The human body is an incredibly efficient machine. It knows what it wants. And for most people, their bodies want to hold onto as much body fat as possible. Hence the fixation in our modern culture on weight loss programs. A massive industry revolving around weigh loss has emerged because, as it turns out, losing fat is really hard. Most people will not be successful long term. Why? The simple fact of it is that our biology is stronger than our willpower. That’s why many fitness industry insiders have started to turn to “food hacks” to help people on weight loss journeys trick their biology into eating less.
What makes fat loss so difficult is the fact that adipose tissue, or fat, does not sit idly. Fat has its own metabolism, gene expressions, and hormones that regulate how it stores and burns. One such hormone, leptin, is a crucial part of satiation, or how full you feel, after a meal.
When you eat dietary fat, the digestion process releases leptin, which tells the brain when to feel full. Body fat also releases leptin. Therefore, body fat plays a role in satiation. The leptin from body fat sets a baseline that the brain gets used to, and when body fat levels drop, the brain requires more leptin from dietary sources, i.e. food, to feel full.
In simpler terms, the more body fat you burn, the more food your brain will crave. It’s a failsafe system developed over thousands of years of famines to coax us to maintain stored fat and to replenish after a period of starvation. But in today’s world, it means this: people who try to lose weight are forced by their biology to overeat later, and this causes a cycle of weigh-loss/weight-gain.
The food hack to help you feel fuller on less food.
If leptin controls satiation, then leptin is the key to tricking the brain into eating less. As mentioned above, leptin is released when dietary fat is consumed. Therefore, there is a way to use certain foods to trigger the brain to feel fuller.
The trick is simple: eat a small amount of healthy fats ten to fifteen minutes before eating a meal. This will trigger a release of leptin before you sit down to lunch or dinner, and will trick the brain into feeling fuller on less food. The timeframe — ten to fifteen minutes — also gives the fats time to be digested and to trigger a release of leptin.
What foods should you eat to benefit the most from this hack? Walnuts. That’s it. Half a serving of walnuts ten to fifteen minutes before your next meal will help you to feel much fuller on much less food. It’s a small amount of calories from fat, so they will not contribute significantly to your overall caloric intake, and the leptin contained in walnuts is quite high. Other sources of healthy fats are pecans, almonds, and cashews.
To recap, eating half a service of walnuts ten to fifteen minutes before a meal will help you feel fuller on less food. This will help with your weight loss goals and prevent overeating on days you feel particularly hungry.