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The 12 Worst Foods for Appetite Control

author image Shannon Philpott
Shannon Philpott has been a writer since 1999. She has experience as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and online copywriter. Philpott has published articles in St. Louis metro newspapers, "Woman's World" magazine, "CollegeBound Teen" magazine and on e-commerce websites, and also teaches college journalism and English. She holds a Master of Arts in English from Southern Illinois University.

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The 12 Worst Foods for Appetite Control
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When you’re hungry and in a rush, a bagel, protein bar or handful of cereal might be convenient, but it's a short-term fix. “If you eat these foods when you are hungry, you may have a burst of energy at first, but after the sugar high, your blood sugar will plummet and send you looking for another snack,” says Bridget Swinney, a Texas-based registered dietitian and the author of Eating Expectantly: The Practical and Tasty Guide to Prenatal Nutrition. From pasta and microwave meals, to chips and juice, find out which foods are the worst for appetite control.

1. Chain Store Smoothies
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1 Chain Store Smoothies

If you think that the healthy alternative for a milkshake or soda is a smoothie, you need to carefully consider the ingredients in that cup. Chain store smoothies can be detrimental for appetite control because they are often full of sugar from frozen yogurt, juice and multiple servings of fruit. “This high-sugar content can leave the body feeling tired and hungry for additional sugar,” says Valerie Dickerson, staff dietitian at Wellspring at Structure House, a residential weight-loss program. For a healthier balance, be sure to choose a smoothie that includes protein powder, fruit and healthy fats; avocados or nut butters are healthy options.

Related: 8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Protein Powder – and Our Top 5 Picks

2. Bagels
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2 Bagels

A breakfast favorite, bagels have a thick texture that tricks you into thinking they will fill you up and provide you with the energy you need to get through the day. However, white bagels (made without whole grains) are a carb-heavy food with little fiber. “You’ll get full at first, but it won’t keep you full nearly as long as if you ate a few eggs with a piece of whole-grain toast instead,” says Bridget Swinney, a Texas-based registered dietitian. A whole grain bagel has about 7 grams of fiber compared to the 2 grams of fiber typically found in a plain, white bagel.

Related: Sign Up to Receive the FREE LIVESTRONG.COM Weekly Health and Fitness Newsletter

3. Protein Bars
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3 Protein Bars

Protein should fill you up, right? Not if it’s paired with sugar and simple carbs, says Stephanie Merchant, owner and founder of The Nutrition Mom. “This ‘healthy’ choice may just be leading you to more cravings,” Merchant points out. Read the label to determine if your protein bar looks more like a candy bar (comprised of sugar, simple carbs and artificial flavors) before you opt for this grab-and-go snack. When choosing a bar, look for one that includes more whole foods like nuts, seeds and dried fruits.

Related: Energy Bars and 20 Other Foods that Sound Healthy But Are NOT!

4. Cookies
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4 Cookies

Ever wonder how you can eat a whole box of cookies and still find yourself hungry? Most cookies found on supermarket shelves are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates and low in complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein and healthy fats so they digest fairly quickly, spiking your blood sugar. Once that food digests and your blood sugar crashes -- you’re right back where you started. “Our bodies are smart and will keep signaling that they need food until you ingest some nutritional density, not just processed foods,” says Rea Frey, a nutrition specialist and International Sports Sciences Association-certified trainer in Chicago.

Related: 20 Delicious Protein Powder Recipes (That Are NOT Shakes)

5. Salty Chips
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5 Salty Chips

You can’t eat just one. But did you know that it’s also hard to fill up on empty fuel, e.g., salty chips. “The combination of salt and fat is one few have enough willpower to control, especially if they are hungry,” says Bridget Swinney, a registered dietitian in Texas. “But chips aren’t very filling, so it’s easy to eat the whole bag without thinking and still want dinner.” Also, stay away from creamy dips that are drenched in more empty calories.

Related: Try MyPlate, LIVESTRONG’s Free Food Tracker to Find Out How Many Calories You Need

6. White Rice and Pasta
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6 White Rice and Pasta

If you love to gorge on Italian cuisine or white rice, you should know that your appetite may begin to spike, as well as your blood sugar. “These foods do not satiate hunger, they only give the illusion they have and for a very short time,” says Simla Somturk, a Colorado-based certified nutrition consultant and founder of Delicious Health. Instead, opt for a whole grain pasta or brown rice, which are higher in fiber. Be sure to pair them with healthy fats and proteins to help slow digestion, keeping you feeling fuller longer.

