How to flip off your brain’s hunger switch

How’s that diet going?

“Just great!” — said no one, ever.

Changing what you eat, giving up those tasty treats you love and most of all – that gnawing hunger… It’s no wonder it’s so challenging to lose the weight.

You may be thinking of heading to your doctor’s office for a prescription to suppress your hunger, but wait… Those come with a laundry list of side effects from dizziness and trouble sleeping to high blood pressure.

I know, I know…

It seems like you’re out of luck and doomed to carry that spare tire around your middle or those saddlebags on your hips ‘til the day you die. But, don’t give up hope yet.

Here’s why…

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The flavor of fullness

Scientists at the University of Warwick set out to examine the key brain cells, called tanycytes, which control our appetite and which compounds in food were capable of flipping our hunger “off switch.”

They added concentrated amounts of a number of amino acids into the brain cells, which were made fluorescent so that the scientists could watch them through a microscope.

Guess what they found?

Of all the amino acids tested, there were two that could not only be detected by those vital tanycytes within just 30 seconds but also cause them release information to the part of the brain that controls appetite and body weight.

In other words, these amino acids told the brain to send an “I’m full” signal in less than half a minute.

According to the scientists the way it works all has to do with umami (a term you may have heard if you’re a fan of all those celebrity cooking shows), which basically means savory taste.

They found that the tanycytes in the brain respond to those two amino acids via the same receptors that sense that umami flavor.

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Turn your savor on and your hunger off

Which two amino acids did the researchers find that can turn off your hunger signals to help you lose weight easier?

Arginine (also known as l-arginine) and lysine.

These two amino acids are found in high concentration in foods like pork shoulder, sirloin steak, chicken, mackerel, plums, apricots, avocadoes, lentils and almonds — which makes sense considering that umami and savory go hand-in-hand.

So, if you’re ready to get your weight loss back on track and make it a little easier on yourself, try focusing on these foods. Lysine and l-argenine are also available in supplement form.

Don’t forget you can also tap into your hunger hormones to help control how much you eat. That’s essentially what the new semaglutide drugs do but with loads of side effects and a hefty price tag.

Fruits and vegetables can give the body the nutrients it needs to restore balance to your hunger hormones to do their jobs naturally…

Take berries. In studies snacking on berries create a sense of fullness that other snacks don’t. And, because of their anthocyanin content, they help make the body more sensitive to insulin — the hormone that takes glucose out of the blood and into cells to be used for energy.

Soluble fiber stabilizes blood sugar, slowing down the time it takes food to empty from the stomach and sugars to break down. This is good news for diabetics, hypoglycemics and anyone looking to lose weight naturally. Aiming to eat 30 grams of fiber each day can help with weight loss, lower blood pressure, and improve the body’s response to insulin just as effectively as a more complicated diet.

A diet high in protein has been shown to help suppress ghrelin, the hormone that signals hunger. It’s especially helpful to start your day with a protein-rich breakfast. Protein also has a positive impact on leptin (the hormone that signifies satiety).

Black seed oil from the plant Nigella sativa has numerous studies that indicate its positive effects on blood sugar and weight. It’s found in supplement form or bottled, like olive oil.

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Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.