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5 Health Tips To Avoid Overeating

Last updated Nov. 13, 2016

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Overeating on a regular basis can lead to obesity and make you susceptible to its associated health risks.


Overeating on a regular basis can lead to obesity and make you susceptible to its associated health risks. It is very easy to over eat in America due to large portion sizes and the abundance of ‘unhealthy’ fast food. There are lots of easy lifestyle changes to prevent continual binge eating and maintain a healthy weight without dieting.

Here are 5 tips on how to stop overeating:

Eat small meals every 4 hours:

By consuming smaller portions more frequently throughout the day, you can avoid eating huge meals that result from becoming overly hungry. Being aware of how your body feels when you need to refuel is important to ensure that hunger does not sneak up on you and lead to poor food choices. Additionally, by maintaining healthy blood glucose and insulin levels, you can avoid sudden drops in blood sugar that lead to feeling hungry and unwell.

Have snacks:

Having small healthy snacks that are less than 150 calories between meals can help keep hunger at bay and maintain proper blood glucose levels. It can also help reduce your appetite when it is time for a meal and help you stop eating when you are full, rather than when you are stuffed.

Eat slowly:

By slowing down when you eat, you give your body time to realize when it is full. If you eat too quickly, then you can stuff too much food into your stomach before you realize it. There are different hormones circulating in your body that communicate with a part of the brain, called the hypothalamus, to signal when you are hungry and when you are full. Two of these hormones are ghrelin and leptin. The stomach releases the hormone ghrelin when you need to eat, while leptin is released by fat cells to tell your brain when you are full and to stop eating. It takes time for these hormones signaling to change and communicate with your brain.

Eat breakfast:

Start out your day with a meal to prevent feelings of starvation later in the day. Overnight circulating glucose and glycogen stores are utilized for energy while you sleep. By morning, those stores are mostly used up and need to be restored to prevent dips in blood sugar and energy. Additionally, a study in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that eating breakfast can help control hunger hormones during the day to maintain a more stable appetite and reduce food consumption later in the day.

Choose nutritionally balanced options and plan ahead:

Pay attention to the nutritional value of the food you consume. It is easy to grab greasy fast food during the day, but by planning ahead and choosing healthier options, you can ensure you are consuming the proper nutrients each day. By eating the proper nutrients, you will have more energy and will not feel the need to consume extra, unneeded food. Planning meals can also prevent making poor choices when in a hurry. 

It can be difficult to avoid overeating and eating unhealthy foods when large portions of fatty foods are often the most quickly available ones. By taking the time to start making these five small changes to your diet and routine, you can begin to lower your risk of binge eating or having a large meal, and start to maintain a healthy weight and appetite.

References:

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/defensive-eating/ (accessed on December 27, 2014)

http://www.medbio.info/horn/time%205/appetite%20and%20weight%20control%20nov06%20v2.htm (accessed on December 27, 2014)

http://www.prevention.com/weight-loss/weight-loss-tips/tips-how-stop-overeating/3-eat-breakfast-without-fail (accessed on December 27, 2014)

http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating/portions.html (accessed on December 27, 2014)

http://www.foodaddictsanonymous.org/faa-food-plan (accessed on December 27, 2014)

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Davis, C., Strachan, S., & Berkson, M. (2004). Sensitivity to reward: implications for overeating and overweight. Appetite, 42(2), 131-138.

Davis, C., & Carter, J. C. (2009). Compulsive overeating as an addiction disorder. A review of theory and evidence. Appetite, 53(1), 1-8.

Ackard, D. M., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Story, M., & Perry, C. (2003). Overeating among adolescents: prevalence and associations with weight-related characteristics and psychological health. Pediatrics, 111(1), 67-74.

Masheb, R. M., & Grilo, C. M. (2006). Emotional overeating and its associations with eating disorder psychopathology among overweight patients with binge eating disorder. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 39(2), 141-146.

Davis, C., Levitan, R. D., Muglia, P., Bewell, C., & Kennedy, J. L. (2004). Decision‐making deficits and overeating: A risk model for obesity. Obesity research, 12(6), 929-935.

Chang, G. Q., Gaysinskaya, V., Karatayev, O., & Leibowitz, S. F. (2008). Maternal high-fat diet and fetal programming: increased proliferation of hypothalamic peptide-producing neurons that increase risk for overeating and obesity. The Journal of Neuroscience, 28(46), 12107-12119.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Nov. 13, 2016
Last updated: Nov. 13, 2016