Can the gut influence our appetite, weight loss, and what we crave?
The gut is increasingly being recognised as playing a crucial role in maintaining both our physical and mental health.
One of the ways our gut microbiota communicates with our brain is via neuroactive substances it produces, which are called SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids). Our gut microbiota is able to produce these upon fermenting dietary fibre. These help with managing inflammation, the immune system and the overall health of the brain.
There is some evidence that the SCFA propionate, along with other hormones in the gut, can influence appetite, so it isn’t implausible to suggest that cravings may be driven in part by your gut microbiota. If our gut barrier becomes breached, resulting in an overall state of inflammation in the body, this may also interfere with the brain receiving cues that we’ve had enough to eat. This is just one reason of many of why it is so important to maintain a healthy gut.
Certain hormones produced in our gut also help to manage switching our appetite on and off. So, if you’re rushing through your meal, it may be the case that those hormones haven’t had enough time to switch on and off. A lot of us eat quickly then think “oh I need something sweet”, then ten minutes later we’re absolutely stuffed. So, I recommend pausing between mouthfuls, and waiting ten minutes before launching into dessert after a meal.
Really it’s about tuning back into our feeling of being properly satiated. In our modern society we can eat what we want, when we want, so sometimes it can be really hard to tune into those signals. This is why using meal times as pockets of recovery and taking time to be present is a really important part of this.
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