TIME Diet/Nutrition

11 Foods That Make You Hungrier

Kids cereal
JGI/Jamie Grill—Getty Images/Blend Images

Feeling hungry? You should eat. But what if the foods you’re eating actually make you hungrier than you were before you dug in? It’s a more common conundrum than you might think. “Hunger is a result of many complex interactions that occur in the stomach, intestines, brain, pancreas, and bloodstream,” says weight-loss specialist and board-certified internist Sue Decotiis, MD. Problem is, it’s a circuit that’s easily hijacked. Here are 11 foods that can make you feel like you’re running on empty—even when your stomach is stuffed.

White bread

The white flour used to bake white bread has been stripped of its outer shell (the bran), which depletes the grain’s feel-full fiber content. Eating it spikes your insulin levels, Dr. Decotiis says.

In a recent Spanish study, researchers tracked the eating habits and weights of more than 9,000 people and found that those who ate two or more servings of white bread a day were 40% more likely to become overweight or obese over a five-year period compared to those who ate less of it.

Health.com: 16 Ways to Lose Weight Fast

Juice

Juicing is all the rage, but these “healthy” drinks contain all the sugar of your favorite fruit, but none of the fiber-containing pulp or skin. That means drinking a glass of juice can shoot your blood sugar levels up—and then back down again—bringing on hunger, according to Mitzi Dulan, RD, author of The Pinterest Diet: How to Pin Your Way Thin. Your better bet: blend a smoothie using whole fruit instead, and mix in a scoop of protein powder or nut butter to help balance your blood sugar and boost satiety. (Just be sure to steer clear of sugary fro-yo or sherbet.)

Salty snacks

There’s a reason why you crave something sweet after polishing off a bag of potato chips. Chips, pretzels, and salty snack mixes are little more than quick-digesting simple carbs, which can spur insulin highs and subsequent lows, Dulan says. And since your taste buds and brain link fast-acting energy with sweet foods, it’s common to have a craving for something sweet once you finish your salty nosh. What’s more, thanks to a phenomenon known as sensory specific satiety, you can fill up on chips and feel like only your salty stomach is full. Your sweet one can still feel empty, Dulan says. So get ready to eat two stomachs’ worth of food.

Health.com: 13 Foods That Are Saltier Than You Realize

Fast food

Pretty much every ingredient behind a fast food counter is designed to make you supersize your meal. For instance, trans fat inflames the gut, potentially impairing the body’s ability to produce appetite-controlling neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, Dr. Decotiis says. Meanwhile, the GI tract absorbs high fructose corn syrup (commonly found in buns, condiments, and desserts) quickly, causing insulin spikes and even bigger hunger pangs. Lastly, fast food’s huge helpings of salt can spur dehydration. And with symptoms that closely mimic those of hunger, it’s easy for dehydration to trick you into thinking you need to go back for seconds.

Alcohol

Alcohol doesn’t just lower your healthy-eating resolve, it downright makes you hungrier: According to research published in Alcohol & Alcoholism, just three servings can slash your body’s levels of leptin—a hormone designed to squash hunger and keep you feeling full—by 30%. “Alcohol can also deplete your body’s carbohydrate stores (called glycogen), causing you to crave carbs in order to replace what was lost,” Dr. Decotiis says. And if you find yourself craving salty snacks, dehydration and a loss of electrolytes may be at work.

White pasta

White pasta packs all of the same problems as white bread, but it does deserve its own mention as a hunger-offender because it’s so easy to eat far too much of it. A standard serving size of cooked pasta is just half a cup cooked, but restaurants regularly serve up four cups in a single entrée. When you overload your body with simple carbs, your pancreas goes into overdrive churning out insulin, and soon you’ve produced so much of the sugar-managing hormone that your blood sugar levels are low and you’re ravenously hungry. And consider this: What are you pouring over your pasta? If it’s a store-bought sauce, then it probably contains even more hunger-spiking sugar.

