So many shades of satiety
Do you ever find yourself eating or snacking when you are not even hungry? Do you force yourself to finish everything on your dinner plate when you were satisfied by half of the portion on your plate? Do you often ask yourself, “Why did I eat the whole thing”? On the other hand, have you ever noticed that your hunger tends to abate, even when you weren’t able to eat? Unfortunately, satiety has no clear line. It has many shades of grey. It can be as elusive as it is present. This is because satieties relationship with our perception of hunger is so indirect that it often has little to do with how full our stomachs is or how much we think we should be eating, and more to do with the satiety inducing composition of the food itself. We chew, we swallow, we chew we swallow we chew . . . we know we began hungry so we keep chewing and swallowing with the expectation that satiety will arrive at some point. Sometimes it arrives quickly, sometimes not so quickly. For some it never seems to arrive at all. Obviously as far as our waistlines are concerned the sooner satiety arrives the better. When it does finally “happen” will we recognize it? And, if and when it does, will we recognize and dignify it by putting down the fork? Or, dismiss it as an inconvenient or perhaps arbitrary point of dining because there is too much food left on the plate? Or, chips in the bag? Or, time elapsed since you started eating because the conversation at the table it too fascinating to stop?
Eating to excess is nothing new to the human race. We are all occasionally guilty of over indulgence. In a way it’s not our fault. With the easy availability of cheap sugary, salty, triglyceride-filled foods we, or our parents, or our schools, have trained our bodies to be in a continual state of hunger only intermittently relieved by eating low satiety foods Most modern mens brains are as compulsively hungry for sugar as our stomachs are for easily digested foods that uptake in a second. Who has time for a balanced high-satiety meal when you have class in five minutes? Or kids to drop off at day care on the way to work? Fortunately this obesity epidemic is motivating many among us to unravel the mysteries of satiety. For instance, did you know that until your swallowing reflex operates you can’t experience an actual sense of having eaten? The question is; how many mouthfuls need pass our throats before our brain agrees to put the brakes on wanting more? This is the real question, the 64,000 calorie question—if I may.
We have also come to understand that both hunger and satiety are not confined to a single biological component. That there are many triggers, both physical and learned. Time triggers hunger, scents trigger hunger, images trigger hunger. Writing about hunger triggers hunger! (The very thought of all of this hunger is making me hungry!) But, time also triggers satiety. As do scents, and images trigger satiety. Colors trigger hunger. Colors also trigger satiety. I am sitting here imagining a mile-high sandwich filled with gorgeous roast beef, red tomatoes, green grapes. If I was a vegetarian I might be thinking about a plate of colorful vegetables; green, yellow, red, orange, emm. By the way, fast food franchises understand the power colors like no other. This is why they employ hunger inducing colors so prominently in their restaurants and logos. Satiety colors? Not so much. Arne Jacobsen, the eminent Danish architect puts lime green egg chairs to the windows of his European McDonalds stores. The color and subliminal shape has attract customers into the fastest segment of McDonalds franchises in the world. Arne would never use blue. Blue is an appetite suppressant. When was the last time you saw blue in fast food franchise decoration schemes? Never, that’s when.
If you spend a lot of time with your eyes in the refrigerator, you might consider screwing in a blue light bulb. Or, try eating off of blue plates—small blue plates. The smaller the plate the better as larger plates compel you to fill them. Black is also an effective appetite suppressing color which is why, with the exception of caviar, no one ever serves black food. It’s just not done.
Satiety, a trick of the tongue
Blue or black plates don’t go with your décor? The ever clever—and chronically thin—Chinese figured out that satiety could be achieved by placing the tongue (preferably your own) on the inside your upper teeth, then inhaling, holding your breath for ten seconds, and slowly exhaling for another ten seconds through the nose. Repeat this several times. I tried it. It feels a little odd at first but it is effective. Not only is it the swallowing reflex in play, but the deep breathing sends oxygen to all vital organs. The Chinese breathing method isn’t very satisfying because it doesn’t address other co-mechanisms of satiety, like taste, smell, stomach volume or even the eyes, all of which need to be exhausted if we are to achieve true satiety. It may work on a desert island devoid of delicatessens, but I personally don’t think it engaging, nor do I think it resonates with who and what we are—hungry people with access to more food than we can shake a fork at.
Satiety and worms?
A more extreme, and just as dissatisfying method to quell hunger in the land of plenty, would be to swallow a spoonful of gut worm larvae. I’m not kidding. The Japanese have recently reopened that can of worms. I say re-opened because gut worms were very popular technique to stay thin a hundred years ago when they was advertised in magazines and newspapers throughout America. Jockeys ate cans of them. Maria Callas ate them before singing the heck out of Porgi Amor (“Summertime, And the living is easy, Fish are jumpin’ . . .) that the worms were joining in, slithering around in Maria’s viscera. No wonder she hit those high notes with such gusto. Though not exactly satiety inducing the classical sense, gut worms do tend to gnaw through their hosts, leaving them in a state of physical nausea. The problem is that nausea isn’t really satiety, and I would find trying to get from nausea to satiety an impossible transition while contemplating a 35 foot creature slithering through my gut.
The Chinese breathing method a little too Spartan? Not interested in the possibility of an itchy anus from gut worms? Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) may just be a more realistic way to achieve and maintain. satiety. Buy HCG