Tuesday Tip: Always hungry? 🍖
Appetite is complicated! It’s controlled by the hypothalamus, in the brain, which processes neural, metabolic and endocrine signals that indicate whether we need to eat more or less to maintain our energy balance. Physical activity, dietary composition and eating behaviours all affect these signals and are important factors we can use to regulate appetite.
Short term appetite regulation relates to hormone levels – orexigenic (appetite stimulating) and anorectic (appetite inhibiting) hormones from the gut influence satiation (i.e. the signal to stop eating) and post meal suppression or generation of hunger (satiety). There are also long-term
impacts on appetite regulation. Both leptin (related to bodyfat levels) and insulin act directly to reduce appetite and energy intake. However, increased bodyfat is linked to disruption of the action of leptin and insulin on appetite making over eating easier.
Non-homeostatic mechanisms that control appetite include food hedonics (desires), activity and behaviour. The availability of highly palatable energy-dense foods impacts the control of food intake. The signals we get when eating these foods can override our hormone-related satiety signals leading to over-consumption. Alcohol consumption and social pressure can alter decision making and an increased desire for energy dense foods. Physical activity helps enhance appetite control and improves insulin and leptin sensitivity, metabolism, and body composition, which help appetite regulation.
So whilst some things are out of your control, what can you do to help manage appetite?
⁃ Get active – exercise (even if only walking).
⁃ Aim for structure to eating, and having a more regular meal schedule
⁃ Be present when eating! Avoid technology and chew your food very well. Take your time.
⁃ Protein helps to keep you full so can help – especially with snacks.
⁃ Don’t restrict carbs
⁃ Limit alcohol consumption
⁃ Increase fibre content (lots of veggies – broccoli, peppers, mushrooms etc. This will also increase food volume.
⁃ If you like them include foods that rank high on the satiety index such as poultry, meats, eggs, potatoes, fruits and legumes.
⁃ Whilst there’s nothing wrong with including high sugar/fat ‘junk’ food in your diet as they’re not inherently bad, they are easy to overeat so be mindful.
⁃ Be careful not to over restrict cals in the week as this can lead to overeating at the weekend.
Remember , if trying to lose weight, a little hunger is good (and needed at times) but you don’t want to be starving!
Happy Tuesday 🤗