Health.com: Best Superfoods for Weight Loss

MSG

MSG (aka monosodium glutamate) is a flavor-enhancer best known for being added to Chinese food, and may also be found in other foods including canned veggies, soups, processed meats, and even beer and ice cream. One animal study from Spanish researchers suggests the chemical triggers a 40% increase in appetite, and according to research published in the journal Obesity, people who consume the most MSG are nearly three times more likely to be overweight than those who don’t eat it at all. “The effects of leptin (a “satiety hormone” made by fat cells) may be blunted by the damaging effects of MSG on the hypothalamus,” Dr. Decotiis says. What’s more, the effects can compound over time, so the more frequently you eat MSG, the more you’ll eat, period.

Sushi rolls

You might intend to load up on good-for-you fish, but you’re really eating more rice than anything else, says dietitian Susan M. Kleiner, RD, PhD, a scientific consultant with USANA Health Sciences. Case in point: the California roll. Loaded with 30-plus grams of carbohydrates, it’s like eating three slices of white bread. “If you don’t eat anything else, sushi rolls are fairly rapidly digested and emptied from the stomach without a high level of satiating properties like fiber or protein,” she says.

Health.com: 30 Healthy Foods That Could Wreck Your Diet

Artificial Sweeteners

Whether they are in your diet soda or sprinkled in your coffee, artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, and others) excite your brain cells, making them think they are about to get a sweet serving of energy (aka calories), and then let them down—hard, Dr. Decotiis says. The upshot: You may crave—and eat—more sweets throughout the day, trying to make up for the letdown. Over time, this process can actually affect the hunger control centers of the brain, she says. And get this: It has been proposed that artificial sweeteners cause insulin spikes just like real, calorie-packed sugar.

Kids’ cereals

White flour with a generous dusting of table sugar, these morning starters may cause blood sugar and insulin swings. “Eating such a high carbohydrate load in the morning when cortisol levels are at their highest is a double assault to your metabolism,” Dr. Decotiis says. During the night and into the morning, your body pumps out huge amounts of cortisol, which is believed to be a natural part of your body readying itself for the stresses of the day ahead. “Higher cortisol levels mean a lower ability to metabolize ingested sugars. Therefore blood sugar may be high, but still not reach the tissues where it is needed, leading to fatigue and hunger.” Cereal can be a smart way to start your day—look for whole grain or bran cereals that contain at least 5 grams of fiber and less than 5 grams of sugar per serving.

Pizza

You know you can’t eat just one slice—no matter how big it is. That’s because your favorite pizza joint’s combination of white flour dough, hydrogenated oils, processed cheeses, and preservatives can throw off your blood sugar levels, production of satiety hormones, and hunger-regulating regions of the brain, according to Dr. Decotiis. That said, if you make pizza at home with whole-wheat dough and top it with lean meat, lots of veggies, and just a sprinkling of cheese, then you’ll have a fiber- and protein-packed meal that’s less likely to have you reaching for more food in an hour.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Drugs

It’s Easy to Overdose on Tylenol, Study Warns

Tylenol Pills Spilling Out Of Bottle
Shelley Dennis—Getty Images

A new analysis from Consumer Reports calls out the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for inconsistent and potentially dangerous labeling of acetaminophen painkillers

The rise in prescriptions and non-prescription use of painkillers in the U.S. is no secret – in the past decade, prescriptions for opioids have skyrocketed by 300%, making them the most prescribed drugs in the country.

And the consequences of that spike can be deadly, according to the latest report from Consumer Reports: nearly 17,000 people die each year from overdosing on painkillers.

Equally alarming is the rise in other popular painkillers that also have over-the-counter (OTC) versions. Acetaminophen, which includes Tylenol and other generic brands, causes more than 80,000 emergency room visits each year because people often aren’t aware they’re taking too much. The drug is found in more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription medications, such as allergy and cold remedies and sleep aids.

To address the potential for accidental overdose of acetaminophen, the FDA asked physicians earlier this year to stop prescribing more than 325mg of acetaminophen to patients, noting that there isn’t evidence that higher doses provide any additional benefit for relieving pain and that high levels of the drug are linked to liver damage. But the warning did not apply to OTC versions of the drug, which account for 80% of acetaminophen use in the U.S., and are still available in higher doses.

