Do you have eyes bigger than your stomach? This problem of food intake exceeding your body's real needs is common. The cause ? You have difficulty identifying, understanding and recognizing your body's feeling of hunger and feeling of fullness and you succumb far too easily to the sin of gluttony . And indeed, eating enough, without consuming too much or depriving yourself, is not an easy thing. Even more so if you eat quickly, without waiting to receive messages telling you to stop. It's your body, and more precisely your brain, that pulls the strings of a complex machine that regulates your hunger and satiety. And everything hangs by a thread... It is therefore essential for you to read this article to regain control and learn to listen to your body. And for this, nothing better than understanding what is happening in your body before and after meals.
1. Why do we eat?
Your eating behavior is a complex process that depends on many factors, whether individual or collective. Above all, eating meets a physiological need.
Energy and nutritional requirements
Eating behavior is triggered by the primary physiological need to eat a food to have the energy necessary for the proper functioning of the body and to ensure homeostasis , i.e. caloric balance. This balance implies food intake equivalent to energy expenditure . The primary function of food is therefore energy and nutritional .
But food is much more than just a nutrient. It also has a hedonic role. Your eating behavior will be motivated by the search for food pleasure in the mouth: palatability (pleasant texture in the mouth), smell , taste and appearance of certain foods. This attitude is more commonly called gluttony . By eating foods that you consider good, you activate the pleasure systems in your brain: dopaminergic, mesolimbic and opioidergic. In particular, your central nervous system releases dopamine, the pleasure hormone, as a “reward”. This experience pushes you to repeat the act of eating to once again receive this very pleasant “reward”. Sensory perception (visual, olfactory, etc.) and taste expectations are an integral part of your food intake. For example, you tasted a food that gave you pleasure, the simple sight or smell of it will whet your appetite and you will look forward to it, just to experience that sensation again.
Hedonic motivation is the #1 enemy of your weight. Have you probably already had a second helping of a dish or dessert when you were no longer hungry? Out of simple greed? This behavior disrupts the entire system regulating hunger and satiety. By eating more than you should, your stomach enlarges, which delays the secretion of satiety signals and therefore you will tend to increase your food intake in the following days. A real vicious circle!
It is possible to take back the power of your food decision thanks to cognitive control: "I'm on a diet, goodbye sugary desserts, hello fruit." Only sometimes, your will can be overwhelmed by emotional and/or external factors (stress, vision of food, food craving) which override biological needs. In extreme cases, this can lead to bulimic behaviors, where physiological calorie regulation is overwhelmed by this desire to eat.
Symbolic or genetic function
You obviously have your eating habits . Can't do without cereal for breakfast? This habit will trigger your eating behavior.
Family's dinner ? You will have no other choice than to align yourself with the feast times and eat at the scheduled times ( social pressure ), without listening to your body's signals.
Also, your culture or religion may imply different meal times than those dictated by your body.
Finally, genetics can play a role in hormones and impact the entire hunger mechanism.
2. Your brain and your neurons in power
BREAKING NEWS: Hunger is not just in the stomach.
There is a control center that receives all the signals: your brain ! More precisely it is your hypothalamus , a small region located in the heart of the brain which is responsible for regulating your appetite through various mechanisms.
This control center is divided into 2 subcategories of neurons: the hunger center ( orexigenic , which increases appetite) and the satiety center ( anorexigenic , which decreases appetite).
These orexigenic and anorexigenic neurons will pick up peripheral signals which will inform your brain of the state of your “stocks” and your energy needs. He will then do everything possible to ensure that your eating behavior leads to a regulation of the situation: either you eat if you lack energy or, on the contrary, you stop eating if your energy reserves are sufficient.
Among these signals we find sensory, digestive and hormonal signals.
It all starts before you even eat. At the sight of a food , its color , its taste , its appearance or its texture , you already salivate, imagining the sensation in the mouth and you prepare yourself for food intake. It is through your previous food experiences that you associate a flavor with a hedonic perception, whether pleasure or aversion . This is called anticipatory adaptation .
Sweet and fatty foods are highly palatable due to their creamy, smooth or crunchy texture. In addition, lipids reinforce the sensation of aromas. The brain remembers past hedonic experiences and the pleasure provided by its high energy density foods and gives rise to the desire to eat, which will trigger eating behavior, or even overconsumption .
Digestive and bodily signals
When the stomach and intestine are empty ( gastric distension ), this triggers the hormonal system of hunger (see hormonal signals - Ghrelin). Conversely, gastric fullness (full stomach) triggers the hormonal system of satiety.
Adiposity (excess fat) is also a key signal in the long-term regulation of appetite. The concentration of fats in the plasma is proportional to that in the brain . If an imbalance is created, and your body no longer has enough lipid reserves or, on the contrary, has too much, regulation of food intake is triggered hormonally (see hormonal signals - Leptin). Obesity can therefore be caused by an abnormality in brain function.
The blood glucose level (glycemia) regulates food intake: hypoglycemia increases it while hyperglycemia decreases it.
Hunger is regulated by a complex system of hormones and peptides.
Directly linked to blood sugar, insulin is secreted in the pancreas and opens the passage of glucose from the blood to the cells , reducing food intake . In a situation of hyperglycemia , insulin is secreted en masse and therefore reduces appetite . On the other hand, in a situation of hypoglycemia , when blood sugar levels decrease and glucagon secretion increases, insulin production decreases , which increases appetite .
