Whether you’re dieting or just trying to eat a healthy diet to maintain a healthy weight, it’s important to recognize the signs of hunger and how to avoid them. In fact, one of the primary reasons people quit dieting is hunger.
You’ve probably heard one or more of the following solutions to controlling hunger: Eat more frequent meals, eat smaller meals, eat more grains, more fiber, more protein, more fat, eat slower, sleep more, fill up on water, stay active, take appetite suppressants, try herbs or just ignore it. With so many solutions being thrown around, it’s obvious none of them are working very well.
The key to controlling hunger is balancing your diet and stabilizing blood sugar. When you understand the hormonal effects of food, you can finally begin to control hunger. The average American eats a diet that is simply too high in carbohydrates from sugars, starches, and processed grains. High carbohydrate diets elevate blood sugar and the hormone insulin is released to lower it. When blood sugar drops too low, the brain is deprived of it’s fuel sending out signals of low-blood sugar. The resulting low-blood sugar can result in a loss of focus and concentration, mood swings, low energy and out-of-control hunger and cravings for more carbohydrates.
When meals and snacks are balanced throughout the day with 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% fat, blood sugar remains steady, insulin is controlled and the mobilization hormone glucagon is elevated. This favorable hormonal balance of insulin and glucagon allows your body to mobilize and access stored body fat as your primary source of fuel, while sparing glucose for your brain. When the brain has a steady supply of glucose, your overall mental focus and concentration improves as well as the elimination of hunger.
Now that you recognize the causes of hunger, a healthy, balanced 40-30-30 diet will allow you to finally control it.
Joyce Daoust is a Certified Nutritionist and national best selling co-author of:
THE FORMULA, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program.