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How your body tells you that you are overeating

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‘Avoid overeating’. It’s a common piece of advice we all hear. But how do you know when you are full? When do you stop? Well, your body has a very fine-tuned system in place and it does not only entail the working of your stomach. Wondering how you can read its signals? Here’s how your body tells you, you’re full.

The feedback mechanism

Did you know that it takes 20 minutes for your brain to respond to signals from your stomach that it is full? One of the most basic mechanisms it uses is when your stomach expands due to the food that you eat. This expansion of the walls of your stomach sends a signal to your brain which then helps tell you to stop eating.

Apart from that, your body produces a hormone called ghrelin, which signals hunger (or when your stomach empties), which reduces when you eat — satiating your desire to eat.

While this is the simple version, there are a number of things that can affect how full you are feeling. The portion size, the variety of food you eat, whether you like what’s served, the way the food looks and smells, your emotional state and the social setting you are eating in can make you overindulge and overeat.

But how many times have you felt that you went a little overboard with that dinner? Here are the two key signals you should look out for.

The taste of food will change

The first place that the digestion of the food starts is in your mouth when you chew your food. You saliva is equipped with chemicals that not only help partially break down the food you are eating, it also sends a signal to your brain to prepare your stomach to start secreting digestive juices.

This mechanism also comes into play when you are full. Your stomach lining starts to stretch and tell your brain that you are full. This message is transmitted to your mouth from your brain. In response, your taste buds react and stop really picking up the taste of the food you are eating. This results in a change in the taste of the food you are eating. Experts say that the sensation is very subtle but noticeable if you really pay attention.
A good way to pick up on this cue is to eat slowly and really savour what you are eating. Not only is this a great way to satiate your hunger quicker, it also aids in better digestion.

So the next time the food you are eating stops tasting as good as it did when you initially started to eat, know that you are full.

The sensation of being full

We all sit down to eat, and the position tends to press down on your stomach, making it shrink in size. Therefore when you eat, you may feel full faster. Since your stomach sends signals of you being full when the inner lining of your stomach stretches, you might be difficult to actually figure out if you are full or not.

But there is a way to avoid this. To help you figure out if you are satiated is to stand up in the middle of your meal and sense what your stomach actually feels like. If you feel comfortable but not over-full, you have eaten enough. But beware, if you do this at the end of your meal and feel bloated and uncomfortable you have eaten too much.

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