Strategies for feeling full while shedding pounds from Michael T. Murray, N.D., and Michael R. Lyon, M.D., natural-medicine and weight-loss experts and co-authors of Hunger Free Forever: The New Science of Appetite Control
If you're like most of us, your mother probably always warned you not to eat before your meals lest you spoil your appetite. At our center, we teach people something quite contrary. In reality your worst enemy is excessive hunger and you need to avoid, at all costs, sitting down to a meal when you are more than just mildly hungry. Many of our overweight patients have great discipline over their eating habits for part of the day. Many skip breakfast and eat a very light lunch, but their real eating begins when they get home. The majority of overweight people really seem to enjoy diving into their evening meal when they are as hungry as a bear coming out of hibernation. They tend to gobble down their food, often having seconds or even thirds followed by desserts, and then nibbling throughout the evening.
Instead, we stress the importance of spreading your calories throughout the day. First and foremost, you must learn to have a good breakfast with adequate protein and fiber. You must also have a healthy lunch and should always have a small snack between each meal. Most important, you will need to learn to "spoil your appetite" before dinner. Rather than sitting down to eat when you are overly hungry, we encourage you to eat a low calorie-density snack to calm down your appetite before your evening meal. An apple with six to ten almonds, a serving of plain yogurt with bran cereal, a handful of baby carrots with a couple tablespoons of seeds, or a hard-boiled egg and a couple pieces of celery are just a few of things that can be eaten thirty minutes to one hour before the evening meal to help reduce hunger and make it less likely that you will end up overeating. As well, most of our patients find it helpful to add 2.5 to 5 grams of PGX to a glass of water or 3 to 6 PGX Softgel capsules fifteen to twenty minutes before each meal.
FAT, PROTEIN, AND SATIETY
Although we have focused upon the importance of glycemic impact, food volume, and viscosity in the promotion and maintenance of satiety, there are other important factors that must be considered if you want to experience effective weight loss, free from the discomfort of excessive hunger. Both fat and protein contribute to a food's taste as well as its ability to initiate and maintain satiety. Meals that are high in volume and viscosity but lack protein and fat are less effective in eliminating hunger and creating a prolonged sense of satisfaction.
Even though fat is so high in calories, it is critical to consume adequate amounts of healthy fats if you want to lose weight. The biggest mistake is simply eating too much fat, and thus, too many calories. All it takes is a very small amount of fat to promote satiety. As little as 2 grams of fat in a stomach full of food will significantly add to the satiety-inducing effects of that food. There are also numerous other health benefits of certain types of fat. Olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, fatty fish, fish oils, and coconut oil are just a few examples of fats that should be consumed regularly for health and satiety. The key to gaining the benefits of these healthy fats is real moderation. All fats contain about 9 calories per gram so none of them should be used liberally. Books promoting fats for weight loss suggest that you can eat any quantity of certain kinds of oils and still lose weight. That's pure foolishness. Striking a balance between the low-fat craze and overzealous use of healthy oils is the key to finding their true benefits.
Good Fats Versus Bad Fats
One of the key determinants of whether a fat is good or bad is its effect on cellular membranes and, as a result, the action of insulin. Membranes are made mostly of fatty acids. What determines the type of fatty acid present in the cell membrane is the type of fat you consume. A diet composed mostly of saturated fat, animal fatty acids, and trans fatty acids (from margarine, shortening, and other sources of hydrogenated vegetable oils), and high in cholesterol, results in membranes that are much less fluid in nature than the membranes in a person who consumes optimum levels of unsaturated fatty acids. Without a healthy membrane, cells lose their ability to hold water, vital nutrients, and electrolytes. They also lose their ability to communicate with other cells and be controlled by regulating hormones including insulin. Without the right type of fats in cell membranes, cells simply do not function properly. Considerable evidence indicates that cell membrane dysfunction is a critical factor in the development of insulin resistance, obesity and diabetes. So it is critical to effective long-term weight management that you eat the right types of fats.
The type of dietary fat profile linked to insulin resistance is an abundance of saturated fat and trans fatty acids along with a relative insufficiency of monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. This means that in order to improve insulin action, we should reduce our intake of saturated fats by eating leaner cuts of meat and choosing nonfat dairy options, as well as eliminating trans fatty acids from our diet and focusing instead on monounsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. The best sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, nuts, nut oils, and canola oil. Although monounsaturated fats are not as unsaturated as polyunsaturated, they still contribute to healthier cell membranes because they are more fluid than saturated fats. And, because they only have one unsaturated bond, they are more stable and provide better protection against oxidative damage to cell membranes than polyunsaturated oils.