MORE: Tylenol and Panadol Prove No Better Than Placebo at Helping Back Pain

The Consumer Report authors also say that OTC drugs have inconsistent advice about how much acetaminophen is too much for people to take in a day. “We found recommendations varying from 1,000mg per day in some nighttime pain relievers to 3,900 milligrams in some products that combine acetaminophen with allergy drugs or cold and flu drugs. We think the labeled daily limit should be no more than 3,250 milligrams,” they write.

Regarding opioids, the authors call for the FDA to reconsider its December 2013 approval of Zohydro ER, a long-acting version of hydrocodone, over concerns that longer-acting forms are more likely to be misused and abused and don’t show any clear pain-killing benefit over shorter-acting medications. They advise doctors to consider starting their patients who need pain relief with short-acting opioids first, to better gauge whether these forms can provide enough pain relief.

For consumers, the report urges people taking opioids or acetaminophen to ask for and expect regular monitoring of their pain and other symptoms. If the pain isn’t going away, then continuing to take the medications isn’t going to help, and will only expose you to potentially harmful side effects.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

3 Reasons You Should Eat More Spicy Food

Spicy chili, Salento, Apulia, Italy in March 2014.
Spicy chili, Salento, Apulia, Italy in March 2014. DeAgostini—Getty Images

They have more health perks than you know

Hot peppers add a lot of flavor to our food, but they may be doing much more than just making our eyes water. New research shows they might have tumor-fighting benefits, as well. Here are a few reasons you should consider adding some spice into your diet.

It may reduce risk for tumors

A new study in mice published in the journal The Journal of Clinical Investigation found that the spicy chemical in peppers, capsaicin, can activate cell receptors in the intestinal lining, thereby creating a reaction that reduces the risk of developing tumors. The researchers suggest that capsaicin, which is also used as a analgesic by exhausting nerves so they cannot report pain, could help turn off an over-reactive receptor that might spur tumor growth. They fed capsaicin to mice genetically prone to develop more tumors and found that the capsaicin reduced tumors and extended the lives of those mice, especially when they were also given an anti-inflammatory drug. The findings are very new and haven’t be replicated, but it could be another win for spicy food lovers down the line.

It improves your sex life

Now, there’s some debate over how effective natural aphrodisiacs really are, but hey, if you’re not interested in trying pharmaceutical libido boosters, why not give more flavorful food a try. A review of research published in the journal Food Research International in 2011 found ginseng and saffron booth boosted sexual performance. What’s unknown are what the most effective doses are, and how it’s best to consume them. But adding a pinch here or there won’t hurt.

It helps with weight loss

Research has shown that spicy food can increase satiety, but researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, Center for Human Nutrition have also shown that peppers might actually encourage your body to burn more calories. In a small study of men and women, those who were taking pills with pepper components over one month were shown to burn more fat than those taking a placebo. Other researchers at Purdue University found that eating less than a teaspoon of dried cayenne red pepper lowered appetite and increased calorie burn.

While the science isn’t bulletproof, it’s growing, and provides a simple way for eaters to give themselves an edge. Not to mention the numbers show that consumers are eating more spicy food anyway. A 2014 food industry report found that 54% of consumers say hot or spicy foods are appealing compared to 46% in 2009. And, younger diners between ages 18 and 34 are the most likely to order something spicy off the menu.

TIME behavior

This Blood Test Can Predict Suicide Risk, Scientists Say

Researchers report encouraging advances toward a blood test that can pick up genetic changes linked to suicide

Behaviors can’t be reduced to your genes – they’re far too complicated for that. But genes can lay the foundation for making people more or less likely to respond and act in certain ways, and suicide may be the latest example of that.

