PHYSIOLOGY OF EATING RIGHT
In a hectic world, the idea that people treat themselves to their best-loved food in order to improve their well-being seems to be a compelling contributor to why obesity is on the rise. A lot of us are grapple with the daily hassles of our workplace or private lives from time to time, and if eating “comfort food” provides a fast solution to reinstate one’s mood, this may contribute to eating more than one actually planned for that day.
Eating foods that contain high amounts of sugar or fat may help our body to down-regulate the stress acknowledgment after experiencing a stressful situation. This appears to be a good thing in the short run, as it allows us to cope more successfully and End the wear and tear that the stress reaction brings along in the body.
We have seen bodyweight in most human adults is fairly constant despite day-to-day variations in food intake. This is executed by an energetic process called energy homeostasis, which matches energy intake to energy expenditure over longer periods of time. This process is mediated by specialized physiological systems in the brain, in particular, the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus senses internal energy-balance signals to regulate appetite and food intake. Such signals include circulating hormones that are generated in tissues like the pancreas, fat cells, and intestines, but also nutrient-related signals like blood glucose.
Furthermore, for actual food intake, integration of information from other so-called higher brain systems like a sensor and cognitive crisscross are required. Considering these extensive control mechanisms of food intake, the steadily increasing number of overweight and obese people in our modern society seems surprising. Our body gives us some signals when we actually need food. These are Hunger and satiety sensations.
Hunger Hunger is triggered by various stimulants some of which include an empty stomach, hormones, the types of nutrients present or missing in the bloodstream, what you ate for your previous meal or whether you have been exercising. A growling stomach, ‘hunger pangs’, a gnawing feeling in the stomach, a feeling of restlessness and light-headedness are all physiological cues we might feel when we are hungry.
Hunger is controlled by certain hormones, they are leptin and ghrelin. These are two major ones that tip the balance between hunger and fullness.
Leptin is released from the body’s long term fat stores, as well as the stomach, heart, placenta, and skeletal muscle and suppresses hunger and decreases your appetite. It also causes a decrease in body temperature and thus energy expenditure is suppressed. By contrast, when fat mass increases leptin levels also shoots up and appetite is suppressed until weight loss occurs. In this way, leptin regulates energy intake and fat stores so that weight is maintained within a relatively narrow range.
Ghrelin is a hormone that is produced and released mainly by the stomach and in small amounts by the small intestine, pancreas, and brain. Ghrelin has numerous functions.It also plays a role in body weight. Ghrelin causes stomach rumblings as a physical reminder to eat. It promotes positive energy balance by decreasing glucose and fat oxidation and increasing energy storage.
Once you start eating and food enters the gastrointestinal tract, hunger will subside and satiation will start. Signals that start in the stomach travel to the brain and as these increase, they promote the feeling of fullness and prompt you to stop eating. This is where the theory behind waiting 15-20 minutes before diving into a second helping originates from, as these “fullness” signals can take a while to hit the brain and register. Once you stop eating, satiety continues to suppress hunger and appetite and stops you from wanting to eat again for a few hours. So now what is satiety?
Satiety is the Absence of Hunger
I would guess not many. This is not listening to your body and understanding your cues of when you’ve had enough food; it’s allowing your eyes and appetite to drive your choices.
Appetite is the desire or craving for food and is associated with the pleasurable aspects of food. Our appetite can be stimulated even when we are not hungry; simply seeing, smelling, reading or talking about food can get your mouth watering and your taste buds craving certain foods. Other appetite stimulants or suppressants include stress, illness, emotional cues, culture, environmental influences religion, and social situations.
Your appetite combined with hunger determines what to eat when to eat and how much. So you can see that if there is a tendency to eat in response to appetite rather than hunger, it is possible to eat in excess of what your body actually needs. Appetite researchers have shown that if you’re not paying attention to the food on your plate, you tend to eat more than you otherwise would. This has been termed mindless eating.
There is a tool that will help avoid eating mindlessly. The more in touch we are with your hunger, the less we need to count calories.
THE HUNGER SCALE
1. Starving and feeling weak – Your stomach acid is churning. You feel weak/dizzy.
2. Very Hungry – You feel irritable and unable to concentrate.
3. Pretty hungry -Your stomach is rumbling. “I’m ready to eat now.”
4. Beginning to feel hungry -You’re just beginning to feel signs of hunger.
5. Satisfied – Not full but not that hungry you’re more or less satisfied but could eat a little more.
6. Slightly Full — A little bit uncomfortable.
7. Slightly uncomfortable — Feeling Heavy and Uncomfortable.
8. Feeling stuffed – You need to loosen your clothes.
9. Very uncomfortable- You are so full you feel nauseous.
10. So full – You feel sick.
Stop eating at No. 6 slightly full. You feel satisfied. You could eat more, but if you did, you’d lose that lovely feeling of lightness and likely end up bloated, your pants too tight.
That’s because it takes about 20 minutes after you’ve eaten for your brain’s satiety signals to kick in. If you get up from the table when you’re close to full, 20 minutes later you will feel full, but not overly so.
If you stop eating slightly uncomfortable you’re going to feel really full 20 minutes later and we all know that feeling. In just minutes, we’ve gone from I am feeling fine too I feel so big I need to loosen my belt.
Don’t Starve, And Don’t Stuff
Staying in The Hunger Scale range of No. 3 to No. 6. The result is not only a thinner body, but it’s also a happier one. When we are in tune with their hunger and satiety signal we feel better, lighter, and we often have a lot more energy throughout the day. Here are a few more tips for correct eating behavior:
Put Down Your Fork
Take breaks between your bites. This will allow you to enjoy the food you are eating.
A meal should be at least 20 minutes long. This is because it takes that long for your stomach and hormones to tell your brain that you’re full. If you eat quickly, then your body won’t have time to tell yourself that you’re full, and will increase the chance of overeating.
Avoid Getting Seconds
As restaurants serve much larger portions than our body needs.
Be vigilant Regarding External Normative Cues
Generally speaking, people have the tendency to finish the food on their plates. It is perhaps not surprising then, given our huge portion sizes. Nowadays we bring our home big Pepsi, a big chocolate bar, a big carton of yogurt and then if we have brought them, we have to finish it within a week or so. The normative cues to finish your plate can lead to eating more without realizing, and without even feeling more sated afterward. This shows how satiety is not necessarily defined by how much we eat and how full our stomachs are, but rather by consumption norms and expectations.
Social facilitation is another type of external cue that can influence our eating behaviors. Many research studies have found that when instructed to either eat alone, with other people or eat as they normally would with the choice of either.