Hormones are incredibly important. Even more than that they're also interesting. As you know, they’re your body’s chemical messengers.
The interesting thing is, cravings, hunger, and the feeling of satiety are all hormonal sensations. When they are in an optimal balance so are you. When they're not...well, you get the picture, right?
Some of the hormones at work when it comes to cravings and hunger include:
Ghrelin which stimulates the “I’m hungry!” feeling and is produced in the stomach...
Cholecystokinin (coal-e-sis-toe-ky-nin or CCK) is released in the upper intestine and turns off hunger ...
Glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide (GLP) are released in the upper intestine and stimulate the release of insulin. They turn off the hunger signals in the brain.
Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells and regulates the feeling of satiety in the brain...
Peptide YY (PYY) is released from the lower intestines and it regulates your appetite and food intake.
Pretty simple, right?
So, it follows that food is like ingredients and “information” for your hormones.
When (and what) you eat sends specific signals to your gastrointestinal tract organs ... and your hormones react accordingly.
When you eat something, the information in the food tells your brain that it’s either getting what it needs …
Or that it needs more … and MORE … and MORE!!!
For example, healthy fat and protein stimulate CCK, GIP, and GLP, the hormones that turn off hunger in the brain.
But if you eat something low in protein and high in sugar, salt, or unhealthy fat ... you trigger those insatiable cravings ... and the feeling that you might hurt someone if you don’t get something to eat that "treat" you know you shouldn't eat.
So, curbing cravings and hunger — even on a low carb diet — is all about optimizing sending your brain the RIGHT signals with the RIGHT foods.
These are my three favorite food “hacks” for kicking cravings to the curb and staying satisfied no matter what diet you’re on ...
First up, BCAAs.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Within the category of BCAAs, three amino acids in particular help control cravings and hunger: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
These amino acids build glucose and ketones, the brain’s most valuable fuel source.
By giving your brain plenty of glucose and ketones to feed on, it believes your body has enough fuel and doesn’t need more calories ...
So it stops flipping your hunger and cravings switches.
Voila. Hunger and cravings averted. Seems like a relatively easy action step, yes?
**Note: BCAAs are available in capsule form, but many of these products are designed for bodybuilders, so they also contain caffeine, stimulants, and other additives that can throw your brain chemistry off ... and actually making cravings worse.**
Fiber helps you feel full for longer periods, and also keeps your insulin from spiking. That helps reduce the production of ghrelin, that hunger-signaling hormone. So more fiber in your diet means you feel hungry less often.
Fiber slows the entry of food into the bloodstream, which stabilizes blood sugar and releases insulin slowly ...
This keeps your insulin from spiking and prevents blood sugar crashes and cravings later on. Also delivers a dose of brain fog.
Plus, the more regulated and balanced your insulin levels are the less fat storage you have. Less insulin floating around is better
Beans and legumes, avocados, and dark leafy greens are all great sources of fiber. Although supplementation is recommended if not getting enough through food. Food will always be a superior form of fiber. You can supplement with fiber, which I recommend since most people don’t get NEARLY enough though they're nutrition... but a word to the wise: Not all fiber is created equal.
If you’re going to use a fiber supplement I suggest you use soluble viscous fiber.
Viscosity refers to the “thickness” or “stickiness” of a liquid. Think of honey, motor oil, or soap versus water. And soluble just means it dissolves in water. When viscous fibers contact water, they form a thick gel. When eaten, this gel coats your digestive tract — and that’s a REALLY good thing if you feel hungry all the time.
This thick coating:
Communicates with gut flora and sensing cells that line your gut. It signals there is food there to digest, therefore digestion is slowed.
Causes the release of GIP and GLP hormones, which signals to the brain that you’re full.
Increases the time of exposure between the gut sensing cells and the food’s nutrients, allowing your body to absorb nutrients more efficiently.
Causes the food to be absorbed lower down in the small intestine, in the area called the ileum. Which can increase the sensation of satiety.
Cocoa comes from the Theobroma cacao plant. Which is literally translated as “food of the gods.” (Appropriate name, don’t you think?)
Cocoa is the #1 buffer food on the planet. No, not chocolate, unfortunately :-( I am talking about raw organic cocoa powder.
When it comes to cravings, cocoa is seriously (and scientifically) your best friend. Raw organic cocoa powder is packed with natural plant compounds that impact brain and gut chemistry in a way that increases satisfaction and relaxation.
Here are a few things to know:
It’s packed with phenolic chemicals that light up your “feel-good” hormones dopamine and serotonin ... both of which help control hunger, cravings and eating behavior ...
It’s full of powerful antioxidants that restore damaged cells and can even reverse wrinkles, thinning skin, and other signs of aging ...
It’s been shown to lower the stress hormone cortisol, which is hugely responsible for belly fat gain.
Phenethylamine (PEA), which mimics dopamine to boost mood ...
Bioflavonoids, catechins, and antioxidants that help fight off diseases and aging ...
And anandamide, a neurotransmitter known as “chemical bliss” that stimulates a feeling of euphoria. (It’s one of the chemicals found in marijuana ... without the mind-bending effect!)
There you go. Three favorite hacks to help crush hunger and cravings. I have used these three tools, with success, over and over again with clients. It's essential that you have these in your bag of tricks too.
Here's to you. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Here's to the optimization of your mind and body! Now go forth and kicketh asseth in lifeth!!!
Track Of The Day - Something good can work out(remix) - Two Door Cinema