Related: Sign Up to Receive the FREE LIVESTRONG.COM Weekly Health and Fitness Newsletter

7. Breakfast Cereal
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7 Breakfast Cereal

Your morning bowl of breakfast cereal could have your appetite spiking and energy crashing by noon. “Skip the sugar-coated crispies or marshmallow-packed oats if you want to keep your appetite under control,” says Kali O’Mard, a New York-based fitness trainer. Many morning cereals are loaded with refined carbohydrates and added sugars and are missing out on satiating protein. A 2013 study supports this finding that when women ate a high protein breakfast versus a ready-to-eat breakfast cereal of similar calories, they had an increased sense of fullness, which carried into the evening and nighttime snacking of high-fat and high-sugar foods decreased.

Related: Eggs or Cereal - Which Is a Better Breakfast for Weight Loss?

8. Juice
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8 Juice

One of the biggest mistakes parents make is giving their children juice, says Rea Frey, a nutrition specialist and certified trainer. The same goes for adults. Juice is stripped of its natural fiber from fruits and vegetables, so it does nothing for satiety. “You’re not going to get full from juice or many other liquids, so you should never aim to get your calories from liquid,” says Frey. If you are going to enjoy a juice, read the label to see if the beverage is 100 percent juice or juice concentrate to avoid quenching your thirst with an unhealthy choice. Or opt to make your own fruit juice from fresh-picked oranges and lemons.

Related: 12 Health Trends That Are NOT Healthy!

9. Candy
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9 Candy

It’s always tough to resist a jar of candy at work, but if you want to keep your appetite under control, you must fight the urge to dive into chocolate or sugar-laden treats. “Foods like candy that are high in sugar can wreak havoc on appetite control,” says Dr. Keith Kantor, a Georgia nutritionist. “After the initial spike in insulin from consuming more sugar than the body can process, we get a crash, causing one to crave more sugar and carbohydrates.” For a better option at the 3 o’clock snack hour, opt for a trail mix made of nuts and dried fruit or an apple with nut butter.

Related: 15 Reasons to Kick the Sugar Habit Now

10. Doughnuts
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10 Doughnuts

Even though doughnut holes, glazed sweets and icing-filled pastries appear to satisfy your sweet tooth, don’t be tricked by the empty calories. “Baked goods are simple carbohydrates that are rapidly broken down and digested by the body, leading to highs and lows in energy and poor appetite control,” says Valerie Dickerson, staff dietitian at Wellspring at Structure House, a residential weight-loss facility and program in Durham, N.C. “Many people do not experience a sustained feeling of fullness when they eat these refined carbohydrates, even when the doughnuts are chock full of calories and fat,” Dickerson adds.

Related: Sign Up to Receive the FREE LIVESTRONG.COM Weekly Health and Fitness Newsletter

11. Frozen Packaged Meal
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11 Frozen Packaged Meal

How many times have you had one of those microwaved meals for lunch thinking you were making a healthier choice? It’s likely your stomach was growling again soon after. “Unfortunately, these meals are usually lacking in nutrients and fiber to fill you up, and some may even have questionable ingredients,” says Stephanie Merchant, owner and founder of The Nutrition Mom. Look for healthier options made with whole grains, a hefty source of lean protein and light on the additives.

Related: The Best and Worst Frozen Meals

12. Diet Soda
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12 Diet Soda

It’s tempting to grab a carbonated beverage to quench your thirst and appetite but even though it’s calorie-free, diet soda may do the opposite when it comes to managing cravings and weight. Some argue that diet soda with its artificial sweeteners may actually increase your desire and tolerance for sweets, which could alter your body’s ability to manage hunger and sugar cravings.

Related: Is Diet Soda Actually Making Us Fat?

What Do YOU Think?
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What Do YOU Think?

Are any of your go-to snacks on this list? Are there any foods we missed mentioning? What are your top suggestions for foods that actually satisfy and curb your appetite? Leave a comment below, and let us know.

Related: 18 Foods With a ‘Bad’ Rap That Are Actually Good For You

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