4 Ways To Improve Weight Loss Through Satiety

November 9, 2015

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blog_hungerDo you still feel hungry after you clean your plate? For many of us trying to lose weight, this is one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of success. As we lower our calorie intake, our bodies crave more food. If we give in, it can lead to overeating and sabotage our weight loss efforts. To prevent this from happening, we need to better manage our hunger. And that starts with understanding satiety.

Satiety is just a fancy way of saying that your body is in a state of feeling full. It works like this: As soon as you eat or drink something, your digestive system kicks into gear. Your brain is in constant contact with your stomach, looking for the I’m full  signal that is regulated mostly by the hormone called leptin. Leptin uses your body fat percentage to determine when to tell your brain it’s time to stop eating. Once your fat stores are at a sufficient level, the buzzer should go off that tells you it’s time to put the fork down.

Unfortunately, many people still eat even when they feel full. For those who are suffering from obesity, it is very common to experience leptin resistance, which means the I’m full signals between the stomach and the brain don’t work as well as they should. And then there are other reasons for overeating that are so subtle that we don’t even know that they are causing us to do it. Our emotions, environment, and social behaviors all play a role in our eating habits.

The good news is that we can take our weight loss efforts to the next level by engineering satiety to work for us. There are a few ways we can do this:

1. Eat foods with high SI levels.

It’s clear that some foods satisfy hunger much better than others. Researchers have developed a tool called the Satiety Index (SI) that ranks foods based on how long they keep you feeling full. The higher the score, the better the food is at keeping you satisfied. Oatmeal has a very high SI level of 209, whereas cake has a low SI of 65. You’ll need to munch down on more slices of cake to get the same feeling of fullness as a bowl of oatmeal. As you know, the more slices you eat, the more calories you take in, putting you at higher risk of overeating. Keep in mind the Satiety Index does have its limitations. It only takes into account how well foods satisfy hunger, not nutritional value.

2. Protein and fiber are your friends.

There’s a large body of evidence that suggests that both protein and fiber boost satiety and helps reduce food intake. Some of the best sources of protein include fish, lean meats, and plant-based foods like quinoa (a great rice alternative). Of course a great source of fiber come in the form of fruits and vegetables. In addition, fruits and veggies are low in calories and mostly made up of another filling substance-water. Talk about a satiety one-two punch!

3. Drink H20.

Water’s benefits go beyond fruits and veggies and can actually help you feel full before you ever touch food. It’s actually a neat trick. Research has shown that by drinking two to three glasses of water about 30 minutes before a meal helps to substantially curb calorie intake. The water simply tricks your mind into thinking that you are full. The hydration power of water also provides weight loss benefits in other ways.

4. Practice mindful eating.

Mindful eating is exactly as it sounds. When practicing mindful eating, you train your brain to be hyper aware of every bite and sip. You slow down your chewing to fully appreciate every flavor. By doing this, you allow leptin to keep a proper pace to throw that signal to the brain that you should stop eating.

The cutoff point for eating is an understandable challenge for many of us considering the society we live in today. But by understanding how satiety works, you can overcome any seemingly daunting food situation. Remember, you have the control and the ability to make sound choices. You can still clean your plate, but make sure what was on it worked in your best interest.

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