July 10, 2011

6 Tips To Control Hunger

Filed under: Nutrition — Peter Laws @ 11:37 am

6 Tips To Control Hunger

By Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

Let’s face it, trying to lose fat can be hard at times.  The biggest thing that comes up time and time again is hunger.  In a perfect world, you would find a way to not be hungry and still watch your waistline shrink.   Can that really be done?   Below are 6 tips to help guide your waistline to a new low.

 1) Eat more protein

I like to tell my clients to eat more when they are looking to get leaner.  Most of the time they look at me like I’m a 2 headed purple space alien.  Eat more?  Really?  Their whole lives they have heard you need to eat less and less, but can we eat more of something and still lose weight?
It turns out that protein has some very cool effects.  First off, protein helps with satiety and keeps you full longer.   I could site a bunch of studies here (2, 11, 15, 24), but try this experiment out on your own.   Eat 2 whole chicken breasts and the same amount of calories from Twinkies, then see how soon you are hungry again.
Two 6 oz chicken breasts have about 420 calories.  This may leave some of you doing your own episode of “Man vs Food” just to finish them.  Yet 3 Twinkies have about the same number of calories, and it would be easy to polish them off in no time (not that I know anything about that).
In the end, eat more protein to watch your waistline go down.
 2) Drink more water
Not a new one, but the cool thing about water is 1) it is required, and 2) no calories.  Basic stuff, I know, but the key question is:  “Are you doing it?”   Test out drinking more water and I bet you will drop fat without trying harder (8, 12, 22, 23).
Does water temperature matter?
Research on this area is pretty split (5), so if you like cold water, go for it.  If you can’t stand cold water, just go with room temperature water.   Don’t use the temperature of the water as an excuse to avoid it.   Hmmm, the water is not cold, so I am going to skip it.   Drink more first; then worry about the temperature.
3) Get more essential fats
Essential fats are something many, many people are lacking in today’s world.  Plus they are involved in virtually every process and cell in the body!    Your body NEEDS them (hence that “essential” part).  Hunger is the main way the body signals you to get more nutrients (both macronutrients and micronutrients).
The downside is that the world we live in today has non-essential fats readily accessible.  You can eat all the non-essential trans fats you want, but they will do nothing to increase the essential ones and only screw things up more!
A good source?
One of the best sources of essential fats is krill oil.  Krill or Fish oil also may help with body composition too (17), and increase muscle mass (21).
4) Exercise
Despite what you read in the popular media, exercise is a good thing.   While it may be very hard to out exercise the doughnut, that doesn’t mean exercise is worthless.   Exercise is the main way to burn calories, build metabolically active muscle tissue, and sensitize the body to nutrients.
Most people nowadays spend most of their time seated.  Even when they exercise, it is for a small portion of their day; so we need to maximize that time by prioritizing full body exercises. Not only will this burn a ton of calories, it will work to add more muscle.  More muscle literally pulls fats and carbs out of the blood to be burned.  Your resting metabolic rate is your primarily caloric burn, so you want to have a fast, high horsepower motor.
Another benefit from exercise is related to upregulation of the GLUT-4 receptor which allows glucose to enter into a cell (4).   GLUT-4 is an insulin-regulated glucose transporter located in fat and muscle tissue.   This protein is expressed only in muscle and fat cells – the major tissues in the body that respond to insulin.   This leads us into point 5…..
5) Control insulin
The body employs a myriad of different feedback loops and regulation techniques.  I’m sure you have read about these many times and scratched your head or fallen asleep.   Everything from mTOR and AMPK to all the hormones like GH, testosterone, estrogen, leptin, Neuropeptide Y, ad nauseam (9, 16, 19, 20, 25).
While these are very important, we need to ask 2 key questions.
1) Do we have any direct control over them?
2) What are the main effects?
Out of these key questions we find that insulin is a major regulator hormone, and we do maintain some control over it.
Think of insulin as the “fuel selector switch” in the body.
High levels of insulin = storage mode.
This can be storing carbs in muscle and live tissue as glycogen, or storing more fat around those love handles you hate.
The opposite works to our favor, though, as low levels of insulin = fat burning (enhanced fat metabolism).   Everything that you eat will result in some release of insulin, but we want to keep the overall response as low as possible by sticking with more proteins like meat, fish, egg, lots of non-starchy vegetables, and essential fats.
6) Spike insulin
Perhaps I lost my mind here, but the point above talked about controlling insulin and this is still true.   We want to keep insulin at a low level during the day overall.
One time we will want to increase insulin temporarily, though, is before training since it may help enhance carbohydrate metabolism.  When you are lifting weights, your body is fueled primarily by carbohydrates.  Remember that when insulin is high, it pushes the fuel selector switch towards carbohydrate metabolism which is great right before a strength training session.
Insulin is also a potent vasodilator, so you can dump those crazy NO (nitric oxide) products that don’t work in the trash can (or give them to your neighbor).   Insulin has been used in research for the sole purpose to exploit its vasodilator effects on vessels (3, 6, 10, 13, 14).   Instead of some NO (nitric oxide) products, have a protein and carb drink about 30-60 minutes pre-training.  In addition to temporarily increasing insulin, it also helps increase muscle protein synthesis where you are literally adding proteins to muscle tissue so they are bigger and stronger (1, 7, 18).  Remember, we want to build a huge engine to burn more calories even at rest.
Hunger can be a vicious enemy and you are now armed with these 6 tips to beat it into submission.    Go forth and conquer!
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