Are you thinking about trying to lose a few pounds, but aren’t sure where to start? Here’s one easy rule of thumb that will guarantee weight loss, without starvation: Don’t eat junk food!
Of course we all know that junk food is high in calories, low in nutrients, and is packed with lots of offensive chemicals and preservatives. But the little secret that no one mentions, and is quite possibly the worst part about it, is the fact that it upregulates hunger signals, and blocks satiety (fullness) signals, effectively making a you eat even more!
How does this happen? When the body is functioning as nature intends, the process of eating eventually triggers a feedback system. The digestive tract releases signals to the brain that enough food has been consumed, and satiety signals say “I’m full and satisfied” and make you to stop eating. But with high fat and high sugar junk food, (or “palatable food” as it is referred to in this study1) the feedback system is out of balance, and the “stop eating” switch isn’t triggered. This explains why eating junk food can actually leave you feeling even more hungry, leading to a sense of frustration that you can’t control your appetite. But it’s really the fault of the food.
The best way to bring back the satiety signal is by eating a whole-foods based diet. Real food is very effective in letting the brain know you’ve eaten enough. And feeling full and satisfied after a healthy meal empowers you to realize that you can control your appetite, and that weight loss is actually an obtainable and healthy long-term goal. If you aren’t used to cooking with real food, take a cooking class, buy a good recipe book, or go online to learn the ropes. When you learn how to cook healthy and delicious meals, you’ll never want to go back to the junk!
Reference: 1) Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2005 Aug;97(2):61-73