Fullness in a shaker: Weetabix tries the Sensa diet

sensa.jpgHow many times have you ordered an appetizer with your meal and then declared you're no longer hungry anymore, before the entree even arrives? Do you ever try to cancel the order? Or do you just plow onward, eating past the point of comfort just because it tastes good and you don't want to inconvenience the waitstaff?

One of the things that people with disordered eating struggle with is the fact that we've lost a connection with our sense of satiety. Through our struggles with food, we've stopped listening to our bodies, and food is no longer associated with hunger or lack thereof. We eat when we're not hungry. We don't eat when we're faint from hunger. It takes a long time to start listening to those cues again. I have done a better job of not reaching for food when I'm in need of comfort (instead, I browse for shoes online...yes, total transference and also a problem) but when I'm actually hungry, I'm still struggling with identifying the moment at which I stop being hungry. It almost never ever coincides with the last bite off the plate. In fact, I have usually hit the full mark about half a meal ago. And since the brain takes time to get the message that the stomach is full, the trick is identifying not only when you're full, but also, being able to predict how much food to eat that will allow you to coast into fullness twenty minutes after you've stopped eating.

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The people at Sensa are sending me a six month supply of their "tastants" that are supposed to help the brain receptors acknowledge fullness much better. You sprinkle them onto your food (there are two different tastants: one for sweet foods, one for savories) and then eat like usual. In a clinical study, people who used the tastants lost significantly more weight than the control group over the span of six months.

By the way, the Sensa people are offering 15% off your order and free shipping if you want to try it yourself. Just use the code ROCKETXL.

So far, the stuff seems pretty benign. I am a supertaster, after all, and I can't really tell that this stuff is on my food. I keep wondering if it's changing the flavor or if I'm just imagining it. I did a side-by-side comparison of some cottage cheese that had the Sensa on it and some plain cottage cheese, and while they both tasted exactly like cottage cheese, it seemed like the Sensa-fied stuff tasted MORE like cottage cheese, if that makes sense at all. I tried some of the sweet powder straight out of the shaker too, basically putting an entire dosage on my tongue at once. While it tasted a little salty and like something else was going on (lemony, maybe?), I can't imagine that it would measurably alter the taste of regular food. I'm not sure if it's the placebo effect or not, but I do find myself losing the desire to finish my normal-sized portions. I'm not walking away hungry, but it seems to be a little easier to hit that sweet spot of No Longer Hungry But Not Full. (Read about Weetabix's slippery slope of overeating.)

My biggest struggle is remembering to actually use the shaker. It's about the size of a Palm Pilot, so could easily get stashed in your purse, though, so I may try that. Both the savory and the sweet tastants are in the same shaker, which is convenient, because if I had to carry around two things of weird flavor-dieting-shakey things, that would be a deal breaker. I will continue to report on my findings with this product but so far, I seem to be eating less! When I remember to shake, anyway. However, as diet gimmicks go, this seems to be a little more founded in science than others (diet cookie, anyone?) and requires the least amount of life upheaval. Will it really work? We shall see.

Has anyone else tried this stuff longterm? What are your thoughts?

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