How your Taste Buds Can prevent you from Overeating
Have you ever heard of the Law of Diminishing Returns?
It is often used to describe the experience alcoholics and drug-dependent people have when they’ve gotten past the point of enjoyment or efficacy of the substance, yet continue consuming it anyway in order to “chase the high” in vain.
We also do this with food.
Just think of that first bite of a chocolate truffle you’ve been hankering for. It’s exhilarating. So amazing in fact that dopamine is released throughout the brain, making us want more and more of it and fast. The second and third bites are equally delicious. But, for those who pay close attention, however, there is a point where our taste buds become saturated with that flavor and shut down communication to the brain that it’s still desired or even pleasurable.
This is when we start to ignore our bodily signals and may continue to overeat because of our emotional, psychological and habitual needs. We think we want more because it tastes so good, but in fact our taste buds are sated, begin to shut down and we often need a refractory period before we can derive pleasure from that food again.
Essentially, we try very hard to “chase the flavor high” but end up feeling disappointed. We continue to try and when we cannot recreate that thrill of the first bite, we keep eating anyway, hopeful that it will return. We then feel guilty for having blown the whole experience.
We also see this happen with different categories of flavors.
At a buffet, for instance, we may tire of the savory items and feel “full”, but then move on to something sweet or sour in an effort to feel that hit of flavor satisfaction once again.
It’s also why you always have a little bit of room for dessert (different flavor profiles enliven the taste buds again).
Overriding physical signals is not necessarily in itself a problem, (although we certainly beat ourselves up about it), but being unaware of such signals or ignoring them meal by meal can signal a major source of imbalance AND can partially explain why we overeat in the first place.
….and our food industry is not on board to help.
In fact, eating combinations of flavors makes it somewhat harder to be sensitive to taste-specific satiety. The food industry has capitalized on this. It's known as the "Bliss Point." Many manufacturers come up with the exact formula of sweet, fatty and salty flavors that “hook us” and create a craving loop based on the hit of pleasure and flavor we got in the beginning.
Why do you think you can’t just eat “one” potato chip or cookie? “Bliss point.”
Today I want to chat about 3 different types of sensory satisfaction our bodies can experience with food and how mindful, intuitive and slow eating can activate inner wisdom and deep communication with these mechanisms in our bodies.
There are 3 types of messages that the body gives you to know when to stop eating.
When you slow down, pay attention, and eat without distraction these messages can be heard loud and clear. For most people, including those who chronically diet, eat on-the-go and rarely even pay attention to the eating experience, our bodies slowly lose the ability to understand and connect with these signals. This is one of the reasons why I am such an advocate for mindful eating - because it not only helps us with the mind and body connection but it also tethers us to our own unspoken wisdom that guides us when to start and stop eating.
is the experience of just our belly’s being full. It can feel like your stomach being distended, bloated, and we typically only feel it in the stomach region. We may recall Thanksgivings of yesteryear where we’ve had to unbutton our pants and felt miserably full. Stomach fullness is a signal we feel very clearly. However, stomach fullness is usually not enough to make us stop thinking about or wanting food. For instance, you could eat 2 cups of raw carrots and feel very bloated and “full” but still want to eat something else an hour later. Why? If the body doesn’t feel satisfied OR the brain hasn’t received sufficient notice that eating has been pleasurable, the brain can’t send powerful notifications to your body to stop eating).
is the feeling that occurs with the gradual rise in blood sugar that begins soon after we start to eat – and continues after we stop – for 20 minutes or so, depending on the type of food eaten. Body satiety can be felt throughout your entire body and feels very satisfying. It's the experience you get when you’ve had a really hearty, balanced meal and you push away from the table feeling ready to move on with your day. It most often occurs after eating foods that have both fat and protein (and fiber) in them and without experiencing uncomfortable fullness.
or a drop in taste satisfaction - provides the quickest signal to stop eating. It is a valuable skill to learn how to get the maximum amount of enjoyment from a smaller amount of food. Taste satiety, fullness and body satiety are ways in which our bodies tell us that we’ve had enough, but when we overeat, we are often disconnected from these important and natural physical signals. Only you – not someone else, neither an expert nor a diet book – can tell you when these signals are occurring. This type of “inner wisdom” will make it easier to use “outer wisdom”, such as meal planning and being aware of caloric intake, because it allows for flexibility.
Now that you know so much more about your taste buds and body satiety, how will you try to connect more deeply with your body to activate these powerful signals more clearly?
One way is to start learning some very basic mindful eating techniques. Luckily, I have a free resource to help you do just that!
Join me for a free hour-long masterclass on the 4 foundational steps I’ve created to spark joy, find confidence and completely transform your relationship with food.
In this free webinar, run by yours truly, you’ll not only learn easy and hands-on techniques for bringing more mindfulness to your eating but also:
👉Hacks for regulating your hunger hormones to help you work WITH your body and your appetite
👉Why you keep overeating and binging despite everything you know about health and nutrition
👉How shifting this one common food belief can be a game-changer in healing your relationship with food once and for all.
As soon as you register, you’ll get my free Masterclass Action Plan which will help get you prepared for the webinar and also hone in on your own specific challenges with food.
Join me by clicking this LINK or clicking the image below.