How do you know you’re not overeating? Do you eat until satisfied?

While eating, the sensation of satisfaction comes from a hormonal response, not the physical amount of food in your stomach or system. Being full comes from the stretch sensation felt physically in that region when we overeat. To eat until satisfied is possible through a hormonal reaction, not from the food being physically in our stomach and causing us to feel physically full.

eat until satisfied

All of our macronutrients of carbohydrates, protein, and fat have a counter-regulatory hormone. Carbohydrates stimulate insulin, as do some proteins, but the primary regulatory mechanism for protein is mTOR, and for fat, we have leptin. Leptin is the hormone secreted when we have eaten enough and causes the sensation of being satisfied with our meal or satisfaction from eating. 

Being physically full is from stretching the area around our stomach or gut usually occurs when we eat past our standard limit. This physical fullness can also arise when different processed food like carbohydrates and proteins are mixed in our meals and cause bloating. Either way, this is a distinct physical sensation of being full. Think of how you feel after Thanksgiving dinner, for example.

The hormone insulin is the master regulatory hormone for our energy use, and when insulin is on the scene, all the other hormones start to behave differently. Chronic high insulin levels due to our standard American Diet and lifestyle eventually cause us to become insulin resistant. 

Dietary fat has the highest satiation score, or the strongest ability to feel satisfied, of all macronutrients. When insulin is on the scene, and you are insulin-resistant, leptin, the satiation hormone, will soon be right behind, becoming resistant. When we are leptin resistant, meaning the body no longer responds to leptin like it used to, we lose the ability to be satisfied with our meals leading to overeating.

As this happens over time, the level of leptin in our body drops due to exhaustion. When medical researchers discovered that obese populations had very low leptin levels, they thought they could cure obesity simply by injecting the obese population with more leptin. They gave obese research participants leptin, but nothing happened. They didn’t lose weight. It didn’t work.

No amount of leptin can overcome leptin and insulin resistant system. We become leptin resistant because of insulin resistance, and we must reduce insulin resistance and the overall insulin exposure in the body to allow leptin to function normally once again. When leptin is working correctly again, we will feel satisfied with our meals.

Until a proper leptin response is returned, most people will find they overheat without realizing it; to only eat until satisfied will be impossible.

Like most hormones, leptin follows the lead of insulin and when insulin is out of balance, so is leptin. To make matters worse, Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, will increase during this process, and as a result, it will increase hunger and drive us to eat even more. We have the perfect hormonal storm for weight gain when we have an increase in appetite and the inability to feel full when we eat, thanks to insulin resistance.

The good news is there is a way to improve this now complicated condition, which is to reverse insulin resistance. By reversing insulin resistance, the other issues with Leptin and our satisfaction from eating and Ghrelin causing increased hunger will return to a normal balance and response.

Getting to the cause is always the best idea rather than treating symptoms that will not reverse the core issue.

Stay hungry for more information on this process, learning how this works so you may be satisfied with your health program and future!

We can do better!

Dr. Don Clum