Health & Diet

Weight loss: Dr Michael Mosley on how to feel fuller for longer to help lose weight

Hunger can affect lots of things including mood. This can cause people to overeat and thus gain weight. Dr Michael Mosley is the journalist and qualified doctor who invented The Fast 800 diet, based on cutting your calorie intake to just 800 a day for the first couple of weeks. He explains that there are three steps in achieving satiety and levitating the regular feelings of hunger.

Saying fuller for longer will help you reduce your calorie intake thus helping you to lose weight. Decreasing your calorie intake will put your diet into a calorie deficit which is where you burn more calories than you are consuming.

You need to be in a calorie deficit to lose any amount of weight big or small.

Step one: Fluid, Fats and Fibre

Water

Dr Mosley says: “Did you know that many of us are walking around in a constant state of dehydration, totally unaware of the health risk being dehydrated poses? When you’re not getting enough water, you’ll be sluggish, lethargic, and most likely mistake thirst for hunger. Drinking plenty of water can help you feel fuller for longer, so make sure you stay hydrated.”

Healthy fats

The expert explains: “We’ve been told all our lives to avoid fat. In response, the food industry has offered a range of sugar-laden low-fat ‘diet’ foods; obesity rates, meanwhile, continue to soar.

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“But far from being a cause of weight gain, ‘good’ fats – rich in mono-and polyunsaturates – powerfully curb the appetite, slowing the rate at which the stomach empties and so delaying the point at which it signals for more food. To feel fuller for longer, select olive oil, nuts, oily fish and (in moderation) full-fat dairy products.”

Fibre

Dr Mosley continues: “The more fibre you eat, the happier your gut will be. Fibre promotes a better gut microbiome, increasing the levels of good-mood chemicals that are picked up by your brain.

“In addition, fibre induces release of a chemical called “PYY” which reduces appetite. To feel fuller for longer, then, pile your plate with fresh vegetables (especially greens), unprocessed grains and legumes.”

Step two: Eat more protein, and eat it first

Protein can help you stay full up and studies show that it reduces your hunger hormone. It also boosts the levels of a hormone known as peptide which makes you feel full.

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Dr Mosley explains: “It is well known that moderately increasing the amount of protein in your diet can help you to feel more satisfied after meals. What is less well known, though, is that the time of day that you eat protein also matters.

“To test whether protein at the first meal of the day could help people to feel fuller for longer, a US-based study in 2014 divided volunteers into three groups.

“One group ate a breakfast containing 35g of protein; the second group ate breakfast containing 13g protein; the third group, meanwhile, skipped breakfast altogether. Later on that morning, the volunteers were tested for levels of dopamine, the chemical that drives our reward circuits. They were also asked to rate the intensity of their pre-lunch food cravings.

“The results were clear: of all groups, the high-protein breakfast group recorded the highest dopamine levels and lowest pre-lunch food cravings.

“Eating protein at the first meal of the day helps you to feel fuller for longer because after a protein meal, levels of a chemical called tyrosine – a building-block for dopamine – rise inside the brain. By increasing its own dopamine supply as the next meal approaches, the brain experiences a much weaker dopamine hit’ from high-calorie food.

“This does not, of course, mean that you have to eat breakfast early in the day. For many, a midday ‘breakfast’ helps to extend the period of non-eating and so draws down the full benefits of fasting. But what it does mean is that when you do break your fast, eating a higher-protein meal will help to stave off sugar cravings later on.”

Incorporating a high level of protein into your diet is crucial when weight loss is your aim.

High protein foods including lean meats, poultry, eggs, dairy products as well as nuts and legumes.

Step three: Avoid junk food

The expert says: “Have you ever wondered why it is so hard, once you have started eating junk food, to stop? Just as the right foods help you to feel fuller for longer, the wrong foods can do the exact reverse, throwing our brains into a cascade of craving.

“Junk food is trap food, designed to make you lose money and gain pounds. As a guide, the more aggressively it is advertised, the worse it probably is for you.

“If you want to feel fuller for longer, keep away from it. When you’re out and about, bring a packed lunch; likewise, if you have to keep a stock of high-calorie snacks in the house for children, keep it locked up and away from the kitchen.

“To feel fuller for longer, then, take a few simple steps – choose more of the right foods – especially good fats and fibre – avoid the wrong foods, eat protein, and eat it early. Like happiness, fullness really is a gut feeling.”

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