Medicating Hunger - a Really Bad Weight Loss Strategy
One of the most significant weight loss trends in terms of supplementation and drug research is hunger control. Hoodia and Phentermine are two of the more well know weight loss/hunger control products in this area.
The idea of dealing with hunger though means other than food biols down to the notion of MEDICATING YOUR HUNGER.
Our approach is healthy fitness for lasting weight loss; what really works over the long haul. In this article we examine the idea of medicating hunger as a weight loss strategy from the healthy fitness perspective.
The idea of dealing with hunger means other than food sounds great – ‘Curb your hunger to lose weight’. What could sound more appealing than this?
Theoretically the idea of medicating hunger has a strong biological impetus. Our bodies are naturally better protected against underfeeding than overfeeding. In simplest terms, most of the mechanisms our body has for energy balance are naturally tilted in favor of weight gain, not weight loss.
Unfortunately, the idea of dealing with hunger through means other than food for the purpose of weight loss is flawed. If you buy into the idea of medicating your hunger as an effective weight loss strategy, then you need to take a serious look at 3 things: the hormonal issues, binge eating vs. true hunger, and the short term vs. the long term.
Here is what is missing from the idea of medicating hunger as a way to lose weight. It fails to take into account the following:
- A significant weight loss barrier for many people is eating too little.
- Hunger is hormonally controlled. Short term suppression of hunger can have the exact opposite effect over the long term due to hormone attenuation.
- Abnormal hunger in the short term (like within a period of 1 day) is usually created by what you eat. For example, a diet high in refined sugars will create abnormal hunger patterns. Abnormal long term hunger is often the result of endocrine damage resulting from what you eat. In either case, what you eat drives the equation of abnormal hunger.
- Binge eating often has NOTHING to do with hunger. The latest research into stress and abnormal energy intake indicates binge eating is often the product of emotional stress, addictive patterns and hypothalamic damage. These factors contribute to abnormal feeding patterns.
WHAT’S REALLY DRIVING YOUR HUNGER?
First, let’s first differentiate between normal hunger and abnormal hunger. Next, let us also differentiate between hunger and compulsive eating.
Hunger happens for most of us about every 2 to 4 hours. Our stomach empties, our liver glycogen gets low, and a series of hormonal signals tell us to eat.
Now here is the irony - You naturally get hungry every 2 to 4 hours and eating every 2 to 4 hours is one of the most effective ways to stay LEAN and low in body fat.
Eating every 2 to 4 hours increases THERMOGENESIS (the process of increased heat production).
As you can see, hunger can naturally CONTRIBUTE towards staying lean.
Abnormal hunger is the result of impaired hunger signaling. Impaired hunger signaling is often the result of what you eat to begin with.
For example, research shows a high fructose intake increases circulating fatty acids in the blood resulting in lower circulating leptin. This results in decreased satiety. In simplest terms, sugar makes you abnormally hungry.
If you buy into the idea that medicating your hunger is the way to lose weight, the question you need to ask yourself is ‘what is the long term consequence of stifling normal hunger?’
The marketing trend of hunger supplements and research trend of hunger drugs assumes that your hunger is abnormal, yet as we have seen, normal hunger patterns help keep you lean!
COMPULSIVE EATING: IS IT REALLY HUNGER?
We recently did an article on new research with cravings that indicates the difference between hunger and cravings. Cravings are a stimulus/reward transaction.
For example, very high stress can induce cravings for carbohydrates. Carbohydrates act like opiates, affecting serotonin output. THIS IS NOT HUNGER.
New research using addiction models to predict eating behavior gives us insight into the difference between hunger and cravings.
Compulsive eating is not about hunger, but about food as a stimulus reward.
Our Healthy Fitness approach breaks off from the current trend of medicating hunger in terms of the solution to the problem.
The approach of Medicating Hunger says something is physiologically wrong with your hunger and something other than food is the solution.
The Healthy Fitness approach says bad eating creates abnormal hunger and cravings and good eating is the FIRST solution.
Next - ADDRESSING HUNGER WITH FOOD!