While olive oil and canola oil are by far the most popular monounsaturated fats in use, macadamia nut oil is superior to cook with because of lower levels of polyunsaturated oil (3 percent for macadamia nut oil versus 8 percent for olive and 23 percent for canola). As a result, while olive oil and canola oil can form lipid peroxides (rancid byproducts created through oxidation) at relatively low cooking temperatures, macadamia nut oil is stable at much higher temperatures (over twice that of olive oil and four times more stable than canola). Macadamia oil, like olive oil is also very high in natural antioxidants. In fact it contains over 4.5 times the amount of vitamin E as olive oil. For more information on macadamia nut oil, visit www.macnutoil.com.
Another important aspect to getting the right type of oils in your diet is to eat fish rich in the omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and halibut. While we are encouraging you to eat more fish, we need to give you some guidelines. Nearly all fish contain trace amounts of methyl mercury. In most cases, this is of little concern because the level is so low. The fish most likely to have the lowest level of methyl mercury are salmon (usually undetectable levels), cod, mackerel, cold-water tuna, farm-raised catfish, and herring. Certain seafood, particularly swordfish, shark, and some other large predatory fish, may contain high levels of methyl mercury Choose from the low-mercury group and limit your intake to no more than four servings per week maximum.
Adding a high-quality fish oil supplement free of the mercury, PCBs, dioxins, and other contaminants often found in fish to your daily routine provides extra insurance that you are getting sufficient levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Take enough of the supplement to provide 1,000mg daily of the key omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
Protein, too, has been well demonstrated to be vital in the maintenance of healthy appetite control. It is particularly important to start the day with a high-protein breakfast, but protein needs to be eaten throughout the day to avoid excess hunger and to promote prolonged satiety Eggs or egg whites with grilled vegetables, grilled chicken with vegetables, yogurt and bran cereal, scrambled tofu with vegetables, or high protein volumetric meal replacement drinks or smoothies are all excellent items to consider as part of a satiety-promoting breakfast. Whey protein is one of nature's highest quality proteins and is a very useful (perhaps essential) ingredient that can be used easily to increase the protein content of any meal. Whey protein has also been shown to promote satiety Smoothies made with whey protein or meal replacement shakes that contain whey protein and PGX are excellent high satiety breakfast foods.
It is also very important to include protein in your other meals. Protein sources should be very lean and can include lean meats and poultry, fish, low-fat dairy products, eggs or egg whites, legumes, or tofu. The body looks for protein and the appetite will increase if you deprive the body of adequate amounts of this important nutrient group. Protein also supports the growth of muscle, helps to stabilize blood sugar, and provides prolonged energy. However, it is often hard to consume protein without also consuming an excessive amount of fat so be sure to choose only lean protein foods
We always instruct our patients to focus on eating volumetric, low caloric-density foods as the main part of their meal and then carefully and slowly consume smaller portions of higher caloric-density foods such as meats. Some higher protein foods are very hard to find in low-fat varieties. For example, cheese is a favorite food for many overweight people. Even though cheese is high in protein, it is usually loaded with fat and is one of the highest caloric-density foods in existence. If you want to lose weight and still eat cheese, you must keep your portion sizes very small. For higher fat versions of cheese, limit your daily cheese intake to a portion the size of your thumb. Yogurt cheeses and ricotta are examples of low-fat alternates to higher fat cheeses that can be eaten in larger portions.
One of the best sources of protein for weight loss is legumes as they are rich not only in protein but also insoluble fiber, thereby increasing satiety as well as exerting a number of other beneficial effects. Learning to cook with a variety of beans, lentils, split peas, and legume products such as tofu can be one of the most valuable skills that you can learn. When you really become familiar with the hundreds of ways you can use these inexpensive and healthy foods, you will have discovered one of the best ways to fall in love with the high-satiety way of life. Buying these ingredients in bulk, cooking them in batches with a pressure cooker or slowly on the stove top will allow you to freeze several single-recipe portions that can then be taken out to prepare quick and easy meals.Learn how you can get healthy and stay slim without starving with Hunger-Free Forever.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Michael T. Murray, N.D., is widely regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on natural medicine. He has been featured on numerous television programs, including 20/20 and Dateline. He lives in Washington. Michael R. Lyon, M.D., is a physician, medical researcher, author, and internationally recognized lecturer in the field of weight loss. He currently directs a medical research center specializing in obesity and appetite control. He lives on Vancouver Island, Canada. Together they are the authors of Hunger Free Forever: The New Science of Appetite Control (Copyright © 2007 by Michael T. Murray and Michael Lyon, M.D.).