Satiety and hunger

There is a difference between happiness and pleasure. A shitty diet consisting of processed foods and sugars will give you moments of pleasure but make you unhappy over time.  Another aspect of eating is that food is habit forming.

Satiety is the sensation that you've had enough to eat. It comes from a balance of hormonal and neurological signals reaching your brain from your stomach. Your stomach and intestines are not simply a bag with a long tube attached. Your gut actually contains neurons, bacteria and hormones that are linked to the brain via the vagas nerve. Ghrelin is your primary hunger stimulating hormone. It is secreted from the stomach and circulates to your brain where it triggers the need to eat. When your stomach is empty or blood sugar is low, ghrelin levels rises. Ghrelin is a fast-acting hormone, which plays a role in meal initiation

Levels of ghrelin are lowered by:

  • Eat your veggies. Non-starchy vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage are high in both water and fiber. They stretch out your stomach, which lowers your ghrelin levels and keeps them low for longer.
  • Eating protein and healthy fats with each meal. This slows the digestive process and slows the rate at which food is emptied from your stomach. The longer you have food in your stomach, the longer your ghrelin levels stay low.
  • Low calorie diets (diets increase ghrelin production).
  • Eating high fibre foods (eg kale, artichoke).
  • Using probiotics to improve gut health.
  • Eating adequate omega 3 fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA, from oily, cold-water fish like salmon, sardines, anchovies or mackerel. Studies have shown that insufficient omega 3 intake increases ghrelin production.
  • Reducing stress and improving sleep.
  • Apple cider vinegar is one of the healthiest ingredients you can add to your diet because of its effect on lowering ghrelin.
  • Avoid fructose (specifically from sugar and  so yhigh fructose corn syrup) because it does not trigger insulin production. You can keep consuming fructose without the suppression of ghrelin. Fast foods are laden with fructose and contain low levels of fibre.

To accommodate a big meal, your stomach has to expand from the size of a orange to around 2 litres. We used to think that stretch receptors in the stomach told the brain when the stomach was full, time to stop eating. But it turns out that the hunger signals produced by your stomach are far more sophisticated than that.


Leptin is a hormone predominantly made by adipose cells (fat cells) that helps to regulate energy balance. Leptin tells your brain that you have enough energy stored in your fat cells to engage in normal metabolic processes. Leptin's primary target is in the brain, particularly an area called the hypothalamus.  Leptin binds to protein in the blood, and when leptin reaches capillaries in the brain, it travels across the blood-brain barrier, binding to leptin receptors on the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus.  Leptin lets your hypothalamus know when it’s time for you to stop eating, then it increases your metabolic rate in order to achieve energy balance. Leptin tells the TRH (thyroid releasing hormone) in your hypothalamus to set the thyroid hormones on low energy.

Leptin is opposed by the actions of the hormone ghrelin. When fat mass increases, so do leptin levels and appetite is suppressed until weight loss occurs. In this way leptin regulates energy intake and fat stores so that weight is maintained within a narrow range.

The pancreas releases glucagon when the concentration of glucose in the bloodstream falls too low. Glucagon is fast acting and causes the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose. Glucose signals the release of insulin, which then triggers leptin, which is responsible for signaling to your body that it is full thus causing you to want to stop eating.

Another reason fructose is terrible for you

Fructose does not signal insulin to be secreted, so leptin will not be triggered and you can over-eat. Fructose is processed in the liver and leads  to weight gain.

MSG and leptin

Avoid MSG (monosodium glutamate) as it makes your appetite spiral out of control. Your body loses its ability to tell that it’s full because MSG suppresses leptin.

How to increase leptin levels

  • Eat healthy fats and protein in the morning to create building blocks for your hormones.
  • Make sure you’re getting enough Omega 3 in your diet from grass-fed meat, fish or high quality oils.
  • Reduce fructose and sugar of any kind from your diet.
  • Eliminate refined or processed foods.
  • Don’t count calories, let the food do the healing.
  • Reduce stress
  • Don't do a yo-yo diet. Crash diets won’t boost your leptin sensitivity, and are unlikely to help you lose weight. If you do lose the weight, you are likely to gain it back again quickly.