By Ms. Nisha Bajaj
Nutritionist at Digestive Health Institute by Dr. Muffi
Hunger is the sensation of weakness or uneasiness you feel when you need to eat. Essentially, hunger is your body’s technique of telling you that it needs food. There are a few instances where a person might feel hungry all the time. They may find that they don’t feel full after eating, or that the desire to eat continues throughout the day. Hence, it’s important to understand your hunger type before you eat anything.
Our bodies have two types of hunger alarms – a true hunger alarm and a false hunger alarm. However, irrespective of the type of hunger, it’s important to eat right and know how to respond to your body’s hunger signals.
1. True Alarm i.e. Real Hunger
• When your stomach growls and you feel low on energy, it’s real hunger. This type of hunger grows slowly and you feel satisfied after having your meal.
• When such hunger strikes it’s important to choose healthy food options, control your portion size and eat mindfully.
2. False Alarm i.e. Emotional Hunger
• When your stomach is quiet and there are no physical signs, but you have specific cravings like chocolates, chips or ice-creams, the hunger is more emotional in nature. In this type of hunger, food doesn’t totally satisfy you and you want to eat more & more.
• At such times, you should divert your mind, or simply relax and train your brain to not eat. Instead of giving in to your craving right away, you could call a friend, go for a walk, or set a timer for 10 minutes and only then decide whether you really want to eat.
• Have a glass of water. Usually, one feels hungry due to dehydration and having a glass of water can curb these false alarms.
• If you decide to go ahead and treat yourself, eat mindfully. Take a deep breath before you start eating, and pay close attention to each bite. Taste the sweetness on your tongue. Feel the texture & aroma of the food. Does it trigger any old thoughts or memories connected with that particular food? Many researches show that the first bite is the most enjoyable part of the meal. If you pay attention to what and how you’re eating, you may find that you feel satisfied just after a few bites.
Whichever type of hunger we may be experiencing, many times we try to suppress it by popping pills to avoid the consumption of unwanted calories and resulting weight gain, all the while ignoring the voice in our head telling us to skip that second slice of chocolate brownie or a second scoop of ice cream! But the important question to ask is, where is this voice coming from? It’s not coming from your conscience, but from the masses of bacteria in your stomach! Many studies have shown that our gut bacteria produce enzymes & hormones that tell our brain to either grab some food or stop eating. Increasing probiotics like yogurt in your diet is an excellent way of balancing the healthy gut bacteria, which helps in weight management. Women who are looking to lose belly fat can also benefit from healthy probiotics. The British Journal of Nutrition published a research study that shows probiotics can reduce the hormone Leptin, an appetite-regulating hormone, and therefore, decrease intestinal bacteria which is related to obesity. Probiotics also produce certain short-chain fatty acids which work as a natural fat burner & help control appetite.
Adding L-glutamine to your diet is another excellent way to control hunger. Glutamine is an amino acid that is found in many foods including chicken, eggs & dairy products. It is the most important amino acid in the body, and is usually found in our muscles & blood. L-glutamine supplies energy to our brain & it also suppresses the hormone Ghrelin which sends the signal to our body to have more food.
So instead of popping pills which can have adverse effects on your body and create hormonal imbalance, you can add some healthy supplements to your diet and continue on your weight loss journey. Make the right dose of prebiotics, probiotics & L-glutamine the new success mantra of your 2020 weight loss journey and enjoy extraordinary benefits!