A friend of mine went on a juice diet a few years ago and I swear hanging around her for those 2 days was probably more painful for me than for her.
One of the evenings, she insisted on coming with me to a restaurant to get dinner. And while I tucked into my juicy steak, she ordered a glass of water and stared at me eating.
Yes, she stared at my steak while I cut it. She stared at my fork while I brought it to my mouth. And then she returned to staring at the rest of my steak while I chewed.
It was the most disturbing dinner EVER!
And even worse, all that suffering was for nothing as she totally ditched the diet after the second day because she was so hungry.
If you’ve been into weight-loss or dieting, then you’ll know that not feeling hungry while you lose weight is a HUGE benefit.
So much so that drug companies make lots of money selling appetite-suppressing pills and supplements (like the popular and yet very unproven garcinia cambogia).
All the while, there are completely proven real-food ways to curb your cravings and prevent yourself from overeating all the while eating nourishing foods.
Am I for real? Could you really to say goodbye to hunger pangs while eating healthy delicious food that helps you lose weight?
Let me answer that rhetorical question…YES
And there’s actual science to back this up.
This is a subject that occupies tons of scientific funding as our obesity problem grows and grows. The American Health Association estimates that “nearly 78 million adults and 13 million children in the United States deal with the health and emotional effects of obesity every day.”
And the exact answer is complicated and still not completely known. A few of the causes are:
Your body produces a complicated concoction of chemicals to tell your brain how you should feel.
Leptin is one hormone in this hunger system. Leptin is mostly produced by your fat cells.
When you have enough fat, more leptin is produced to tell your brain that you’re not so hungry and should eat less.
Ghrelin is another important hormone in the hunger system. It’s often referred to as the hunger hormone as higher levels of it makes you feel hungry. (1)
Other hormones involved with hunger include (2):
This is perhaps the easiest signal your body receives. When you eat a ton of food and extend your stomach and intestines, a signal is sent to your brain via stretch receptors in gut saying “YOU’RE FULL – STOP EATING.” (3)
It’s also partially why some types of bariatric surgery involve shrinking the size of your stomach. (4)
Ever seen a cake and suddenly started salivating? Or smelled some freshly baked bread and got hungry? (5)
Or have you found yourself getting hungry at the same time each day? A familiar eating habit can also cause hunger. (6)
In the end, it’s likely that all these factors (as well as others) interact to produce the uncomfortable sensation of those annoying hunger pangs (which are actually stomach contractions). (7)
While the mechanism for this is still unclear (11), making sure you get sufficient protein in your diet is never a bad thing.
And if you’re worried about your bone health, then this 2011 review concluded (14): “dietary protein works synergistically with calcium to improve calcium retention and bone metabolism.”
How Much Protein Should You Eat?
There’s a lot of debate on this. The US government recommends we eat 5.5 oz of protein per day (for a 2000-calorie diet), which corresponds to around 30% of your calorie intake. (15)
Our calculator can also help you determine more exactly how much protein you need depending on your current weight, body fat percentage, activity, and goals (weight loss, muscle gain, or maintenance).
I didn’t make up that word!
Hyperpalatable foods are addictive foods, and over the past 10 years, they’ve garnered a lot more attention in the scientific community. (18)
And as one research paper has pointed out, “A growing body of research has identified many similarities between conventional addiction disorders and excessive consumption of calorie-dense foods.” (19) The similarities between hyperpalatable foods and addictive drugs is scary!
So you’re gorging out of control on these hyperpalatable foods…you think you’ll take just one bite but in less than 10 minutes, that entire party-sized bag of potato chips or that Costco-sized bag of cookies is completely gone…sound familiar?
What Foods Are Hyperpalatable?
We evolved to eat non-processed foods. Let’s face it – potato chips, chocolate chip cookies, and even sodas have all been invented in the past century or so. Before that, we ate foods that were either high in sugar (like berries and sweet potatoes) or else high in protein (like meats) or high in fat (like bone marrow). (20)
But with processed foods came the mixing of these types of macronutrients. A recent study concluded that “highly processed foods, with added amounts of fat and/or refined carbohydrates (e.g., sugar, white flour), were most likely to be associated with behavioral indicators of addictive-like eating.” (21)
So, foods high in both fat and refined carbs (like potato chips, cookies, cakes) are all culprits.
In many ways it’s not our fault we finish that whole bag of chips or cookies. Please don’t blame it on your lack of mental willpower. We’re biologically designed to do this.
