Digging into a scrumptious meal like lasagna or baked chicken is what many of us look forward to after a hectic day. For those times when we’re really hungry, going for seconds seems inevitable. But, it doesn’t have to be! New research shows that you can suppress your appetite and eat smaller portions by snacking on dairy products (like cheese!) before dinnertime.
A recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition explored the positive effects dairy intake can have on appetite. Researchers included 30 older adults (60 to 70 years old) and 28 young adults (ages 20 to 30) in the study. Participants were asked to consume either 350 grams of Greek yogurt, 60 grams of cheddar cheese, or 500 ml of water, skim, or whole milk two hours before eating dinner. Their appetite level, blood sugar, and digestive responses were measured before, during, and after the meal.
Afterwards, the study authors found that the dairy products helped decrease post-meal blood sugar levels, pre-meal appetite, and overall meal intake when compared to water. They also said yogurt worked better for suppressing pre-meal appetite than any other form of dairy. When it came to mealtime, both yogurt and cheese reduced the participants’ calorie intake by 62 percent while milk did so by 33 percent. Researchers credited these results to dairy’s ability to lower the amount of ghrelin in the body, which is a hunger-stimulating hormone.
Beyond working as a way to suppress appetite, eating diary has been linked to helping protect against heart disease and reducing the risk of fractures and falls. When you do consume dairy, it’s worth sticking to full-fat products since low-fat varieties were recently associated with increasing the likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease.
The USDA recommends that older adults consume three cups of dairy each day to maintain strong and healthy bones. Getting your daily fill isn’t too tricky when a bowl of yogurt or some cubes of cheese are easy diet additions. Enjoying these as an afternoon snack helps suppress appetite and keeps you from reaching for seconds!