Jaclyn: It is hard to prove that scientifically, so for now, we have to say it is anecdotal. What is factual is that your mind and certain hormones (ghrelin and leptin) can trigger or suppress hunger.
However, there are certain foods that are thought to trigger hunger due to the stimulation of gastric juices. They are usually “acidic” and sour in nature. Examples are sour plums, lemonade, lime juice, lemon juice, and alcohol. Other factors [that affect satiety include] ambience, how appetising the dish looks, smell, and even a person’s mood.
Bonnie: Some possible culprits include
- Heavily processed foods like white bread, biscuits, pasta and cakes.
White flour has been stripped of the bran which contains a lot of fiber. It is essentially nutrient empty food that spikes your insulin levels, creating a roller coaster effect on your blood sugar. When your insulin levels start to drop, your body craves more sugary foods to try and rebalance your blood sugar levels. That’s why we often feel like taking a nap after a pasta or pizza, or can never stop at one cookie. Unbalanced blood sugar levels = over eating.
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and artificial sweeteners
There are a lot of studies that show that eating MSG can affect the satiety hormone, leptin, by interfering with the hypothalamus. Recent studies have shown that MSG can trigger a 40 per cent increase in appetite over time. It is really important to know what you are eating, especially if you are eating something regularly. When it comes to sweeteners your brain is tricked into thinking it is going to get a hit of energy, which doesn’t come, so you start craving more and more sweet things as the day goes on. When it comes to artificial sweeteners, get rid of them. Read the ingredients of packaged goods to make sure they are not sneaking into your diet.
Sushi is a bit of a tricky one as it is often viewed as a healthy choice. It is important to understand it is really a lot of rice. A portion of sushi is essentially like eating a few slices of white bread. It doesn’t have much protein, fibre, or fat, so you enter into a similar situation created by eating processed foods. A better choice would be sashimi and avocado with a miso soup, which has a better balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat.