New research suggests eating more, makes us feel less full which leads to overeating.
You’ve just had a big meal. Your stomach and your head say “no more food.’’ But, when a dessert menu appears on the table you suddenly feel like you could squeeze in that small piece of chocolate cake. Or perhaps nibble on cheese and crackers. Does this sound familiar? You are not alone! We are all guilty of overeating from time to time – enjoyment of food is about more than just how it tastes and we often eat with our eyes.
Unfortunately, according to latest research, overeating could be the main cause of weight gain. Why? It reduces levels of a hormone that signals the feeling of fullness in the brain, potentially promoting more eating*.
The second brain
Our gut is referred to as our second brain as this is where many of our neurotransmitters are produced and lie. For example, 90% of our happy hormone, serotonin is produced within the gut, with only 10% being found within the brain. What we eat will affect our gut, which will have a direct impact on the brain as to how we think and feel. This study shows that overeating causes stress to the gut lining cells, reducing their output of uroguanylin (satiety or feeling full hormone) resulting in a lack of satiety registered by the brain.
Overeating = stress
Due to the addictive nature and abundance of processed food today, overeating is easy and will inevitably stress the body. Overeating means our bodies will struggle to produce sufficient digestive enzymes, bile and hydrochloric acid to breakdown and digest our food. This is likely to increase the stress response within in the cells of the gut lining, whilst potentially causing stress induced damage. Not to mention that processed food today contains plenty of sugar, trans fats, chemicals, preservatives and colourings, negatively impacting the health of our digestive tract and output of neurotransmitters.
8 top tips to stop you from overeating
Learn the art of mindful eating. Eating in front of the TV or computer can lead to mindless eating. Remember, it takes the brain 20 minutes to register that the stomach is full! Pay attention to the texture, taste, colours and flavour of each mouthful and you’ll be sure to feel more satisfied after your meal. Mindful eating also helps distinguish between emotional and physical hunger. The increased awareness of food related triggers can help us be in control and develop a healthy response to them.
Don’t make the large plate mistake. Optical illusion can make us eat more than we think. Larger plates can make a serving of food appear smaller, however smaller plates can lead us to misjudge the same quantity of food to be significantly larger.
Hydration is key. Often when we think we’re hungry we’re actually thirsty. Drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes before reaching for a snack.
Pack in the protein and never skip breakfast. Protein keeps us fuller for longer, which results in eating less throughout the day. A protein rich breakfast is absolutely vital to keep hunger at bay.
Find your grace around food. Meal times shouldn’t be a race to the finish line. Take your time to chew, put your fork down between each bite. Savour the flavours to give your brain time to register that enough is enough.
Detox your kitchen, car and desk. If you find yourself polishing off a whole packet of cookies, it may be time to eliminate them from your living space. Processed foods can be highly addictive, so why torture yourself by keeping them within arms reach?
Clear the kitchen space immediately after cooking. If food isn’t left out, you’ll be much less likely to go back for seconds.
Don’t use food to change your mood. Emotional eating never resolves the underlying issue and leads to guilt and shame. Always have a list of non-food related self-soothing activities to hand. By having a relaxing bath, taking a walk or watching your favourite programme, you can lift your mood in a natural and healthy way.
About the author: Lily Soutter is a Nutritionist and natural health expert specialising in weight loss and nutrition. Lily offers one to one nutritional consultations and tailored weight loss programmes from her clinic in Chelsea.
For more information and to learn how Lily can help your reach optimal health goals, please visit: www.lilysoutternutrition.com.
For general enquiries or to book a consultation with Lily, please email: lily@lilysoutternutrition or call +44(0)7929 392166.