Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Losing weight - it is simple: only eat when you are hungry

That sounds simple, but to me that is what this study is saying. Interestigly too this approach seems to normalise weight - if you are fat you lose weight, if you are normal you stay that weight. Natural.

Just wait until you feel the hunger.....then eat. If you are not hungry don't eat.

Sustained self-regulation of energy intake. Loss of weight in overweight subjects. Maintenance of weight in normal-weight subjects

Dietary restraint is largely unsuccessful for controlling obesity. As an alternative, subjects can easily be trained to reliably recognize sensations of initial hunger (IH) a set of physiological sensations which emerge spontaneously, not necessarily at planned mealtimes, and may be the afferent arm of a homeostatic system of food intake regulation. Previously we have reported that IH is associated with blood glucose concentration (BG) below 81.8 mg/dL (4.55 mmol/l),(low blood glucose, LBG), and that a pattern of meals in which IH is present pre-meal (IHMP) improved insulin sensitivity, HbA1c and other cardiovascular risk factors. Here we report the effect upon weight in overweight and normal weight subjects.

To investigate whether the IHMP is associated with sustained loss of weight in overweight subjects over a 5 month period.

Seventy four overweight subjects (OW: BMI > 25) and 107 normal weight (NW) subjects were randomly allocated to either trained (OW: N=51; NW N = 79) or control (OW: N=23; NW: N= 28) groups. All subjects were allocated post-randomization into either low or high mean pre-meal BG groups (LBG and HBG groups) using a demarcation point of 81.8 mg/dL.

A significant longitudinal decrease was found in body weight (trained NW: -2.5 +/- 4.6 kg; OW -6.7 +/- 4.5 kg; controls: NW +3.5 +/- 4.0 kg and OW -3.4 +/- 4.0 kg; P = 0.006 and 0.029) and in energy intake, mean BG, standard deviation of diary BG (BG as recorded by subjects' 7-day diary), BMI, and arm and leg skin-fold thickness in (OW and NW) HBG subjects. OW LBG subjects significantly decreased body weight (trained: -4.0 +/- 2.4 kg; controls: -0.4 +/- 3.7 kg; P = 0.037). 26 NW LBG subjects showed no longitudinal difference after training as did 9 control subjects.

Over a 5 month period the IHMP resulted in significant loss of weight in OW subjects compared to controls practicing dietary restraint. NW subjects maintained weight overall, however NW HBG subjects also lost weight compared to controls.


John Sifferman said...

It sounds simple enough. Although, people tend to confuse appetite with hunger. Instead of really needing food because they are hungry, they desire food because they have an appetite for it.

Once you start to give in to your appetites, you are now also conditioning yourself to ignore the true signals the body sends to indicate hunger.

Chris said...

Agreed - the abstract implies that the participants had to be trained to "reliably recognize sensations of initial hunger"

Jim Hansen said...

I like you comment on appetite vs hunger, John. Good food for thought!

Jordan said...

Only eating when hungry would have an impact on social eating, but obviously it makes sense from a physiological point of view. I do like eating dinner with other people, and a breakfast or two over the weekend.

arlojeremy said...

I found that I was more accurately able to gauge true hunger over appetite when I dropped most things that affect insulin from my diet. Not to mention hitting a very quick point upon eating lots of protein and fat where I simply cannot eat any more (long before that famed "20 minute" signal would come into effect).