And food companies are exploiting our innate weakness. They’ve hired teams of food scientists to systematically design foods that are addictive to the max. What chance do our poor DNAs have?
How To Avoid Hyperpalatable Foods?
Since hyperpalatable foods tend to have both lots of fat and lots of carbs, one easy way to avoid them is to eat food that’s either low in fat or low in carbs.
However, we generally suggest people go lower in carbohydrates rather than lower in fats for 2 huge reasons:
The low-fat craze over the past few decades has produced a huge influx of processed low fat foods.
From skimmed chocolate milk to low-fat yogurt and reduced-fat cakes and cookies, you can’t miss the plethora of low fat foods in any grocery store.
Unfortunately, this means you’ll just substitute your regular junk food for low fat junk food that’s loaded in extra sugar (to make it taste better). Let’s just face it, it’s not healthy!
Which brings me to reason 2…
It’s really difficult for you to get sufficient essential vitamins likes A, D, E, and K on a low-fat diet. These vitamins can only be absorbed into your body with fat. (24) So you can drink as much skimmed milk fortified with vitamin D as you want, you still won’t get very much vitamin D into your body unless you also eat fat with it.
A 2-year study comparing low carbohydrate diets found that those on the low carbohydrate diet “reported being less bothered by hunger” than those on the low-fat diet for those 2 years. (25)
This could be because sugary foods (even if they’re zero-calorie and fat-free) can give you a dopamine rush that can lead to bingeing and sugar-dependency. (26)
So cut out the refined carbohydrates, eat less processed foods, and don’t be so scared of foods that naturally contain fat.
You’ve probably heard the advice to eat more fiber, and this can help you feel full faster and be less hungry. (27)
Some types of fiber also gets fermented in your gut to form short chain fatty acids that can potentially make you feel full. (28)
This third method of not feeling hungry seems to contradict eating less carbohydrates (which I suggested in method two above). And while bran and whole wheat bread is very high in fiber, it can can cause digestive issues due to the gluten-content. (29)
So in general, we recommend you eat real vegetables (or fermented vegetables).
You know…those green things that grow in gardens.
So eat lots of vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
I mentioned the hormone, leptin, at the beginning of this article. It’s produced by our fat cells, and it signals to our brain (the hypothalamus region in particular) to let it know when we have sufficient fat in our body. (30)
When we have plenty of fat in our body (our fat cells are full), the amount of leptin in our blood will be pretty high. This blood will flow to our brain where the leptin will go across the blood brain barrier (BBB) and attach to the leptin receptor (LEPR-B) in the arcuate nucleus, which is a part of your hypothalamus.
However, when you become leptin resistant, your fat cells still produce tons of leptin but your brain doesn’t seem to recognize it. (31) Obese people tend to have more leptin in their blood but yet they still feel hungry. (32)
So, someone with leptin resistance will eat a ton of food but still feel hungry and their metabolism will still be sluggish. It’s not surprising that many diabetics with insulin resistance also have leptin resistance. (33)
What Causes Leptin Resistance?
One reason for leptin resistance is high levels of triglycerides in our blood. This has been found to prevent leptin from crossing the blood brain barrier and reaching the leptin receptors in the brain. (34)
Inflammation is another factor that can contribute to leptin resistance. (35)
How to avoid or get rid of leptin resistance?
Luckily for us, leptin resistance can be reversed. (36)
Since leptin resistance is linked to high triglyceride levels, it would make sense to reduce triglyceride levels so that your leptin signaling pathway can start to work normally again.
Losing weight and getting rid of insulin resistance can also get your leptin pathway back to normal. So, following the other methods on this list will also help with leptin resistance.
A large glass of water 30 minutes before breakfast can make you eat less. (42)
And even a low calorie soup at the beginning of your meal can naturally prevent you from overeating. (41)
When you drink more water, you stretch out your stomach more, and you likely activate those stretch receptors that I mentioned at the beginning of this article. (42)
Lack of sleep is often linked to hunger. This is even the case in healthy young people after just 2 days of sleep restriction. (43)
And just one night of sleep deprivation followed by a stressful day could also cause increased hunger. (44)
Part of this could be because sleep helps to regulate leptin levels. (45) And as I discussed at length above, ensuring your leptin signaling pathway is normal really helps to prevent hunger when you’ve already eaten plenty.
Over 1/3 of the US adult population sleeps less than 7 hours per night. (46) So if you’re in that group, then increasing the amount you sleep each night will also help you curb hunger.
It’s unclear whether stress actually makes you more hungry. But it is clear that stress can increase your cortisol levels, which can make you eat more. (47)
So, de-stress because it makes you eat more and let’s face it, being stressed isn’t fun way to live!
You can also set yourself up to eat less just by being more aware of your eating habits.
Tricks you can use ensure you don’t overeat include: using a larger fork can help you eat less (50), wider and colored plate rims can make you feel like you’re eating more (51), and using small plates and bowls will also help you eat less (52).
As I pointed out in the first section of this article, hunger is a complicated process. And if you feel hungry all the time, then it could be a sign of some health problems. So, please go get that checked out and addressed before starting any diet.
The ketogenic diet is getting more and more popular, and for good reason – it’s helped a lot of people lose weight, get healthier, and get more energy.
So, in this article, I’ll detail what the ketogenic diet is, what do you eat, what don’t you eat, who should do it, and how best to get started on a ketogenic diet.
I’ll answer a lot of frequently answered questions in this post, from how it’s different to Atkins and Paleo to whether you need to take exogenous ketones and how to measure your ketone levels.
A ketogenic diet can be a fantastic tool, but just like the handy hammer, it’s important to understand what it is, when to use it, how you can use it properly, and what to do when it doesn’t work.
If you want to skip to a specific section, then just use the table of contents below:
A keto or ketogenic diet is a diet that causes your body to burn fat (in the form of ketones) rather than sugar (in the form of glucose/glycogen). I’ll explain a little more in detail below, but you basically do this by eating a lot of fat and very little carbohydrates.
There’s a lot of confusion about just how much fat, protein, and carbohydrates you should eat on a ketogenic diet, and that’s because there are now several types of ketogenic diets. Most of the research has focused on the very high fat (standard) ketogenic diet. But if you’re looking for weight loss benefits then a high-protein ketogenic diet might help more.
You’re tired and dizzy, you crave sugar, bread, pasta, and your mind wanders like crazy. You just started a ketogenic diet (or a Paleo or other low carb diet) and you’re suspicious if your new diet is making you feeling this crappy.
Removing carbohydrates from your diet all of a sudden may well be the reason why you’re barely able to concentrate on this sentence! This can happen even on a Paleo diet if you remove too many carbs from your diet. And all this feeling of crappiness is due to something people call Keto Flu (or Carb Flu). Read on to find out what is keto flu, how long keto flu lasts, and of course, how to cure keto flu.
(CARB FLU = KETO FLU)
If you're on a low carb diet or a ketogenic diet, then you might want to know exactly how many carbs you're taking in daily. And while nuts are generally pretty low in carbohydrates, there are some that are shockingly high in carbs like pumpkin seeds and chestnuts.
There are also other health concerns with nuts and seeds (like the fact that they are high in polyunsaturated fats and anti-nutrients), so try not to overeat them on keto or on any other diet.
We've listed below the carbohydrate content of various nuts and seeds. We've also calculated the net carbohydrate count for you.
Net Carbs = Total Carbs - Fiber
All the data for this table comes from the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. And to help you remember all the numbers, we've also prepared a handy infographic (scroll down the page for it). Please feel free to pin it and embed it on your site.Continue reading
I’ve often gotten asked what the difference between a Paleo and Gluten-Free diet is, and so in this post, I hope to get across to you the main differences as well as why I think Paleo is generally better than GF despite some similarities.
There’s also an infographic down below – please feel free to pin or embed it on your own website.
I’ll start by quickly defining each diet, and then the section after that will list the main differences between Paleo and Gluten-Free.
Generally, most people who are on a gluten-free diet just avoid gluten. So you’ve probably seen in health food markets or even in your local supermarket tons of packaged foods labeled gluten-free (or GF). What that means is that they don’t contain the protein called gluten, which is found in grains like wheat, barley, rye.
Often, instead of wheat, these gluten-free products contain other grains. So, gluten-free bread may be made from rice flour instead, and to make up for the taste difference, gluten-free packaged goods often contain additional sugar, preservatives, coloring, seed oils, etc.
I know this is a generalization since many diets, including Paleo, Primal, and most versions of low carb or keto are also gluten-free diets. And healthy kale chips can labeled gluten-free too.
But, gluten-free just means no-gluten. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything else. And while gluten is probably problematic regardless of whether you’re celiac or not, it’s not the only food that could be problematic to your health and weight.
One of the questions I frequently get asked from people just starting a Paleo diet is “why do I feel so weak when I start Paleo?”
This is a guest post by Melissa Gavencak.
In my household, I’m Paleo, the dog is Paleo, and my husband isn’t.
Whatever baby Genevieve chooses to be we’ll support, as long as she understands our house philosophy regarding food. The majority of what we eat is grown, gathered, hunted, or caught by us or someone we know.
Every year we try to get that majority closer to 100%, but it takes time, money, some readjusting and patience. My husband spends 16-18 hours at a time offshore fishing for our food. Does he love it? Is he putting food on our table? Does he have control over our food from the time it is caught until it enters our mouths? Yes to all those questions. But, he also misses us. It takes away from family time. It is costly. And, sometimes a fisherman does come home with an empty boat. There are years when we have success with our garden, and years when 15 tomato plants (yes, I know, nightshade family) yield two eight ounce mason jars of sauce, but we get by. Around mid-winter I get sick of venison, but it works out to $2 per pound after processing, and we know where it has been from the point of being killed to warming in our crockpot.
Knowing what it took to get our food on the table is of major importance to our family. We want to know how the animal lived and died to feed us, and how our veggies, fruits and even herbs were grown. If nothing else, I hope my daughter learns this from us. Respect of food, all food, and how it got to the plate.
It’s not easy to start the AIP (autoimmune paleo) protocol. Various foods like bread, cereal, nuts, seeds, tomatoes, eggs are all of a sudden off the list of foods you can eat, and you’re left wondering what on earth you can still eat!
So, we’ve created this handy guide to help you navigate the AIP diet and heal your body as quickly as possible.
You can also download this list as a printable PDF to stick on your fridge or to take with you when you go shopping.
Items in parentheticals are typically harder to find and not often used in most recipes. If you live somewhere where those items are easier to find and you want to give them a try, then by all means purchase them. Where applicable, items are linked so that you can purchase them on Amazon.com or elsewhere online.
This guest post is by Will from California Tea House. If you’re looking for some new teas to try, then why not give his favorites a try – the Fruity Dream is a blend of hibiscus blossoms, rose hip peels, apple preserves, kiwi bits, strawberry slices, elderberries, citrus peels, strawberries, marigold and cornflower blooms and apricots, and the Pomegranate Peony is a one of a kind blend of pomegranate preserves, rose-hips and stevia blended with the finest grade of white peony tea.
If you’re interested in buying some tea from California Tea House, then use this coupon code, PALEO10, to get 10% off plus free shipping.
Do you ever feel like you’ve gotten a little bit dumber as you aged?
I often do. I look back at some of the things I wrote or did 15 years ago, and I’m actually impressed. They were really smart.
And then I look at what I’ve done recently, and I don’t quite feel the same way…
It’s not an inevitable fact of aging, however. Most modern research points to the fact that we can not only retain our full mental faculties as we age, but we can actually improve them.
Here’s a new study on one way to do that:
If you’re new to essential oils, then you’re in for a treat. These oils have been used for thousands of years for health, relaxation, as well as ceremonies.
It’s no wonder that essential oils are more popular than they’ve ever been.
In this beginner guide to essential oils, I’ll show you the scientific reason why essential oils could be beneficial to your health – as well as 19 easy ways to use essential oils in your daily life.
Plus! If you click the button below, you can grab an awesome essential oil starter set for a big discount…
Here are a few basic facts about essential oils to help you get started.
The fountain of youth has been written about and sought out for over 2,500 years. It’s unlikely that we’re going to stumble upon the mythological fountain any day soon now.
However, modern technology is rapidly approaching the ability to slow down or even reverse aging. And until we get there, modern science is already pretty clear on exactly what causes aging and what we can do immediately to slow it down.
For instance, here’s a recent study (conducted on blackbirds) that deals directly with this question and comes to the same answer that pretty much all other studies are getting:
I recently got the following question from a reader…
A couple months ago my husband & I decided to join the Paleo lifestyle, and my body loved it! We both felt better, healthier, etc. But all of a sudden my husband started not feeling so well – every evening his stomach would hurt him, the bottoms of his feet also were hurting very bad & he was exhausted.
Every day, he was eating one non-Paleo meal, except for those 3 days when he started feeling bad. Some people told me that Paleo may not be right for him. He works in a physically demanding job. I got some dairy just for him & some gluten that is readily available when he needs. Why do you think his body is not taking well to Paleo?
In the US, saunas really aren’t all that popular. During the early part of the 20th century, there was an increase in popularity, but recently, interest has waned.
On the other hand, saunas have been a mainstay among those living in Scandinavia for thousands of years, and they’re particularly common and popular in Finland.
So it’s no surprise that a group of Finnish researchers conducted the following (very interesting and telling) study: