Volume 6, Issue 39 October 3, 2013
How to improve your appetite
control naturally
If you're trying to lose weight, one good way is to improve your appetite control. Your appetite control is what causes you to not want to eat any more. Once you reach that point, you know you've had enough and you want to stop eating. The problem is that many people eat more than they need because they don't have an effective appetite control. Of course watching your calories is another way of knowing when you've had enough. But wouldn't it be better to have an appetite control that's so effective, it happens naturally? Well, you can. A new study shows a very simple way to improve your appetite control.

To do the study, the researchers enlisted 25 men between the ages of 31-37. The men were just slightly overweight. They gave some of them a meal in which 14% of all the calories were from protein. This was the normal protein meal. Some men had a meal in which 25% of the calories were from protein. This was the medium-high protein meal. And the rest had a very high protein meal. Half of all their calories were from protein. All of the meals contained the same amount of fat and the same amount of calories. The only other part of the meal that varied was the carbohydrate content. The lower the protein levels were, the higher the carbohydrate was, and vice versa. And here's where it starts to get interesting.

After the men ate the meals, the authors of the study measured the amounts of two powerful hormones that control appetite. One is called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1). The action of GLP-1 is to suppress the appetite. It tells us when we don't want to eat any more. And here's the thing. The GLP-1 levels were 10% higher after the medium-high protein meal and 20% higher after the high protein meal.

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The other hormone they measured was ghrelin. Ghrelin has the opposite effect of GLP-1. It stimulates appetite. So what happened to the ghrelin levels? They decreased with the higher protein meal. The net effect from both of these changes was that the feeling of satiety and fullness increased 6-7% in the men when they ate the medium protein meal and 16-19% when they ate the high protein meal. The data was clear. The higher the level of protein and the lower the level of carbohydrate in a meal, the greater your appetite control will be.

One of the first things I tell all of my patients who struggle with appetite control is to start the day with a very high protein meal. That would be like a three-egg omelet with some cheese, meat, and veggies. It could also be a 20-ounce yogurt smoothie with protein powder and some berries. Almost inevitably they always tell me that their desire to eat will be decreased for the rest of the day. Now we know why. If you want to lose weight, eat more protein, especially first thing in the morning.

Finding your Real Cures,

Belza A, Ritz C, Sørensen MQ, et al. Contribution of gastroenteropancreatic appetite hormones to protein-induced satiety. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 May;97(5):980-9.

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