Always Hungry? Using food to control hunger…yes really!

The feeling of filling up from a meal is controlled by stretch receptors in the stomach and hormones. Both signal the brain it is time to stop eating.  This short-term hunger alleviation is called satiation.

Satiety is the ability to feel full and satisfied over the long-term.

Satiation and satiety have taken a back seat in the nutrition world to things like glycemic index, insulin load and antioxidant concentrations in foods. This is a shame, because your ability to get, and stay full is directly related to your ability to make the right choices at your next meal, and the rest of the day.

satiationsatietyWhat you eat at one meal directly impacts how much you eat, what you will crave, and how soon you will want to eat your next meal. Your meals are not mutually exclusive; this a critical understanding.

Controlling your hunger is THE most important aspect of creating a diet that works for you.  If you can’t get and stay full, you will keep eating, mostly the wrong things, until you do.

Another piece that needs mentioning is satisfaction. I am using the term, satisfaction, to distinguish the purely hunger elements from brain related cravings, both behavioral and biochemical.

We all know that feeling full does not necessarily equate to a desire to stop eating.  You can be full, but are you “dessert full?” The desire to taste certain things like sweet, salt, fat, etc., leans more toward a discussion of cravings.  I have written many blogs on this, and will, again, review cravings here. Obviously hunger and cravings are closely linked, and overlap significantly.

Here are 10 thoughts regarding how food can be used to control hunger

  • Satiation is hunger suppression in the short term, and satiety is hunger suppression in the long-term.  We want to eat foods that provide both.
  • Satisfaction, a term I use to distinguish craving or pleasure aspects of food from purely hunger reducing aspects, is also important. Texture and tastes are important here. Salt, sugar, fat and starch usually come along in high calorie foods, yet using enough, but not too much in cooking may be essential
  • Protein is the king of reducing hunger.  Carbs next.  Fat last.  If you want to reduce your hunger, then amplify protein intake above all else.
  • The combination of fat and starch, or sugar, may actually trigger cravings for more highly palatable food according to some studies.
  • Combination of macronutrients are more hunger reducing than single macronutrients.  Adding fat to protein, carbs to protein or fat to carbs are all more satiety inducing.
  • Low carb diets, and keto-diets, are likely hunger reducing due to the protein content, and the generation of ketones, NOT the fat.
  • Fiber is a great hunger fighter, but only the highly viscous or sticky fibers seem to do the trick. Adding fiber and protein together would seem wise, as doing so provides great hunger suppression with a low calorie load.
  • Chew your food for longer, and choose solid calories over liquid ones when possible
  • When taking calories in through liquids, make sure you drink those that have thick, creamy and airy consistencies.
  • Food labeling and perception matter.  If you believe a food will fill you up, and it is rich in protein, thickening fibers and calories, it likely will.

Dr Jade Teta from Metabolic Effect will be covering this topic in more depth at the Metabolic Effect Summit in the UK 6th, 7th May.  For more details please click here.

I thoroughly recomend this Summit, you will learn from the experts and come away with a much clearer view on how your body actually works.