Hunger is a very trainable thing, eat just enough, not more: Dr Gita Arjun
It was at a recent book launch that I had the opportunity of meeting Dr Gita Arjun, an eminent obstetrician and gynaecologist in Chennai. During the event, she had spoken about obesity. Therefore, when catching up with the doctor after the launch, I asked her if there was no mechanism or sensor in the body to tell us that we have eaten enough.
“The body does have what is known as a satiety centre, which tells the body you are full, that you are satiated,” says Dr Gita. “But, unfortunately, in modern life, because we have access to so much excess food, we just forget that, and we overstuff ourselves.”
It may sound bizarre, but it seems you can train your body to overeat. “Take, for example, people who are running, marathon runners; body is telling them that it is very painful, but they go over and above that and push those pain sensors down, and keep running. The same way, what happens is that by overeating, we shut off this satiety centre,” explains the doctor.
“Once you shut off this satiety centre, you are losing the normal ways that you should be eating; you eat too much. For instance, in a buffet, you eat, your hunger is gone, but you eat more, because that particular sweet looks better, that particular dish looks better. So, we constantly blunt the satiety centre. If you blunt the satiety centre, you start overeating. You don’t realise that you are no longer hungry.”
Hunger is a very trainable thing, and actually the body requires very little to survive, reasons Dr Gita. “You don’t have to starve. Only, we have to educate ourselves what our body requires.”
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