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November 16, 2011 • Weight Control

Boost Appetite Control with These Two Steps

I am fascinated by the science of appetite control (because I know it is the holy grail for weight control), and this new study really grabbed my attention. In this first-of-its-kind investigation, Yale scientists learned that when our brains detect a drop in blood glucose (glucose is the only source of fuel for brain cells), several distinct changes take place in critical areas of the brain involved in appetite regulation. These specific brain changes ultimately drive us to eat and make it more difficult to consciously control powerful impulses emanating from the brain’s pleasure centers to seek food. To perform this study, the investigators manipulated the blood glucose levels of study subjects and simultaneously monitored activity in various regions of their brains using functional MRI scans. When blood glucose levels dropped, strong signals to eat were generated in the reward areas of the brain, while opposing signals from the prefrontal cortex areas of the brain were blunted. These “go eat now” impulses were especially pronounced if the study subjects were shown pictures of high calorie foods. In obese study subjects, this precarious response was notably dramatic. (Journal of Clinical Investigation, October 2011)

The important take-aways from this study are:

  1. To eat in a manner that can help you avoid a significant drop in your blood glucose level. Click here for my best advice.
  2. To keep high-risk, high calorie foods out of sight especially when you are hungry (true hunger is a dead ringer marker for a low blood glucose level). Here are some valuable strategies for success.