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26 Ways You Stay Hungry: #1

Updated: Jun 14, 2021

1. Your Brain:

This is the #1 reason for hunger and weight gain. After all, your brain is your master regulator.

There are suggestions, on the internet, as to why your brain is part of hunger regulations - but I think they are missing the KEY POINT. Our society is hung up on "a calorie is a calorie." In the blog on glycemic index and load, I showed how the rate of absorption dramatically impacts insulin levels (a regulatory hormone), the ability to gain or lose fat, and the potential for diabetes.

Summary: High healthy fats intake - which are very high in calories - helps you lose weight and prevent diabetes compared to the lower calorie carbohydrates and sugars.

Reminder: Your body runs "slow and steady." Fats and low glycemic foods absorb slowly and match your body's fuel demands.

There is more to "a calorie is NOT just a calorie" than just the rate of absorption (glycemic index). Consider this simple metaphor. If you are driving down the highway and your "battery" light comes on, will going to the gas station and topping off your gas tank solve the battery/alternator issue? Of course not!

This is where your brain comes in. Your brain is not scanning your body just for adequate energy. In the car analogy - gasoline. Sure, the gas is important, but without a battery in good condition, the car won't start. Our brains, when it comes to overseeing our bodies, looks beyond calories and makes sure all systems are satisfied. That means, we have enough protein, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, especially "essential" nutrients. I call this the "repair and recovery" suite of nutrients. Btw, an "essential" nutrient is simply one that our body cannot synthesize in our gut or liver, thus we must get it from our food.

So how does your brain make you hungry. Here is a short list:

  1. Insufficient calories (this probably doesn't belong at the top of the list)

  2. Insufficient "essential" nutrients

  3. Insufficient vitamins

  4. Insufficient minerals

  5. Insufficient proteins (note plural - variety is the "spice" of life

  6. Insufficient fats (your brain is ~60% fat in composition - note plural)

Nice list - but in a word - you are hungry because of insufficient NUTRITION.

We have all seen a very obese person. What is their nutritional status?

They are malnourished but have an excess of calories.

Your brain needs to have nutritional needs satisfied. If you respond to the hunger signal with more calories, but with foods that lack nutritional needs - you will be continually hungry and crave that next opportunity to eat. You cannot fool your brain.

When working with people to improve their health, the first thing we do is make sure all body systems are working to absorb the nutrition they consume. The 2nd thing is to make sure every bite is as nutrient-dense as possible. This applies to Alzheimer's sufferers and just those looking to tune-up their health. You cannot fight Alzheimer's if your body is struggling to perform the basic daily tasks of repair and recovery. A future blog will cover nutrient density.


Here are what some experts are saying about your brain and hunger: