How to control satiety
In thousands of years of evolution , our body has developed some very ingenious mechanisms to make sure that no matter how clumsy or clumsy we are, we will do whatever it takes to survive .
One of those mechanisms is the sensation of hunger , the roaring of guts , which is the way our body lets us know that it needs nutrients. Although as rational beings we know how to control hunger and sometimes even ignore it, its function is to impel us to eat.
Another one, just on the opposite side of hunger, is satiety , the sensation that tells us that we have already ingested enough nutrients at the moment and we do not need to continue eating .
Since it helps us regulate the desire to eat , or not to continue eating, satiety is key in the problems of overweight and obesity, as well as in attempts to lose a few pounds . This is all you have to know about her.
How and why we feel sated
The mechanism by which our body understands that we have already eaten enough and it is time to stop is more complex than we might think and is based on a mixture of physical and hormonal reactions.
On the one hand, one of the signals that reach the brain comes from the walls of the stomach , which expand slightly to accommodate the food we have eaten. The nerve receptors in that stomach wall collect information that the interior is filling and send it to the brain.
At the same time, certain hormonal changes occur: ghrelin begins to decrease and leptin increases. The first hormone is responsible for the feeling of hunger , so when their levels are reduced, we leave feeling less hungry and we are finishing eating; the second regulates the appetite sensation so that when increasing, the same effect occurs.
The problem that we often encounter is the speed at which we eat. Our body needs approximately 20 minutes to get the signal to the brain that it no longer has to continue eating . But many of us eat too fast, and when those 20 minutes have passed, we have already eaten more.
That is why it is always advisable to eat slowly , savoring the food (something that also contributes to feeling satiated) and giving our body enough time to let us know when it is enough.
Hunger, satiety and weight loss
The relationship between hunger, satiety and weight loss is a complicated relationship: the three things form a triangle that must be kept in balance, something difficult because some contradict others.
When trying to lose weight, reducing calorie intake is the most common strategy. This creates a caloric deficit that forces the body to consume its own reserves, which we call body fat.
The problem is that the body, before doing that, resorts to a dirty trick: to make us hungry . So try to get more energy without touching the accumulated reserves. Going hungry is not a good strategy or solution , and may end up turning against you when it comes to losing weight: it is a very powerful and unpleasant feeling and it is not easy not to fall into temptation and end up eating anything we have at hand, often very caloric or unhealthy foods.
To avoid it, you have to get the feeling of fullness , which dissipates that hunger. That means that, even if you want to lose weight and are on a diet, you should never stop eating.
What to eat to feel satiated
Since going hungry is not and should never be an option, the key is to learn to eat so that we optimize the feeling of satiety and use it in our favor: how much more nutritious are the foods that we eat and more satiated they make us feel, more Controlled will be the feeling of hunger and better avoid getting out of the patterns of a healthy and conscious diet.
Part of the satiating power of a food comes from the nutrients that make it up. Some studies have analyzed these factors and have determined that in general, the foods whose nutritional contribution is composed, in this order, of proteins, carbohydrates and fats have a greater satiating effect than those that contain mainly fats although the total of their caloric contribution is the same.
In particular, proteins are considered the nutrient with the greatest satiating power. The explanation is not clear, but there are different hypotheses, for example, that the cause is the thermogenesis produced by the work of digestion or a hormonal response produced in the intestine. Anyway, it seems that include foods rich in protein is a good way to feel more satiated.
Along with them, research on the subject points to the importance of fiber as a satiating nutrient . There are different types of fiber in food and each one acts in one way, but it is considered that its satiating effect comes from adding volume to the food, increasing its viscosity in the stomach and fermenting in the intestine, maintaining throughout the process Entertaining the digestive system and thereby delaying the recurrence of hunger.
At the other extreme are the ultra-processed foods , which are the ones that have less satiating power and therefore favor that we consume more calories than necessary because they fill us much less. According to a study that placed 98 ready-to-eat foods in three groups (little or no processed, processed and ultra-processed), the level of manipulation of a food is correlated with its impact on the glycemic index and inversely proportional to its ability to make us feel satiated.
Our experience in eating also influences
The taste, smell and texture influence how we taste the food. The texture , in particular, has been shown to have an influence also on how much it satisfies us. This is because, during our lives, we learn to predict the level of nutrients that certain types of foods have.
A slimy food, for example, as a stew, is a food normally rich in nutrients and we consume when we are hungry, unlike something liquid that does not have as many nutrients and in fact, we drink more from thirst than from hunger.
The chewing also influences. A food that we must chew is one whose organoleptic properties (taste, smell, texture) we are exposed more time and with more intensity. This also increases the general feeling of fullness , and for this reason, it is important to chew food calmly: not only does it give more time to get the feeling of fullness to the brain, but it makes it more powerful.
Even before we put the food in our mouth, chew it and swallow it, our senses already help us to evaluate the number of nutrients a food has. The amount of food and our perception of whether it is too much or too little is an example: putting the same ration in a smaller plate sates more, whereas if we do not have references (for example, we eat directly from the source or us peck) we can eat a lot more before we feel full.
The types of satiety and how to favor them to lose weight
Although we talk all the time about satiety, in the singular, in fact, there are different types of satiety that should be known to favor them and thus avoid hunger, and thereby lose weight.
It is the most intuitive and easy to understand type. It has to do with the volume of food: how much more volume, more full we feel. It is also related to chewing. Therefore, this type of satiety is favored with foods with a lot of volumes, few calories and that has to be chewed well, like raw vegetables.
In this case, it has to do with the nutrients of the food. As we said, the more protein and more fiber a food have, the more satisfying it becomes. It is advisable to choose foods that, to the same contribution of calories, are more satisfying, since they will avoid the sensation of hunger and that we end up ingesting more calories.
It is related to the customs and previous experiences eating. For example, if a person does not eat dessert, the day he eats it may feel much fuller, although the calories have not necessarily been more than the other days.
It is about eating for pleasure and not feeling full until you have eaten the desired food. Following the previous example, but the other way around, a person who gets used to eating always dessert can eat much more on a specific day but not feel satiated until he has finished his dessert.
This type of satiety is something more complex to understand and is responsible for us to continue eating even if we feel full, whenever we change to another food.
This term refers to a specific satiety for each food, related to the characteristics they have and the area of our brain that they stimulate. That is why sometimes we cannot take another bite of the dish in front of us, but we are perfectly capable of continuing to eat bread, the appetizers placed in the center of the table or the dessert that follows.