A new study by Carleton University has suggested the ‘hunger hormone’ that controls the appetite increases our craving for sweet, high-calorie foods even when we have a full stomach.
The theory, which might explain why some still have room for a calorific sugary dessert after a big meal, claims overactive ghrelin hormones lead to overconsumption of reward-driven foods.
Researchers studied the role of ghrelin—the so-called ‘hunger hormone’ - in what they called the ‘dessert phenomenon’: eating tasty desserts after a filling meal.
"Ghrelin receptors may represent an important target for obesity treatments,” study author Veronique St-Onge said in a statement.
In the study of lab rats, the rodents lacking the ghrelin receptor gene ate less sweet treats (in this case, cookie dough) after a full meal, than did rodents whose ghrelin receptor gene was intact.
"This result supports the idea that ghrelin is involved in reward-based feeding and delays the termination of a meal," St-Onge said.
"A greater understanding of ghrelin's action may be useful for preventing obesity that results from overconsumption of rewarding foods."
Also In The News:
The results of the study will be presented at The Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting.
Having trouble controlling your food cravings? Take a look at clever ways to beat your inner glutton...
How To Beat Your Inner Glutton
Doreen Virtue, author of <em><a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Constant-Craving-What-Cravings-Overcome/dp/1848505906" target="_hplink">Constant Craving</a></em> offers her advice on how to resist your salt, sugar and fat cravings and stay on the right track with your diet.
Stave Off Chocolate Pangs With...
"Ginger ale and soy milk are high in tyramine, which can help relieve chocolate cravings. Pekoe tea is high in chocolate's other stimulating ingredient. theobromine."
Eat A Satifying Sugar-Alternative
"One reason we shun fruit during our sweet cravings is that fruit seems like a deprivation alternative. We've got to dress fruit up! Put a little flavoured, fat-free yoghurt on top. Puree the fruit with an ice cube and some ginger ale. Microwave sliced apple for two minutes at high temperature with a little bit of cinnamon and you've got a quick, low calorie apple-pie type treat."
Understand The Reasons Behind Your Cravings
"If, after analysing your cravings, you discover any anger, frustration or stress, ask yourself how you might take even one step toward alleviating the source of these emotions. Is there someone you can talk to, or some changes that you can make in your life? If you reduce the source of your uncomfortable emotions, you won't need to crave sweet things anymore."
Beware Of 'All Or Nothing' Thinking
If we tell our bodies that this chocolate bar or hamburger will be our last treat ever, we're more likely to binge. "It's like we're seeing a beloved person for the last time, so of course we want to spend as much time as possible with that object of affection." The key is eat all treats in moderation and if the craving get too much, seek healthier alternatives.
Fight Off Salty Cravings
"Crunch on crisp vegetables dipped in low calorie, fat-free salad dressing. Instead of potato chips and french fries, go for carrot and celery sticks. Broccoli and cauliflower florets are also tasty replacements. They may not seem as appealing as the fatty versions, but the crunch and flavour will soothe your craving."
Treat Yourself With Non-Food Rewards
"Sweet treats usually equal reward. We all need pats on the back and kudos for hard work. But instead of stopping at the cookie shop or take-out, why not treat yourself to a new book, item of clothing or shoes? This will feel just as satisfying and is much healthier than a fat-laden treat."