The Basics: What you need to know to understand and combat ghrelin and lose weight.
Ghrelin is a hormone. It sends signals to your brain telling you it is time to eat. Once your stomach and intestines have processed the last meal you ate, it is time to fill up again.
Leptin is a hormone. It sends signals to your brain telling you that you are full and to stop eating.
Eat slowly and pay attention to what you are eating to reduce your ghrelin levels. A pre-meal is a good idea to reduce the overall effect of ghrelin on your appetite.
Fructose stops leptin from signaling your brain to stop eating. Unsaturated fats boost your leptin levels so that you will feel fuller faster. Saturated fats do not boost your leptin levels.
The Details: What you need to know if you really want to understand more about what makes you hungry and what you can do about it.
Ghrelin is a hormone, secreted in your belly and intestines. When your stomach is empty ghrelin makes you want to eat. And if you ignore the signals, which typically come every half hour or so, then your belly sends out more ghrelin. “And not just a little bit more,” says Dr. Oz. “A ton more until you’re absolutely famished and have to eat whatever you see.” This is why deprivation dieting or starvation dieting doesn’t work. Fasting, with the right mindset going in – a designated period of time – or type(s) of foods – makes more sense than depriving yourself of food. Ghrelin is an extremely powerful hormone. It is very difficult to ignore, but you can fool it.
Eat something small and light a half hour or so before you sit down to eat your main meal. This might include nuts, fruit, or even a glass of water with some soluble fiber. I prefer to take two or three tablets of glucomannan if I know I will be eating a lot of pasta when I go out to eat. When you have no food in your stomach or intestines, your ghrelin levels will rise. A pre-meal shuts down the level of ghrelin intensity since you have some food in the digestion process. Smartly planned, your main meal should be less than you would normally eat.
Your ghrelin levels dissipate when food is being processed in your body. Eating slowly extends your digestion time. Put your fork down after each bite. Taste you food – feel the texture of your food. Chew it completely. Horace Fletcher and Dr. Hendrik Smit popularized the practice of chewing each bite of food at least 33-35 times before swallowing. When food is being processed slowly in your stomach and intestines, it limits the amount of ghrelin that can be made. You are winning the battle against ghrelin.
Leptin, which is a hormone that’s secreted by our bodies’ own fat. As your body is digesting food, the fat being consumed slowly turns on the production of leptin. Leptin controls how full you feel as you eat. There is a satiety level that all of us have – a temporary feeling of fullness about one-third to one-half way through a typical meal. If we stopped, we would be full and sated. However, we justify our action to continue eating by telling ourselves that it is just a little bit more; or, I don’t want to send that much food back to the kitchen; or, I paid for this meal and I’m not going to leave any. We rationalize eating more when we should stop eating. We have developed habits over our lives and this is a hard one to break.
Fructose, found in high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is harmful in many ways. It blocks leptin from telling your brain that you are full, so you keep eating. Avoid foods rich in high-fructose corn syrup. Unsaturated fats are healthy for you. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help to boost your leptin levels – you feel fuller faster. Saturated fats do not boost your leptin levels.
Ghrelin and leptin oppose each other – one wants you to eat and the other wants you to stop eating. Ghrelin is much more powerful than leptin. Ghrelin also permeates the pleasure center of your brain – the same center that is stimulated by opiates. This is why it is so difficult to have just ‘one’ cookie; or, one of anything. If that first one tasted so good, the next one will taste even better. Knowing ahead of time that your brain will try to get you to have seconds is to be well-armed in fighting the battle of extra calories.
Red O’Laughlin aka The Prosperity Professor
Thanks for this post Red. It’s so good to know what is causing my hunger pangs. You have given me some practical advice that I truly can follow.
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