endless supply of food, and that we wouldn’t have to do any sort of work in order to obtain it. Top that with calorically dense, insulin raising food, that causes neurochemical changes in the brain leading us to eat more and more. This is a recipe for disaster, as seen by all the modern diseases that are becoming commonplace today.

I believe anyone who knows how to eat healthy, and has no problem in following it, shouldn’t have a hard time losing weight. However, there are some people that do have trouble sticking to a healthy diet, and may need some tips and tricks to help them lose their appetite and break the junk food addiction. So, here are the myths, followed shortly by a few things that actually work.

Myths on how to lose appetite for food:

1. Eat fruit and vegetables that are rich in fiber.

As most people who have tried this know, this doesn’t really work. Fruit and vegetables are very low in calories, and they contain mainly carbs and sugar. Eating these foods may cause you to become satiated for a little while, but in my personal experience that doesn’t last much longer than 30-60 minutes, and they make you feel deprived. These foods are good to eat as part of a healthy diet, not to reduce appetite.

2. Use smaller plates.

I have a hard time believing this would actually work and be sustainable, for me I go by the feeling of my stomach and my hunger to judge if I’m full or not, I really don’t care about how many plates I’ve eaten. I think some of these psychological tricks may work for a short time, but your body is gonna know sooner or later that it’s not getting the energy it needs and then it will make you ravenously hungry.

3. Eat a lot of lean protein.

Sure, protein is satiating. I’m not gonna argue with that, but it needs to be eaten along with fat in order to really work. Munching on chicken breasts and vegetables really doesn’t keep people satiated for a long time at all, personally I’m usually hungry just a short time afterwards.

There are a lot more tips that you can find online and I’m not gonna list all of them here. These were just some of the more common ones that I thought were worth mentioning. A quick list of other tips: stop eating and wait for 10 minutes before you eat more, drink water with meals, eat in well lit areas, eat slowly, eat often, eat breakfast, reduce stress, have a cheat meal every now and then. There is really an endless amount of insane tips that you can find online, most of them being ridiculous.

Tips that actually work on how to lose appetite:

Alright, some of the above mentioned myths might have some small effect, but here I am gonna list a few things that I know are way more effective, and are not gonna have you feeling deprived in any way.

1. Eat a low-carb, high-fat diet.

It is a known fact that carbohydrates stimulate insulin release, which causes the fat in the fat cells to have a hard time getting out of them. That is why hunger is a common thing on a high carb diet, the fats are locked in and are unable to provide your body with the energy it needs.

In fact, research on low-carbohydrate diets shows that people following them automatically eat less than people on higher-carb, calorie controlled diet. That’s right, the low-carbers eat less than the high-carbers who are actually limiting their food intake.

2. Try the Shangri La Diet.

I discovered the Shangri La Diet about a year ago. I haven’t really been following it, and I haven’t read the book, but the basic theory of the diet seems to be ridiculously effective. I did try it for a few weeks to see if it works, and it does (I don’t really need to lose weight, but I like to experiment with things). It revolves around breaking the psychological connection between flavor and calories. No studies have been done on this diet that I know of, but it sure seems to work for one reason or another.

It involves eating a few tablespoons of flavorless oil, such as light olive oil, in the time period between meals. It is necessary that you haven’t consumed any sort of flavor an hour before intake, and don’t eat anything until an hour later. For more info on this approach, check out the website or the Shangri La Diet forums.

3. Supplement with Chromium Picolinate.

This supplement has been shown to reduce carbohydrate cravings in people with atypical depression.

The results of this study suggest that the main effect of chromium was on carbohydrate craving and appetite regulation in depressed patients and that 600 μg of elemental chromium may be beneficial for patients with atypical depression who also have severe carbohydrate craving.”

There’s no guarantee that this would work, and the studies that have been done were in depressed people, but this is a very cheap supplement and well tolerated so it might be a good idea to try it out if your appetite is causing you problems.


Like I said before, I don’t believe people should need to follow any sort of advanced tips or tricks in order to lose weight, but some people have a hard time controlling their appetite or are perhaps suffering from junk food addiction. In those cases, it may be a good idea to try these methods on how to lose appetite for food, they might just do the trick.


  1. Hi Kris,

    Once again a good post, well written.

    If I may add something of my own experience to this?

    I have been doing Leangains style Intermittent Fasting since January this year and have found it to be highly effective at learning how to deal with hunger. I know you have done one or more forms of I.F., so I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know.

    My personal experience of hunger with I.F. seems to be atypical; I get hungry after about 5 mins of being awake, this is initially reduced with some water, but then returns at varying intensities until I eat. Most people experience only mild hunger and then frequently even that disappears. My hunger level varies from about 2/10 to all the way up to 9/10 (jaw aching, feeling slightly weak, but rarely) throughout the day, and recent experimentation with fasting till the evening hours (making the fasting period nearly 24hours) has shown me that I don’t get any more hungry, or desperate for food, as the fast continues.

    As someone who was a dedicated breakfast eater this has come as a huge surprise to me; I never would have thought I could last as long as I do, and feel fine, in fact better than fine, I feel great most of the time. Many people I talk to about it simply say they could never deal with being hungry for that long, but then don’t bother actually trying it, so they don’t really ‘know’ at all.

    Here’s something a commenter put on my website that I like:

    The Warrior Diet by Ori Hofmekler is full of many inaccuracies, but it did change my perception on hunger:

    “Many people today have an irrational – almost phobic – fear of hunger. We live in a society that teaches us it isn’t ever good to be hungry, and that hunger can even be dangerous…when you know how to manipulate hunger correctly, it will serve you in many positive ways. Hunger will trigger the active part of the survival instinct – that which makes you more alert, ambitious, competitive and creative.”

    I find this useful, I hope some of your readers also do.

    Thanks again, keep up the good work.

  2. Hey George,

    I have tried the IF and Warrior Diet myself. Personally I don’t like fasting although I have read about some incredible health benefits of doing it. I know of a lot of people who have had great success with intermittent fasting :)

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