Controlling Hunger and Desiring Food
Controlling hunger can be a real issue...especially when the feeling of desiring food and feeding that hunger is wired into our brains. It's there for survival. Being reminded to eat is a natural and normal process. Imagine what would happen if we forgot to eat!
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Some people ignore the feelings of hunger because they are trying to control their weight and they figure that if they eat less then they will achieve their goal.
This by the way is quite often a false assumption. Your body doesn't want you to starve. You could try one of those fad diets and reduce important nutrients such as carbohydrates down to zero and still not get to your goal weight or fat loss target...or more importantly...stay there!
Still, others eat continually...sometimes regardless of whether they are truly hungry or not...and sometimes because they have uncontrollable food cravings such as carbohydrate addiction...they accept 'middle age spread'...and increasingly...'young age spread' as a natural and normal phenomenon.
We eat to take in energy....so that we can carry on doing the activity we are doing right now - with some energy put into storage in the form of fat in case we need to call on it later...between meals.
Also, and very importantly, we eat so that we can take in vital components of nutrition so that our body can heal, defend, repair and regenerate itself...all vitally important if keeping healthy
is your goal.
Answering the call of hunger is important…don't ignore it…even if you are concerned about your weight. Just make sure that you feed your body what it really needs...in other words, don't reach for food items without thinking about what they are and the effect that they might have on your health. Healthy foods are usually excellent at controlling hunger too...which is a nice bonus.
...and by the way...eating is supposed to be a fun and enjoyable experience...not some kind of torture. So if you're thinking "how can I ever control my weight and my appetite and still enjoy the eating experience" ...eating the low glycemic way by using the glycemic index will likely be a perfect fit for you.*
What factors are involved in controlling your appetite?
Controlling Hunger and Blood Sugar Level
When your blood sugar falls to a certain level...after the energy from your last meal has been either 'burned up' or stored in your fat cells, you begin to feel hungry. Your body is signaling to you that you need more fuel.
This signaling process is hormonal in nature...controlled by your body's endocrine system.
Controlling that gnawing feeling that you get with a drop in blood sugar level by consuming high glycemic carbohydrate based foods, sugar laden snacks and drinks is not the answer.
What is required, is regularly eating nutritious and tasty foods that release their carbohydrate (sugar) content slowly so that you don't get large fluctuations in your blood sugar level.
This is the basis of the Low Glycemic Index Diet principle.
Simply, what your body needs is a constant and readily accessible source of carbohydrate with which it can fuel all your body's cells energy requirements.
To deliver carbohydrate to your body in short sharp hits is unhealthy and damaging as it spikes your insulin level and can lead to
insulin resistance... a condition where your body's cells ignore a request from insulin to let sugar into the cell for fuel.
Controlling Hunger and Carbohydrate Addiction
Your body's response to the regular ingestion of high carbohydrate foods...even healthy ones such as grains and lentils could be contributing to your weight gain and feelings of being frequently hungry. Low GI carbohydrates are far better for most people than their high GI counterparts because of their slow release of carbohydrate into your blood stream.
If you happen to be carbohydrate addicted, an over emphasis of carbohydrate at each meal and snack time compared to the protein and good fat content is not healthy for you.
Re balancing your carbohydrate addiction can control your appetite, your weight and make a huge contribution towards a healthy heart for life!
Controlling Hunger with Important Nutrients
Did you know that when your body is running low on important nutrients, you will begin to crave certain food types that contain those nutrients?
Given that most people find it very difficult to eat a balanced and nutritious diet, it makes sense to recommend that a high quality, natural ingredient vitamin and mineral supplement be added to your daily meal routine. Make sure that the product you choose contains a complete vitamin B complex and chromium which will assist with stabilizing blood sugar. If you can find a product that also contains vanadium, all the better. Vanadium can assist with your pancreatic function as recommended by Dr Steve Nugent** in his book the Genetic Key Diet.
