Six foods that actually make you hungrier
WITH Christmas just a hop, skip and a jump away, you're probably preparing to eat yourself silly.
And you know how it goes: half an hour after declaring you are never going to eat again, ever, you find yourself standing at the fridge, looking for a snack.
Food may sate your hunger, but some things do a better job than others. Here are the six biggest offenders in the food and drink that fails to fill you.
This may pose as the healthy alternative to sugar but, in many ways, you're still having your cake and eating it too.
Found in an abundance of food and drink labelled "diet" or "sugar-free", artificial sweeteners are considered safe, however their affect on the body's ability to gauge how many calories are being consumed is fairly poor.
This results in you being enticed to crave more and eat more - all the while receiving little to no satisfaction.
Plus the reality is the presence of sweeteners (as with all additives) indicates that food is heavily processed and best avoided in large amounts.
Whether they're baked or 100 per cent fat-free, crackers may contain traces of fibre, but you're downing mostly carbs, so they're rapidly digested and absorbed, leaving your body starved for more.
Your best bet is to top them off with slices of avocado, nut butter, ricotta or hummus for an instant hunger buster and well-rounded snack.
It's true, once you pop you can't stop.
Potato chips, corn chips and pretzels are not only quick-digesting, all that sodium also leaves you thirsty. Thirst is then often mistaken for hunger, tricking your body into eating more instead of reaching for a glass of water.
The result is you're more peckish, but less satisfied.
Fresh juices are fashionable within the clean eating culture, however if you're considering a juice cleanse to bust the kilos fast, listen up.
While you may be sipping a whole heap of antioxidants, without the bulk from the fibre in the flesh, the body absorbs the liquid, especially the fructose (fruit sugar) more rapidly.
This leaves you with a calorie-containing beverage that spikes your blood sugar, followed by a crash, leaving you hankering for more food.
Plus, when you drink your calories instead of chewing them, your body doesn't receive the same hunger-suppressing cues that tide you over between meals.
True salads are generally waistline-friendly, however if they're not balanced you'll find yourself battling drowsiness all afternoon.
Beyond piling your plate with leafy greens, the trick is to give your salad more staying power.
Top with protein (like chicken, salmon or chickpeas) and always add a serve of slow-burning carbs like sweet potato or wholegrains (like quinoa, brown rice or barley).
Any meal without those components will likely leave you searching for your next meal in no time.
Not technically a food, but alcohol's so-called "empty calories" can leave you feeling empty too. The fact is, your body can't store alcohol, and the process of removing it requires hefty consumption of your glycogen stores (stored glucose), which is why a night of drinking causes you to get the munchies.
Research also shows that alcohol switches the brain into starvation mode, increasing appetite - another reason to explain why French fries are always more enticing after a few drinks.
Kathleen Alleaume is a nutritionist and exercise physiologist and founder of The Right Balance. Follow her on Twitter @therightbalance