Monday, April 9, 2012

Mmm Mmm Monday: Hungry Monday

Have you ever eaten a big meal and then, shortly after, felt like you needed to eat again?  Inspired by this past holiday I decided to look into the matter and found some pretty interesting facts.

The biggest contributors to that feeling of hunger after eating are leptin inhibitors and blood sugar spikes.

Leptin -- not the Iced Tea
Leptin is a protein hormone in charge of regulating energy intake and expenditure, including appetite and metabolism.  Its job is to counteract neurotransmitters such as Neuropeptide Y and Anandamide, which tell the brain to keep eating.  Leptin also promotes the production of alpha-Melanocyte-stimulating hormone. (Yup, the hormone that effects the color of your hair [Melanin] is also in charge of suppressing your appetite!)

So we have this great chemical that stops our body from overindulging, but what we eat can stop the process in its tracks:

"Consuming too much fructose -- a sugar found in foods ranging from cookies to candies and soda -- can block the appetite-controlling hormone leptin from doing its job and increase the risk of obesity..."
-ABC News

Let's remember that fructose is a naturally occurring carbohydrate found in fruits.  Fructose isn't the problem here, it's high fructose ingredients like the corn syrup found in sodas, sugary drinks, and processed sweets.  Please don't stop eating apples because you think they'll make you hungry later.  The fiber in an apple allows the body to absorb carbohydrates with minimal impact to your blood sugar levels.

Blood Sugar
In 2011, the American Diabetes Association found that 8.3% of the US population has diabetes.  With the incidence of obesity and diabetes ever increasing, we have to look carefully at the foods we put in our bodies.

Processed sugars like cakes and candies give us an immediate rush of energy, but shortly thereafter, make us fall into a "sugar coma".  This is a prime example of a blood sugar spike.  Too much sugar absorbed too quickly.

For food to be useful to us, we need the energy intake to be more gradual so that it will sustain us through the day rather than in energetic bursts.  Dietary fiber is the key to this slowed absorption.

Where can I get my fiber?

Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables!  Have a snack of air-popped popcorn, munch on baby carrots, or make a very berry smoothie (I'll post a recipe on that one soon!).  It's so easy to give your body what it needs!

             a-MSH Wiki, Anandamide Wiki, Neuropeptide Y Wiki
             ABC News, ADA, Dietary Fiber Wiki, Livestrong
Picture Credit: Vossman

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