In a paper published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers led by Zachary Kaminsky, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, found reliable differences in the activity of a specific gene among those who had committed suicide and those who had not. They conducted a series of tests to verify their result. First, they studied brain samples of mentally ill people and those not affected by mental illness, and revealed that a gene, SKA2—which is most abundant in the prefrontal regions of the brain that are involved in inhibiting negative thoughts and corralling impulses—was less active among those who ended up committing suicide than among those who had not. If there isn’t enough of SKA2, or if it isn’t working properly, then receptors that pull the stress hormone cortisol into cells to put a brake on the stress response also don’t work. That can lead to unchecked negative thoughts and impulsive behaviors, like a runaway car without brakes.

MORE: U.S. Special Ops Are Soldiers Committing Suicide in Record Numbers

The scientists also compared amounts of SKA2 among people with suicidal thoughts or those who had already attempted to kill themselves. Based on levels of the gene’s products in the blood, they could predict with 80% to 90% accuracy whether a particular participant had had suicidal thoughts or had tried to commit suicide.

The differences Kaminsky and his colleagues found isn’t a genetic mutation, but a change in how active the SKA2 gene is. Environmental exposures and life experiences can affect how and when genes are turned on or off. That’s what is happening with SKA2 in those who commit suicide; their gene is inhibited from doing its job of controlling their stress response and modulating it properly.

The work is just the first step in potentially developing a blood test for identifying people at highest risk of harming themselves, says Kaminsky. “We are not going to recommend screening everybody,” he says. “I don’t think that makes sense.” But among those at high risk of suicide, knowing that they also have a possible genetic tendency to react negatively to stress may help to them to get consistent support and more aggressive mental health services to help them cope with their stress and avoid more tragic outcomes.

TIME Men

Are You Man Enough? The Truth About Low Testosterone

+ READ ARTICLE

Low-T drugs marketed to help men get their mojo back are having a moment, but are they safe?

With the market for low-testosterone, or “Low-T,” therapy projected to reach $5 billion by 2017, many new centers have sprung up across the country offering a spectacular catch-all treatment.

TIME spoke to experts in the field and visited the Ageless Men’s Health testosterone clinic to get the inside story on a treatment that promises to “boost your strength training, sex drive and performance to the levels you’ve been wanting.”

Read TIME’s cover story, “Manopause?! Aging, Insecurity and the $2 Billion Testosterone Industry,” here.

TIME Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Declares Health Emergency Amid Ebola Outbreak

"Fellow citizens, this is a national fight, and it behoves all of us to stand together to promote the truth about this deadly disease."

+ READ ARTICLE

Updated 9:16 a.m. ET July 31

The president of Sierra Leone has declared a public health emergency over a deadly Ebola outbreak that has killed 729 people across West Africa, according to the World Health Organization.

In a statement posted online late Wednesday, President Ernest Bai Koroma said he is implementing for up to 90 days a series of measures aimed at tackling the Ebola virus, including quarantining areas where the disease has emerged and banning most public meetings. Koroma also said he is canceling a planned trip to the United States and instead meeting with regional leaders to address the outbreak.

“Fellow citizens, this is a national fight, and it behoves all of us to stand together to promote the truth about this deadly disease,” Koroma said in the address. “Ebola is real, and we must stop its transmission.

“I hereby proclaim a State of Public Emergency to enable us take a more robust approach to deal with the Ebola outbreak,” he added.

Koroma also called on the country’s parliament to convene and for officials to avoid non-essential foreign trips.

The measures, which came a day after Sierra Leone’s top Ebola doctor, Sheikh Umar Khan, died from complications caused by the disease, are in line with similar policies announced Wednesday in Liberia, which said it would shutter schools.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Peace Corps said it was pulling all 340 volunteers from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia amid what has become the worst-ever global Ebola outbreak, while two volunteers were isolated after having been exposed to a person who was later killed by the virus.

Sources: WHO, CDC, Mayo Clinic

For more on the Ebola outbreak, see the infographic and video above.

TIME

In The Latest Issue

Manopause Testosterone Low-T Time Magazine Cover
Photograph by Phillip Toledano for TIME

Manopause?! Aging, Insecurity and the $2 Billion Testosterone Industry
These drugs promise to pump up men who feel deflated. But are they safe?

