Want to feel satisfied after a meal, while still losing weight? Consider the nutrient density of the food or fresh juice you are enjoying.
Your body knows the difference between 100 calories of Oreos® and a 100-calorie green juice. The nutrition in your food and beverage choices directly influences not only your overall health, but also how satisfied you feel afterward.
When you feel satisfied, you are less likely to succumb to a junk food snack-attack. And this helps you reach your weight loss and other health goals. When you are overfed but under nourished, your body will continue to send the signal to eat.
So how does your body know when you are nourished, or when you are “starving” for more nutrition?
Your Gut’s Chemosensory System
All along the lining of your digestive tract is a subtle chemosensory system that detects the nutrition and calories in every forkful or sip. It then sends that information to the hypothalamus which controls hunger.
So while the stretch receptors in your stomach are signaling fullness on a mechanical level, the chemoreceptors are sensing your “fullness” on a biochemical level.
A high fiber, plant-based diet of whole foods is critical for weight loss and weight maintenance. Bulky, fiber-filled vegetables and whole fruit are much lower in calories than meat, dairy, eggs, added sugar and oils.
Even more important than calories, plants provide micronutrients and phytochemicals not found in animal foods that fight disease and promote health. The nutrient density of unrefined plant foods triggers the chemosensory system, helping calm the drive to eat.
This chemosensory system also helps explain why a fresh vegetable juice can be so satisfying. In that 16-oz glass you have the nutrition of a couple of pounds of produce. The nutrient density tells your brain you are satisfied, and you are less likely to reach for highly processed snacks, sugary beverages or other less healthful foods.
How to Put Nutrient Density to Work
If you want to put the power of plants to work in your body, to help calm hunger and finally lose the weight that crept on and won’t go away, consider . . .
- Crowding out the processed food snacks with whole food snacks like whole fruit or cut up veggies.
- Swap sugary snacks or beverages for fresh raw vegetable juices sweetened with a little fruit.
- In place of meat, try beans, lentils, tofu, or Soy Curls®.
- In place of cheese, make a dairy-free cashew “cheese” sauce.
Check out the Juicy Plant-Based KickStart, a 6-week program to help you transition to a delicious, satisfying plant-based diet with ease.
Eat to Live, Joel Fuhrman, M.D.