Also worth addressing is the normal healthy function of your endocrine system. As with any other body system, problems can arise and affect healthy function.
Phytohormones are known to assist in the healthy function of your endocrine system
An inadequate or poorly balanced diet could benefit from phytohormone supplementation.
Controlling Hunger and Carbohydrates
What are Phytohormones?Phytohormones are natural and normal components of plant based foods that you are already eating...they aren't human hormones or something unnatural or synthetic....so don't get concerned with that name. Phytohormones assist with the normal function of your endocrine system by providing the raw materials your body needs to make its own hormones.
You may be surprised to know that Carbohydrates are actually natural appetite suppressants...in the non carbohydrate addicted individual that is. Now, the actual length of time that you remain free of those pangs of hunger will depend on how quickly a particular carbohydrate is absorbed into your blood stream. Carbohydrate from whole foods - foods in their natural state or close to it will take longer for your body to absorb and therefore satisfy you for longer.
Controlling Hunger and the Glycemic Index
Low GI (glycemic index) foods have been scientifically shown to keep test subjects satisfied for longer than high GI foods. Low GI foods also help to keep your body's insulin levels from abnormal fluctuations - this point is hugely important for your heart health.
Insulin is also integrally involved in the process of fat storage in your body's cells. If you are concerned about your weight control and fat loss it is very important to keep this hormone - Insulin - happy and under control.
Low GI foods also tend to have a higher fiber content than High GI foods. This increased amount of fiber gently gives you a sustained feeling of fullness for longer - decreasing your desire to eat high calorie (kilojoule) snack foods regularly throughout the day.
Controlling Hunger and Eating Slowly
Your stomach possesses receptors that react to 'bulk' that 'presses' against them. When this occurs, as it does when your stomach fills with food, a signal is sent to the brain that tells you that you are feeling full or satisfied. Similarly, some foods remain longer in the small intestine. This triggers receptors which signal the brain that there is still food in your gut that is yet to be digested.
If you eat your food fast, because you are stressed or you are busy, the feeling of fullness or satiety can go unnoticed until you've eaten more than you really need to. Slow down and enjoy your food!
Controlling Hunger and Cholecystikinin
Cholecystikinin or CCK is a hormone that gets released when fat is present in the duodenum (the next place your digesting food moves to just below the stomach) assisting with the digestive process by signaling the gall bladder to contract and add bile to the digestive mix. CCK is also produced in the brain in an area associated with the appetite. The action of CCK either in the duodenum, brain or jointly is to reduce the appetite and the amount of food you feel like eating.
Controlling Hunger Stress and Depression
If you often feel stressed and suffer from bouts of depression then this can affect your hormonal chemistry significantly.Stress and health are undeniably linked. Sound nutritional principles...and supplements - to fill in the gaps that are almost certainly present in your nutritional intake can go a long way to normalizing hormonal imbalances.The way that you 'feel'...psychologically can cause you to crave certain foods...foods like ice cream and chocolate for example.
Controlling Hunger and Sleep
If you deprive yourself of your optimal sleep requirements then you will get over tired. When you are feeling over tired, you will tend to seek out foods that will give you a short sharp energy boost...these are usually High Glycemic foods which cause a sharp rise...and fall in your blood sugar level along with your blood Insulin levels. You will then likely reach for more 'quick fix' foods to give you another energy boost...locking your self into this cycle of high and low. This doesn't solve your sleep deprivation problem but it does exacerbate weight gain and fat gain...
Don't deprive yourself of relaxation and proper sleep...it really is blissful!
*In some individuals, even consuming low glycemic carbohydrates may not be sufficient to control food urges caused by insulin spiking and fluctuation in blood sugar levels. In this case, it is strongly recommended that a programme to balance low GI carbohydrate intake more effectively with protein and good fats throughout the day be undertaken.
**Special acknowledgement to Dr Steve Nugent and his book The Genetic Key Diet for certain theme and content ideas presented on this page.
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