Body & Fitness

Tips for telling your brain that you’re full

Tell your brain 'I'm full' with these easy tips.

As babies and toddlers, we are sensitive to the cues our body gives us that it is full and we stop eating. But as we get older, many of us stop paying attention to the signals from our body and end up eating too much. This can be because we want to reward ourselves with tasty treats between meals (many of which contain ingredients such as sugar and salt which our bodies end up craving) or because we respond to parental pressure to “eat up all your food” even if we feel we’ve had enough.

Studies show that overweight people have lower levels of a brain hormone known as PYY which tells us when we’re full, so signals are slower to kick in. Lower PYY levels also decrease the pleasure we get from food so we have to eat more sugary, salty and fatty foods to get the same sensations and it becomes a vicious cycle. But there are some things you can do to trick your body into thinking you are full.

**Eat an apple before your main meal

**Foods such as fruit and veges contain a lot of water and fibre which fill you up and tell your brain that you are full. Meanwhile, some, such as apples, contain lots of air, which produces a hormone that sends satiety signals. The trick is to eat foods like this at the start of a meal so you feel full earlier on and don’t eat so much. If you can’t face kicking off dinner with an apple, try a salad instead.

Increase protein

Protein will fill you up more than the other two food groups – carbohydrates and fat – which is why high-protein diets have success. After eating a certain amount of it your stomach will say stop. Most people’s diets are made up of around 15% protein, but upping that to 20-30% can make a big difference to how satisfied you feel. Protein makes you feel full because it triggers the production of PYY. Good sources of protein include eggs, meat and dairy products.

Opt for ‘sloppy’ food

The texture of what we eat can make a difference to how full it makes us feel, according to scientists. An Australian study has found that “gloopy” food fills us up more than drier, harder versions. Porridge can be almost twice as filling as cereal, even if they are made of the same ingredients. That’s because porridge is more viscous, say the researchers. Give someone a plate full of food pulped into a soup – such as chicken, potatoes and vegetables – and they won’t be hungry again as soon as they would have been if they’d just eaten it dry.

**Eat alone and turn off the tv

**Studies show that we can eat up to 70% more food if we are distracted at meal time by things like watching TV. We don’t notice how much food we are shovelling in and keep going even once we’re full because we’re not paying attention to the “I’m full” signal from our stomachs. We also tend to eat more when we’re with others because we get distracted and we keep up with the amounts our companions eat – even if we don’t need it.

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