FOOD, MIND, NUTRITION 11th July 2016

Five reasons why you’re always hungry

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Do you think about food a lot? As in, you just finished lunch but you’re already thinking about the fro-yo machine for a 3 o clock fix? How about when you go to bed but just can’t turn the lights out unless you’ve made a dent in the peanut butter jar? Good, I’m not the only one. If you’re eating three to five times a day and a good amount, why are you always so hungry? Allow me…

IT’S BIOLOGY

In a previous post I waxed lyrical about sugar and how it affects the metabolism, so I won’t dwell too much here, except to say when you eat foods high in sugar such as Refined Carbs you immediately elevate your blood sugar levels only for them to crash soon after. This crash i.e. low blood sugar level, triggers your hunger hormones. Refined (bad) carbs include:

  • Sugary cereals
  • Pizza or a sandwich on white bread
  • Chips 
  • White rice or pasta
  • Chocolate chip cookies and every other bakery dessert you can think of

Ice cream – we all love it, but know that it will just cause more hunger

Do this instead:

Eat foods high in nutrients, they take longer to absorb into the blood stream therefore keep you full for longer. Good choices include Complex Carbs such as brown rice, quinoa and whole grain sprouted breads, Cruciferous vegetables and Fruits.

Another good habit is to eat snacks high in protein and fat; they keep you satiated for longer. Examples:

  • A tablespoon of nut butter or a handful of nuts (pending no allergies of course!)
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Dried fruits
  • Avocado
  • A hard boiled egg

YOU EAT AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT WHICH CONFUSES YOUR BRAIN

speed

Hunger hormones take anywhere between twenty to thirty minutes to reach your brain, so chowing down your entire meal in five minutes just means you’ll eat more than your fill which is why it’s best to eat slowly. Yet another reason why fast food makes you fat.

Do this instead:

At the start of lunch or dinner, divide the food so you visually see half on each side of the plate. Eat half, then wait ten minutes to finish the rest. Read something on the internet if you sit at your desk, chat and sip water if you’re with company, or scroll through your IG feed if that’s what it takes. Essentially, giving your stomach a chance to digest and decide whether you’ve had enough is the best way to train your hunger, no matter what the plate says. If you decide you are in fact full, save the rest for later.

YOU SKIP MEALS

If you think skipping lunch grants you a hall pass for a massive dinner, think again. Skipping meals is proven to make you feel hungrier when the next meal rolls around.  When you don’t eat, your body uses up its existing blood glucose stores, leaving you with low blood sugar levels that set off your hunger hormones.

Do this instead:

At the risk of stating the obvious, don’t skip meals. Eat every three to four hours, keeping snacks on hand at all times. This move alone will avoid over indulgence at the dinner table.

YOU DRINK DIET SODA

Folks, we should know by now drinking anything labelled ‘diet’ is not only a fallacy but a sure fire way to gain weight. Sadly, just yesterday I was reminded that not everyone received the memo.  I was talking to a very nice couple in their sixties, who told me that the number one staple in their diet is ‘diet soda’. I felt awkward but compelled to say something. It went something like this: artificially sweetened products and sugar alternatives such as aspartame and sucralose actually ramp up your appetite even more than real sugar, causing increased calorie consumption over time. Aspartame is a natural sweetener commonly found in “diet” foods and which some claim is linked to Cancer, Weight gain, Seizures, Depression and a multitude of other illnesses. Sucralose; commonly known as Splenda, has been linked to a reduction of good bacteria in the gut, a release of toxic compounds and altering the body’s insulin response.

Drinks sweetened with artificial sweeteners are unable to keep you satiated, i.e. bring on the hunger!

NO-DIET-SODA-300x200

Do this instead:

Drink water. I can’t stress it enough. Water is life. It provides energy to every cell in your body and curbs the build-up of toxins that lead to all kinds of illness.

YOU EAT WHILE WATCHING TV OR LISTENING TO MUSIC

Noise, it turns out has a detrimental effect on our eating habits. When you cannot hear the food you are eating you consume more of it, according to a study published in the journal Food Quality and Preference. Researchers gave two groups of participants crunchy foods to eat. One group was then provided with headphones that mimicked background noises. Results: the headphone wearing eaters ate more than those without.

eating-while-watching

Do this instead:

Eat in silence, turn off the TV, Youtube, iTunes.. whatever your poison. If you are dining out and it’s noisy, consider crunchier options (though I suspect this is less practical, but I threw it in anyway). The goal is to be mindful of what you eat which cannot happen if you are distracted by sights and sounds unrelated to your meal. Being conscious of your food means you are more likely to know when you are full and can therefore avoid the need to over eat.

How many did you score?

As always, Pushing for Health xx