When you feel like your stomach is gurgling, it's because your stomach is empty and the contractions are moving the air in it. This can even give rise to small cramps. This gastric vacuum stimulates the secretion of ghrelin by the stomach , also called the hunger hormone. This hormone will reach the brain, and more precisely the hypothalamus to be captured by NPY (NeuroPeptide Y) neurons at the level of specific ghrelin receptors . This will release NPY neurotransmitters which will themselves be picked up by orexin neurons , also in the hypothalamus. The release of orexins is oroxygenic and will increase your food intake.
When you eat a more or less fatty meal (signal of adiposity), adipose tissue - your fat - secretes leptin , the satiety hormone to stop food intake because the body has sufficient reserves. You should know that the more fat you have, the more your leptin response decreases, meaning the less your body sends you satiety signals. Here too, we are in a vicious circle leading to excess weight.
On the one hand, leptin will inactivate the orexigenic system . It will attach to NPY neurons on specific leptin receptors. This will no longer release the neurotransmitter NPY - which stimulated the production of orexins by orexin neurons - but the neuropeptide AgRP (Agoutine-gene related Peptide) which boosts the production of CRF by CRF neurons , a molecule which reduces the food intake .
On the other hand, leptin will activate the anorexigenic system . It will attach to POMS neurons on specific leptin receptors. This will allow the secretion of a molecule called alpha-MSH which allows the secretion of CRF by CRF neurons and a suppression of food intake.
Adipose tissue also secretes adiponectin and interleukin to downregulate food intake.
Other intestinal hormones also influence the phenomenon of satiety: cholecystokinin ( CCK ), Gastric Releasing Peptide 1 ( GLP-1 ), peptide YY ( PYY , key role in satiation), Oxyntomodulin ( OXM ).
3. Your eating day as seen by your body
Eating behavior is rhythmic, according to your biological circadian rhythm , in other words your internal clock on a 24-hour cycle. During the day, you experience a prandial sequence: hunger and appetite, initiation, food intake, satiation, satiety, fasting, reappearance of hunger, initiation, and so on.
Food intake is divided into 3 phases:
The pre-ingestive phase (which precedes the meal)
During this phase, the sensations that dominate are hunger and appetite . Hunger refers to the physiological need to eat and is non-food specific . This may be the “reappearance of hunger” if it is not the first meal of the day. Appetite corresponds to the desire to eat a specific food , generally foods that one has already encountered and whose sensory experience was positive.
Our body is therefore in full state of capturing sensory factors (taste, appearance, texture of food) , in search of food with positive hedonic perception (see sensory signals). You also pick up digestive and bodily signals : gastric distension and gurgling, drop in lipid reserves, hypoglycemia.
The ingestive phase (meal/prandial phase)
Initiation of the meal
- Hypoglycemia : According to the glucostatic theory, the initiation of the meal arises from a physiological lack of immediate availability of glucose to the cells of the central nervous system. This slight drop in blood sugar, called pre-prandial hypoglycemia, occurs before each spontaneous meal and is not caused by food.
- Empty stomach : An empty stomach stimulates the secretion of ghrelin by the stomach.
Hypoglycemia and ghrelin excite NPY neurons, which stimulates the production of the neurotransmitter NPY and orexins , which send a message to the brain to increase food intake (see hormonal signals).
It is advisable not to wait too long and to eat when hunger is moderate. Otherwise, you will eat too quickly and you will not receive the satiety message your body is sending you. You will therefore eat too much. Also, learn to wait a little bit between each bite to give your body time to assimilate what it ingests.
Stopping food intake
Food intake ends with a feeling of satiation , a set of active processes which marks the end of the meal and stops it.
Satiety is only the result of the conjunction of signals from oral , stomach and intestinal stimulation caused by the food being ingested.
Peptine YY : The gastrointestinal tract fills and the small intestine releases peptide PYY to transmit the message of satiation to the brain. Other hormones are also released to give more accurate information about gastrointestinal fullness ( CCK, GLP1 ).
Leptin : The ingestion of the meal refills the energy reserves. When the body judges the quantities to be sufficient, adipose tissue secretes leptin to stop energy intake by causing a hormonal cascade (see hormonal signals - Leptin)
Insulin and glucose : After a meal, the body is in a situation of hyperglycemia and insulin is secreted by the pancreas to bring the sugar into the cells. This situation activates the anorexigenic hormonal circuits to control food intake downwards.
The post-ingestive phase (from the end of the meal to the next meal)
When you have eaten, at the end of the meal, you are in a situation of well-being . Drowsiness sets in as your body works on digestion. You achieve the feeling of satiety , which is a state of non-hunger . It lasts until the reappearance of hunger which will be the factor which will re-initiate the next food intake of the day.
Learning to listen to your body is the key to eating food adapted to your needs for perfect energy balance. Depending on the context, it is sometimes difficult to eat the right amount in a day and this disrupts all your internal mechanisms. Gluttony doesn't help you either. Inevitably, weight gain threatens you. This is whyReborn Paris developed Absolu+ Body Control , based on carob 10 times more dose than the competition and a premium, patented and triple standardized Italian bean extract. This appetite moderator will help you control your appetite and your weight by:
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-increasing your satiety
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