First off what is Satiety? This means satiated, which is that feeling we get when we feel full. You may think this is an easy area to understand, but yet so many people tend to ignore this feeling or do not understand it. There are many factors that affect this feeling like certain hormones, brain chemicals, some medications, antidepressants, birth control, and certain supplements all can alter the way our body intercepts this Satiety feeling. There are two ways to look at Satiety one being too low causing us to feel hungry and the other being too high causing us not to feel hungry.
Let’s start with Satiety being too low. The first obvious reason for this is that your diet may not be in check. Everyone hears about carbs, protein, and fats and how they are important to nutrition. Well these macronutrients are also important when trying to balance out your Satiety levels. Carbs have the lowest effect on Satiety because they typically only have about an hour before they are removed from the stomach. Fat has the longest Satiety because it usually takes 3 to 5 hours before fat is removed from the stomach. Protein is the most important because it has a 2 hour emptying phase but it also increases glucagon which helps the body break sugar and uses it as fuel for our body. Protein also uses more energy to digest, so we actually burn a few calories more trying to break protein down in the stomach compared to the other two macronutrients. If our diet is too high in carbs then our Satiety levels will stay low because carbs are broken down much quicker which is why we get that crashing feeling an hour later. By combing carbs, fats, and proteins into our meals this causes a steady rise in blood sugar because the food is absorbed at a slower rate which then causes blood sugar to lower steadily. This causes us to be hungry 3 to 4 hours later as opposed to an hour later when we only eat carbs and our blood sugar levels spike quickly not allowing our insulin levels to bind properly to the sugar molecules causing an increase in fat storage. When insulin binds to the sugar molecules properly, the sugar molecules are used as fuel instead of being stored.
Now let’s say our Satiety levels are too high and we do not get that hungry feeling. This is normally effected by an imbalance of hormones or brain chemicals. This happens when someone is taking certain supplements or medications. Our body wants to stay balanced, but when our hormones and brain chemicals are imbalanced this can suppress and alter our Satiety feeling. A big reason these can become imbalanced is because people will ignore this Satiety feeling. Whether it is because of work, medications, supplements, stress, and life in general being in the way causing us to ignore that feeling will cause a change in our hormones and brain chemicals because our body is trying to get back to being balanced. An example of this is let’s say someone who wants to lose weight decides to ignore their Satiety feeling and does not get the nutrients their body needs to function properly throughout the day. As time goes on and their body needs fuel, but does not have any food for energy their cortisol hormone will be secreted which will start breaking down muscle to use for energy putting this person in starvation mode. When this happens the body is already out of balance, so when food is consumed it gets stored for later use so that the body does not have to break down muscle for energy. Every time we lose muscle or muscle atrophies, our BMR slows down. The same thing can happen if we take a supplement that suppresses our appetite. Most fat blockers will slow down the action of serotonin and/or epinephrine causing the body to send a false message to receptors that act as stimulants to trick the body into raising our Satiety levels. Over time with those two hormones not functioning properly can inhibit the use of lipase which is in charge of breaking down fat and absorbing it. This is the primary reason why it is not recommended to take fat blockers or appetite suppressants for a longer duration then what is recommended.
In conclusion we want to pay attention to this Satiety feeling because by understanding its purpose we can help manage our weight the way we want to. By simply balancing out our diet with a combination of all three macronutrients we can keep our Satiety levels normal which in return keeps other hormones in balance. There is no need to follow fad diets and make yourself miserable by getting rid of foods you love. Just simply find out how many calories your body needs to stay balanced and make sure that every meal has some type of protein and carb combination to keep you full longer and feeling more energized throughout the day without having the crash. Always remember to keep moving, physical activity helps reduce the breakdown of muscle and can even increase lean muscle mass increasing your BMR instead of letting it slow.
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