Eat less and you’ll lose weight. At least that’s what everyone tells you but it’s not so easy, especially if you’re eating the wrong food. The ability to stop eating when we are full is assumed to be programmed into our body’s feedback mechanisms. When we get full our stomach signals our brain to stop eating. But it may not be that simple. Many of us are able to override that signal (dare I say ice cream, cookies, Doritos). It may be that the pleasure we get from eating allows us to ignore the fullness shouts from our stomach. Research suggests that no matter how full we are, the body is hard-wired to reward itself by overeating tempting, highly palatable foods which makes a lot of sense given how hard it is to stop eating potato chips or french fries.
Two gut compounds are credited with causing us to overindulge in goodies, ghrelin and 2-AG. Ghrelin is a gut hormone that regulates the drive to eat and the capacity to experience eating pleasure. 2-AG is also involved with appetite and pleasure. These chemicals have the ability to override fullness when we want a particular food. Remember, our innate ability to overeat dates back to Paleolithic times when storing up for a rainy day was essential for survival.
What do we do with tempting foods available 24/7? Remember pleasure overrides fullness and being full and being satisfied are two different things. One approach is to focus on whole foods from natural sources rather than highly processed foods. We are less likely to overeat vegetables, beans, seafood and whole grains. Making whole, fresh foods the centerpiece of your eating pattern will not only provide fullness, but also satisfaction.