It’s after lunch and you’re contently sipping your coffee. Then a delicious smell wafts in your direction and you immediately crave whatever is on that plate passing by.
But you’ve just eaten … Sounds familiar?
No, it is not your poor self-control. Having a full stomach and uncontrollable cravings at the same time means that the reason you feel this way is not hunger. And gene testing can reveal a potential reason!
Blame it on the genes
Satiety is the feeling of having your stomach full after eating a meal. The feeling of hunger, on the other hand, is our body messaging us that we need food. And the culprit for your never-ending cravings can be a gene called FTO. Scientists have discovered that there is a link between the feeling of satiety and the FTO gene. Research unveiled that the carriers of unfavourable copies of the FTO gene have a harder time reaching the feeling of satiety compared to people with favourable copies. If you have one unfavourable copy, it will be two times harder for you to reach the feeling of satiety. If you have two unfavourable copies, it will take four times the effort of the people with two favourable copies.
Having unfavorable copies of the FTO gene usually corresponds to eating more, which can influence the numbers on your scale. In this sense FTO gene can affect your weight; together with other genes such as the fat burning gene and the gene that affects weight loss regain or the yo-yo effect.
Is the feeling of hunger also gene-regulated? Yes! Hunger is our body’s response to lack of food. It is regulated by the hypothalamus in our brain, but can be influenced by several factors; sleep, body weight, food, our environment and – genes, namely the NMB gene. People with an unfavorable variant of the NMB gene are almost two times more susceptible to feeling hunger.
Cravings as a consequence of stress or dehydration
It might not be all genetics, though. When the going gets tough we seek comfort in all sorts of diversions, from music to sports, but the food is at the top of that list. Having cravings all the time can actually mean that you’re stress-eating. It can mean that you are dehydrated, or even that you are simply – bored. Food is an essential component of our lives, so take care to only use it to sustain your body.
Get control over your insatiability
In order to effectively keep your cravings (and waistline) in check, find out what kind of an FTO gene you have, then get your willpower on board and adapt your nutrition accordingly. If your genes really are to blame, eating plenty of foods that are high in fibre helps. Since fibre is indigestible but has mass (and low-calorie count), you will feel more sated.
Until you find out what your genes have to say about your constant cravings, be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid that chocolate by grabbing a good book, putting on your favourite music or going for a run instead!