You’ve been doing everything by the book – working out meticulously six days a week, cutting down on fats, and eating more protein and fibre at regular intervals so you don’t get tempted to reach out for that slice of pizza. Or so you think! We don’t mean to depress you, but a recent study has claimed that there is no link between how hungry you are and the amount of calories you consume.  

Wait, What?

We know you’ve been eating all the so-called health food that promises to keep you feeling fuller for longer to avoid bingeing on unhealthy foods. But the study claims that no matter how much you eat, or how full you may be, you will still reach out for that cheese sandwich when it’s in front of you. The research, conducted by scientists from the University of Sheffield with colleagues from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), shows that food marketed as having appetite-modifying properties does not alter our calorie intake. And so, as this NY Mag article states, “smelling the pizza in the work kitchen can make you hungry even if you just had a Fiberlicious Protein MegaBar or, for the purists, a handful of almonds.”  

The Study

Researchers from the University’s Department of Oncology and Metabolism analysed 462 scientific studies and found appetite ratings failed to correspond with the number of calories consumed in most studies. The study was led by Dr Bernard Corfe, from the Molecular Gastroenterology Research Group, who added: “The food industry is littered with products which are marketed on the basis of their appetite-modifying properties. Whilst these claims may be true, they shouldn’t be extended to imply that energy intake will be reduced as a result.” He gives an example to illustrate this point: “You could eat a meal which claims to satisfy your appetite and keep you feeling full for a long period of time but nonetheless go on to consume a large amount of calories later on.” An article in Vice describing the study quoted Corfe as having said that “The factors that drive calorie consumption are many-fold and include energy expenditure; the sensorial environment is potent with visual and olfactory triggers especially so; entrained behaviours like mealtimes or snacking; and so on. Appetite is a part of that equation, but our work suggests it may not be the most important part, not by a long way.”  

The Takeaways

Does that sound depressing to you? Not really, if you actually break it down. The trick to everything, as your mother always told you, is moderation. Even if you’re trying to lose weight or get healthier, completely ignoring the fats in what you like – whether it’s a pizza, burger, fried rice, cheese sandwich or chocolate cake – will not help much. This is because your body will keep craving for this food until one day you cave in and stuff your face. Far better to give it what it wants periodically, but in moderation. Just follow these simple tips and tricks to keep that weight in check. Write It Down You may have snuck in that mini-doughnut or piece of chocolate, but there’s no escaping your diary. Writing down each and every thing you put in your mouth each day will ensure you stick to your healthy habits and will help you find out the problem areas in your quest to stay healthy. Reward Yourself From Time to Time Your weight loss strategy is unlikely to work if you starve yourself of your favourite foods. Make a realistic plan with cheat days scattered around so that your body doesn’t feel deprived of good food. Just make sure it’s in moderation. Make a Red Flag List Do you make a late night pit stop to the grocery store for your dose of cake? Or do you end up picking up a snack to kill time when you’re waiting outside to pick the kids up? These are habits that are probably causing the weight to stick. Make a list of these habits and put it up where you can see it every morning to avoid falling prey to them. Stick to Regular Mealtimes Having fixed mealtimes and avoiding unnecessary snacking in between can make all the difference. Experts suggest eating six small meals a day to keep your metabolism running and to avoid binge eating. It comes down to this - eat well and eat smart to control your appetite.


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