A species of bacteria inhabiting the human stomach can give off a feeling of fullness during eating, according to new research conducted in France.
Scientists from Rouen University have discovered that when people eat, gut bacteria known as E. coli also take in much needed nourishment for themselves.
When these microorganisms have their fair share of the food, however, they produce proteins associated with appetite-suppressing hormones, causing their host to experience a feeling of fullness. This often occurs around 20 minutes after people begin to eat.
The study, which is featured in the journal Cell Metabolism, is the first of its kind to investigate how the activity of microbes within the human body is able to influence the behavior of their host.
Sergueï O. Fetissov and his colleagues found that the ClpB protein typically produced by E. coli bacteria after meals trigger the release of peptide YY (PYY) hormones in human hosts.
This release of PYY is what the researchers believe to cause the brain to think that it has already satiated its hunger.
E. coli bacteria, however, is just one of the many species of bacteria found in the human colon. Fetissov and his team expect to make further discoveries in their analysis of these microorganisms, which could then be used to develop treatments for obesity and eating disorders.
Mind Tricks to Control Hunger Pangs
The production of PYY hormones may be able to trick the human brain to curb the feeling of hunger, but there are other ways to control the appetite as well.
1. Know What to Drink and When to Drink
When the stomach reaches its maximum capacity, the sensors of the digestive system triggers a response in the amygdala of the brain that signals the body to stop eating, regardless of what caused the stomach to be filled.
One way to trick the body to think that it is full is to fill the stomach with water. Nutrition advisor Alan Aragon says this can be done by drinking a glass of water 30 minutes before eating and sipping frequently while consuming a meal.
People can also eat food rich in water, such as fruits, vegetables, salads and soups, to fill the gut without taking in too much calories.
2. Avoid Distractions during Meals
People should also avoid distractions while eating as these could cause them to eat longer and take in more food without even noticing it.
Watching television, listening to music or using a computer during meals can disrupt the sending of satiation signals from the brain to the stomach, making it more difficult for people to monitor the amount of food they eat.
Distractions can also cause people to overeat unhealthy foods.
3. Consume More Fiber
Eating more fiber can help the body draw nutrients and water from foods better and transfer them to the intestinal tract. This also helps satiate the feeling of hunger, according to a study by the University of Washington.
Research featured in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2009 has found that placing an addition six grams of soluble fiber to yogurt allowed it to have the satiating effect of an additional 260 calories.
Dieters can add 25 grams (0.88 ounce) to 35 grams (1.23 ounces) of fiber to the food they eat every day to help satiate the feeling of hunger better.
Photo: Alan Cleave | Flickr