Some recently discovered hormones could play a key role in weight loss.
Leptin is becoming known as the “satiety hormone,” because it gives off signals off feeling full. So when found in elevated levels in the body, it leads to a lack of appetite by giving our brains the impression that we’re satisfied food-wise.
Obestatin is another hormone that seems to help regulate hunger by transmitting satiety signals to the brain.
How do satiety hormones work?
Although research is ongoing, it’s thought that leptin is produced by fat cells. As the amount of fat stored in those cells rises, leptin is released into the blood and tells to the brain that the body has enough to eat.
Obestatin seems to slow the movement of food from the stomach to the intestines. Early studies have shown that when obestatin is injected into rats, they eat about half as much and put on less weight as animals that were not given the hormone.
Satiety through a high-fibre diet
The discovery of leptin and obsestatin has prompted much scientific study into the molecular basis of weight control.
But there are no magic pills yet.
In the meantime, creating a feeling of fullness—and thereby signalling the brain to stop eating—can also be achieved through a diet high in fibre.
Foods that are high in fibre, such as vegetables and whole grains, are digested more slowly than low-fibre, processed foods.
Because fibre slows the digestion of food, it helps prevent the spikes in blood glucose that can occur after a low-fibre meal.
Studies have shown that high-fibre foods consumed either at breakfast or lunch significantly reduced intake at the next meal compared to low-fibre foods.
One study found that fibre supplementation at breakfast was associated with a significant reduction in lunch intake.
Ways to boost your fibre intake
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables with the skin on.
- Add beans or lentils to salad, tomato sauce, or soups.
- Eat whole grain or whole wheat breads and pasta instead of white varieties.
- Add wheat bran, oat bran, or ground flaxseed to your baking, cereal, or smoothies.
- Add dried fruit, nuts, or seeds into salads or baked goods.