In the winter time, many people find themselves experiencing an increased appetite and/or weight gain that seems inexplicable. It’s as if you wake up one morning and discover a bunch of extra weight looking back at you in the mirror. Well, it’s time to take a look at why that is, and how you can curb these seasonal changes through natural means.
Hungrier in Winter
It has been well-documented and widely recognized that in winter, people tend to be a little hungrier than in the warmer seasons. While there isn’t universal scientific consensus explaining this phenomenon, there is enough scientific evidence and knowledge that supports this notion.
One credible study showed that in winter, people tend to consume about 200 more calories than normal on a given day, on average. There are multiple reasons for this change in diet, as there are multiple environmental cues that contribute to increased appetite and food consumption.
One reason is merely the lifestyle changes and traditions that come with the winter season: more time spent inside, more holiday feasting, and therefore more leftovers as well. There are biological reasons as well. The days are shorter in winter, and less light naturally prompts us humans to seek food and consume it more quickly. Additionally, a drop in ambient temperatures contributes to an increase in energy expenditure which leads to increased hunger.
Another reason for increased appetite in winter is psychological. As a person learns to associate feasting with the winter time, they hold this notion internally and will tend to associate the pleasure of eating with colder temperatures throughout their lifetime.
Curbing Winter Hunger
If you want to avoid experiencing or giving into an increased appetite in winter, there are some simple diet and lifestyle factors to consider. Sticking to lean proteins such as fish, as opposed to more fatty meats, is one way to foster a healthy winter diet. Consuming healthy, lower-calorie foods and snacks in general is a good recommendation.
Being active in the winter can help reduce the chances of weight gain. This means exercising, whether indoors or out (if weather permits it). Getting some sunlight each day is also helpful for mood, and this can reduce the chances of craving “comfort food” during winter.
Natural Products to Help Manage Winter Appetite
Certain supplements have been touted for their ability to help reduce appetite. While you should not rely on any of these alone to help you manage an increased winter appetite, they can be of assistance. The above diet recommendations, as well as some self-control, also go a long way in avoiding excess eating and weight gain in winter. Always talk to your doctor before trying any new supplements.
Ginger is a spice that supports the digestive process and also helps energize the body. These effects of ginger can help you feel full, and avoid excess cravings in a general sense.
Glucomannan is a type of soluble fiber that when consumed, can help you feel fuller longer, thereby suppressing appetite. Scientific findings for this claim are conflicting, but supplementing a healthy diet with glucomannan might prove effective.
Garcinia cambogia is a fruit that has been made into an oral supplement, commonly recommended as an appetite suppressant. This plant contains hydroxycitric acid, which increases serotonin levels in the brain and reduces the metabolism of carbohydrates.
B vitamins are essential vitamins that can help your body manage weight gain assuming you have enough of them. Vitamins B2, B3, and B6 can encourage healthy appetite and hunger, regulate metabolism, and encourage normal thyroid hormone production.
Buffered vitamin C, which also contains calcium and other nutrients, can help curb excess hunger. Buffered vitamin C can help your body combat food cravings as well as withdrawal symptoms.
Managing increased hunger in winter can be a little challenging, if you can push yourself to do it. It can be worthwhile in helping you avoid excess weight, and avoiding cravings altogether. Consider the above diet recommendations and natural supplements for this purpose, and always talk to your doctor before trying a new supplement.