Satiety, that feeling of fullness and satisfaction after eating, is regulated by hormones. Feeling full addresses weight gain because one lacks the desire to overeat.
When the “hunger hormone” ghrelin rises, you feel hunger. After eating, ghrelin levels fall. Made in the stomach, ghrelin travels to receptors in the hypothalamus area of the brain, linking messages of satisfaction to food management.
Lack of sleep can deplete levels and effectiveness of ghrelin. This is why many people who are chronically sleep-deprived are also overweight. Their hunger hormone is high, so they crave carbohydrate-rich foods to fight perceived hunger and fatigue.
High intake of protein can affect hunger hormones. Recent studies done in The Netherlands showed people consuming a high-protein breakfast had a greater decrease in postprandial ghrelin concentrations than those eating a high-carbohydrate breakfast.
If you work out in the morning, before breakfast, a high-protein meal consumed within an hour afterward will optimize satiety levels, leaving you less likely to overeat later in the day. Even if time is an issue, downing a quick protein powder smoothie with that piece of fruit or granola bar will really be a worthwhile calorie investment.
Consider this: sumo wrestlers are only permitted to consume one meal a day—late in the evening. So unless you have designs on attaining a similar girth, frequent and small meals adequately spaced through the day is the wiser choice.
Another consideration is how much protein do I need? A good rule of thumb is one gram per pound of body weight. This higher protein ratio will optimize satiety. Some lean protein sources include: tofu, soybeans (edamame), beans, whey powder, egg whites, fish, chicken, and turkey.
Guest Blogger and Fitness Enthusiast