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If you are trying to lose weight, and most Americans are, the enemy is hunger. Where does it come from? What is the source: the brain or the stomach? Actually, it is both. There are things you can do to suppress the cravings in both.

Whey protein isolate, which is a highly purified, natural dairy protein, potato enzyme extract found in white potatoes has been clinically proven to satisfy your brain, which controls your emotional and mental cravings, beta-glucan swells in your stomach and slows your stomach’s emptying process. What that does is prolong the absorption of energy from food and reduces the absorption of fat, creating a lasting feeling of fullness. Inulin (not insulin), which is derived from the chicory root or Jerusalem artichoke, provides soluble fiber that expands and further slows the stomach’s emptying process, so you feel full longer. Look for these natural ingredients when choosing supplements to aid in your weight loss regime.

Only 31% of people in the United States are either of a healthy weight or underweight. Obesity poses a serious health threat since it is strongly related to serious diseases like heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, and cancer. This incurs about 147 billion, that’s right billion, in medical costs. Why do we have so much trouble keeping our weight down?

In a word, sugar. Even in times of scarcity, there is no scarcity of sugar. Sugar and the craving for it support our “large brain” cravings. The availability of sugar further complicates the consumption process. Hunger has psychological causes and we often feel hungry when our stomachs are full. It is false to assume that we are only hungry when our stomachs are empty. There are three types of cues, which have nothing to do with satiation.

External sensory cues which defy the simple concept that we eat when we are hungry and stop eating when we are full. These cues include: taste, sight, and cognition. These all lead to the conclusion that, regardless of their state of “stomach hunger”, sensory cues can influence people to consume food even if they are not hungry. External normative cues have also been shown to influence how much we eat. People have a tendency to finish the food that is on their plate, not surprisingly, given the huge portion sizes in America (compared to France, for example), America’s obesity rate is 35% and France’s is only 7%. The external normative cue can lead to eating more without even realizing it without feeling more sated afterward.

Finally, there are social cues. Eating with others increases consumption by some 60%. Therefore eating with others can cause individuals to consume more than they would have if they had otherwise eaten alone. Overeating and obesity are not only costly problems financially, but pose a serious health risk to hundreds of millions of Americans. Evaluating the nature of the problem, we do not simply “overeat” when our stomachs are full, we overeat for an entire host of reasons that are purely psychological. So, as you examine your diet protocol, remember the brain and NOT just the stomach can be the ultimate answer. Treat both.