Why Big Mergers Are Bad for Consumers
When big companies merge, it’s good for the bankers—but not so good for the rest of us

Begging for Impeachment
To improve its standing with voters, the White House tries to drum up some trouble for itself

How Kentucky Got Obamacare Right
In the deep-red, Bluegrass state, the Affordable Care Act is an unlikely hit. Just don’t call it by that name

Honduras’s Desperate Voyagers
Children are leaving by the thousands and heading north. Fear of gangs and the promise of prosperity have created a refugee crisis for Barack Obama

Cracking The Girl Code
Tech giants bet on summer camps to close their gender gap

Big Data Tries to Shrink the Prison Population
Risk-assessment programs aim to make sentencing more efficient—but can they deliver equal justice?

This Election Season, Revenge of the Thirds
Extra-party politicians heat up the race for 2014

The Culture

Twitch.tv, the New Frontier of Online Video
The streaming service for gamers could be facing a billion-dollar acquisition by Google

Spoon Stirs Up New Album They Want My Soul
The band’s first album in four years drops Aug. 5

Guardians of the Galaxy: A Bratty Star Wars
No marvels in this quintet’s mythology

Review: In the Kingdom of Ice Brings Cold Comfort
Hampton Sides recounts a forgotten tragedy of American arctic exploration

Online Dating That Matches as You Do, Not as You Say
Zoosk and others try to bridge the gap between what you say you want and what you actually want

Double Dipping for America
Why do some political donors give equally to both candidates?

10 Questions With Maggie Gyllenhaal
The actor on how to be human, her issue with Obama and why she won’t talk about the Middle East

A Clippers Sale
NBA team is good to go

Pop Chart

Milestones

Ebola Doctors
In a risky fight

Briefing

World

That Old-Time Medicine

What You Said About …

TIME tobacco

E-Cig Benefits Outweigh Their Harms, New Research Says

A patron demonstrates an e-cigarette at Vape store in Chicago, April 23, 2014.
A patron demonstrates an e-cigarette at Vape store in Chicago, April 23, 2014. Nam Y. Huh—AP

That doesn't mean you should hop on the bandwagon

The debate over e-cigarettes—now a$2 billion industry in the U.S. and growing—is constantly up in smoke.

The primary problem is that we simply do not know what e-cigarettes’ long-term health impacts are, with some people heralding it an effective smoking cessation while others say it’s just more nicotine products on the market—and not smoking, no matter what you inhale, is your best bet. Some early research found that adolescents smoking e-cigarettes will also smoke regular tobacco products, and that there’s an increase in e-cigarette related calls to poison centers around the nation.

But this week, a new paper looking at over 80 studies on e-cigarettes’ safety and their effects on users plays devil’s advocate.

The researchers found that based on the evidence, e-cigs are much less harmful to smokers and bystanders compared to conventional cigarettes. They are becoming more popular, but the numbers—so far—don’t suggest that they are being regularly used by non-smokers or kids. Finally, the researchers found that e-cigs can help some users cut down on their use of regular cigarettes and even quit. As regulating bodies around the world make decisions about how to deal with e-cigs, the researchers conclude that letting e-cigarettes compete with traditional tobacco on the market might actually decrease smoking morbidity and mortality.

“Health professionals may consider advising smokers unable or unwilling to quit through other routes to switch to [e-cigarettes] as a safer alternative to smoking and a possible pathway to complete cessation of nicotine use,” the Queen Mary University of London researchers write in their study, published in the journal Addiction.

When it comes to the question of what’s safer, e-cigs or cigarettes, no one is in disagreement. E-cigarettes win. While they still provide smokers with nicotine, which is highly addictive, users do not inhale the toxic smoke and chemicals from regular cigarettes.

Public health experts are split on what role e-cigarettes will play in the nation’s health, but more evidence and further research from both sides of the debate will hopefully keep policy members informed about where the current science stands.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser