What Makes Us Hungry and What Makes Us Full?

What Makes Us Hungry

Frequently at Liquid Diet Weight Loss Blog, we delve into the details on diet and weight loss concepts. This is very helpful, particularly if you are trying to lose weight. Bear with us, it may seem more complicated than it really is.

There are several ways to tackle hunger. Each of these “ways” is really food attributes. Particular qualities and attributes of the foods we eat determine how full we become. Before I list those, let’s look at what makes us hungry and full, chemically and biologically.

The feeling of hunger is our body talking to itself. Our brain and stomach are regularly exchanging information, it is meant to be purely functional, so we don’t hear it. Our stomach will release specific chemicals when certain events are triggered which is its way of talking to the brain and the brain will do….lots of things. In fact, the brain is always doing things, and things with those things, and things with the things it did with those things. This continuum makes it hard to really understand the brain’s role. Thankfully, the functions of the stomach, relatively simple and isolated are enough to get the gist.

What Makes Us Hungry?

There are a ton of factors which contribute to hunger such as seeing food and thinking about it, experiencing entertainment and boredom, but the unconscious aspects of hunger are the most significant. Signals sent from cells lacking certain nutrients, individual neural predispositions, and many other internal factors are at the heart of our feelings of hunger and fullness alike.

Calories equate to energy, though with the rather unique way our bodies work, they aren’t as important in terms of hunger and fullness.  It’s like if you were to put some kind of super gas into your car.  Three gallons of this gas will give you twice as many miles as regular fuel.  Your gas meter will go down slower, though it will still read three gallons.  Your gas meter is the only measure of gas in the car, so if the car had to guess, it would think it has three gallons of energy.  The same is true of how our bodies work.  Consider our stomachs the gas tank.

Ghrelin is a hormone which plays possibly the biggest role in our feelings of hunger. It is produced when the stomach is empty and circulates in the bloodstream, crossing into the brain where it does a number of things.

Ghrelin stimulates the parts of the brain which contain Neuropeptide Y.  This is no small player in satiation…Neuropeptide Y is capable of producing bouts of ravenous hunger all by itself.  It is released in small amounts when the responsible part of the brain (the arcuate nucleus) is activated. This neural machine is also activated by many other things and in many ways but having an empty stomach is the main cue.

Of course, what makes us hungry as a chemical response alone wouldn’t really be anything without everyone’s favorite function of their brain.  “Completion” of this cycle (eating when hungry) triggers our brain’s pleasure reward link (the mesolimbic cholinergic-dopaminergic reward link.)  So, aside from not dying, eating feels good.  There is a mind-bogglingly confusing science behind this, but who cares.

The long and short of what makes us hungry is that it is unavoidable, though controllable.  Developing self-control and habits can directly affect this cycle. Also, appetite suppressants can significantly and directly slow this process.

What makes us feel full after eating certain amounts is not as much the lack of ghrelin production but another process altogether.

What Makes Us Full?

What makes us full is also driven by a chemical response. What makes us full is equally complex to what makes us hungry There is a key hormone which plays a major role: Leptin

Leptin is produced by the body in proportion to the amount of adipose tissue. The amount of Leptin is typically consistent with blood lipid levels. While this main determining factor for the amount of leptin in the body and the bodies leptin resistance is consistent, there are a number of other factors which can make our leptin/fullness response somewhat variable.

Factors that lower leptin levels (making it harder to feel full) are generally common.  These factors include being a male, hormone imbalance, emotional or physical stress and many others. All of which have certain other undesirable characteristics and typically are avoided for more than just this reason. There is a lot of information out there for a further understanding of how to maintain high leptin levels.  It is time for the foods that make you full.

What Qualities of Food Make Us Full?

Food that contains a lot of fiber and more protein than the combination of fat and carbs generally will make us feel full.  As far as the amounts of carbs and fat, balancing these activities with changing cravings is optimal.  This is a very general guideline, it is not written in stone…there are a lot of tips and hints all over liquid-dietweightloss.com to help you figure out what the best food and drinks to make you feel full.  For the sake of killing birds with stones, here is a short list of some of these foods:

High fiber foods

  • wholegrain products instead of processed grain products
  • fruits like peaches, apricots, plums or prunes, kiwi (eat the skin), berries (especially blackberries) and oranges
  • vegetables like turnips (6 grams per cup), okra, sweet potatoes, zucchini, squash, and spinach
  • BEANS! Field beans (almost 20g per cup) The other high fiber beans are broad beans, lentils, black beans, pinto beans, and chickpeas.
  • psyllium husk, wheat, resin and barley bran cereals.  Psyllium Husk is 70% fiber and the main ingredient in many fiber supplements.

There you have it!  Using this list and the useful, though long-winded information above, you can make sure you’re always full without expanding.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.