How to control Hunger Successfully

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ALL OF US get hungry in succession and the wheel of hunger and satiety goes on as we need fuel for the body to keep it on the rails of normalcy. Whenever hunger -the urge to eatstrikes we feel hungry, courtesy, a complex group of signals throughout the brain and body that trigger such reaction. The drive to eat comes not only from the body’s need for immediate fuel/energy, but also a variety of environmental reasons as we feel pleasure in eating. Sugar addiction also plays a big role.

What is hunger?

First of all, it’s important to understand exactly what hunger is — what’s going on inside our brain vis-à-vis body that makes us say, I feel hungry.

As per the traditional concept of hunger: when you haven’t eaten in several hours, your stomach is starting to growl or grumble and you’re feeling those usual bodily sensations associated with hunger. This feeling of hunger stems from your body’s need for calories; the need for energy prompts the signal that it’s time to eat. Experts name it as “homeostatic hunger”.

People do eat even when they don’t need to. And the more often people eat highly palatable foods, the more their brains learn to crave for them. We do so to have much more pleasure, Pleasure and PLEASURE. The sad part is people do not know what they are doing is diabolical to their longevity

Homeostatic hunger is driven by a complex series of signals throughout the body and brain that tell us we need food for fuel.

Hormones in the body signal when energy stores are running low. When this occurs, levels of Ghrelin (colloquially referred to as the “hunger hormone”) start to rise, but then become suppressed as soon as a person starts eating. In addition, as food travels through the body, a series of satiety responses (which signal fullness) are fired off, starting in the mouth and continuing down through the stomach and the small intestine. These signals tell the brain, we’re getting food down here.

And up in the brain, another series of signals are also at work. These are the sets of opposing signals: the hunger-stimulating (“orexigenic”) peptides, and the hunger-suppressing (“anorexigenic”) peptides. These peptides are hormones that are responsible for telling the brain that a person needs to eat or that a person feels full.

People don’t just eat for energy, they eat for pleasure, but ultraprocessed foods drive the brain to want more of them, essentially overpowering the normal fullness signals firing in the brain.As a result the body of a man becomes apple -shaped and of a woman pearshaped.

What filling foods should you choose?

Hunger is your body’s natural cue that it needs more food.Normally, the best way to get rid of homeostatic hunger is to eat. And your best bet to maintain that full feeling for a healthy amount of time is to eat nutritious foods that fill you up for a longer period.A diet that contains fibre, unsaturated fat and lean protein is very fulfilling. And protein is the most fulfilling of the macronutrients. Eating larger amounts of protein does increase feelings of fullness compared to eating smaller amounts of protein. But it’s also important to be careful about certain foods. Zerocalorie sweeteners,for example, can confuse fullness signals and trick your brain into thinking you haven’t eaten much when you actually have, thus leading you to eat more.There is much debate among health experts about the effects of these sweeteners in the body.Zero-calorie sweeteners may impact feelings of hunger and fullness.

Ultra -Processed foods:

These foods are loaded with saturated fat and glucose/sugar.Ultraprocessed foods are those that, in addition to sugar, salt, oils and fats, include additives like emulsifiers, flavours and colors e.g. potato chips or frozen pizza. It’s probably best to say no to these foods most of the time. Though occasional bite may be harmless.

When you’re hungry, your stomach may “growl” and feel empty, or you may get a headache, feel peeved at or be unable to concentrate.”

If a person only eatbecause the body need energy/calories, food would be beneficial. But that’s not the case.People “don’t eat necessarily because of the signals that govern our energy stores. Rather, sometimes, you just want food for pleasure.

The best practice for fighting hedonic hunger is to keep those highly palatable (pleasant to taste.) and tempting foods out of sight. Keep treats in portion-controlled servings also may help. For example, instead of buying ice cream in bulk and in the freezer, buy chocolate ice cream pops and eat just one, as a dessert.

Food Cravings v/s Hedonic hunger

Prof. Surinder
Kochhar (Shaun)

LPN, FCN, M.Com, CAIIB, DIM
(A freelance writer with
36 Years Exp.)

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