Think yourself thin

However, the idea that brainpower is important in dieting is a scientific finding. 

Live Science has reported that you can feel full faster by pretending you’re eating junk food – that’s right ‘junk’ food.  Scientists have realised that brain power is important not just in fighting cravings but in changing the body’s reaction to the food eaten.

Our bodies release a protein to control appetite and metabolism. A research study has indicated that whether we consider a food to be healthy or not has a huge impact on this release mechanism. 

Participants in a study who thought they were drinking a calorie laden shake showed much greater spikes in a hormone making them feel full faster than those who thought they were drinking something healthier.  They were all, however, drinking the same shake!

When you are on a diet you want to eat sensibly.  You get into the mind set, “I’ve got to eat sensibly, I’ve got to eat low fat food,” and so on.  You think this mindset is helpful.  However, researcher Alia Crum of Yale University says that such thinking is counterproductive.  “It’s telling your body and brains that you’re not getting enough.”

The participants in Crum’s study were given two taste tests at a week’s interval.  In the first taste test they drank what they were told was a “health shake” containing only 140 calories.  In the other test they believed they were drinking an “indulgent shake” with a whopping 620 calories!  Only Crum knew that in fact both were the same and contained 360 calories.

Researchers on Crum’s team sampled the participants’ blood three times — before the test, after seeing the label, and after drinking the shake.  They were testing for a protein called Ghrelin, a hormone that is very important in managing the appetite sensation.

In general, Ghrelin level increases when you are hungry.  When the stomach senses food, Ghrelin levels drop.  The quicker you start to feel full the quicker Ghrelin levels drop.  That is, the less your Ghrelin level the less you feel like eating.

Interestingly, Crum found that when participants thought they were drinking the “indulgent shake,” the Ghrelin levels dropped faster than when they thought they were drinking the “healthy shake.” Remember, both were exactly the same!  They had exactly the same caloric and nutritional content.

Thus, it demonstrated clearly that thinking you are drinking more calories is likely to make you feel more full and your metabolism will speed up.  You are, therefore, less likely to gain weight.

So, when someone says to you, “think yourself thin,” perhaps they know what they are talking about!

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