If you’re trying to lose weight, you probably reduce your carbohydrates. That can help. In fact, there is evidence that certain foods—carbohydrates in general but especially sugary or salty foods—trigger chemical messages to the brain that prompt us to eat more and continue the rewarding and pleasurable experience of food.
Eating high-quality solid protein regularly throughout the day can decrease feelings of hunger, and studies show that it leads people to choose to eat fewer total calories. Appetite is decreased by the feeling of fullness and satisfaction—appetite and satiety don’t just take place in your stomach but are greatly influenced by the brain’s response to the experience of eating. As soon as you put something in your mouth and swallow it, gut peptides send messages to the brain.
Plan your meals carefully so that you get high-quality protein at every meal and at snacks. Pair protein with slow-digesting carbohydrates, especially green vegetables, and with smart fats. Shoot for eating solid protein—except for pre- and postworkout shakes—because solid protein has a much more satiating effect.
If you do take liquid protein before and after training, you should be aware that whey has been shown to blunt hunger more than casein because it’s digested faster, providing a massive influx of amino acids to the bloodstream very quickly. Moreover, branched-chain amino acids that are high in leucine has been found to dull hunger and limit additional food intake.