10 Health Lessons Learned

By Karen Ansel, M.S., R.D., "What We’ve Learned," July/August 2012

Find out how nutrition science has evolved in the past decade. Here's what we know now—and didn’t then.

"Such a well sourced article Karen! It's very interesting to see how the common-knowledge assumptions change over time, thanks for the read! "

10. Our bodies don’t want us to lose weight for good
If you’ve ever lost weight only to gain it back again, you’ll be glad to know it might not necessarily be your willpower that’s the problem. “Your body is constantly striving for equilibrium,” says Villacorta. “When you do anything to disrupt that equilibrium, your body tries to tell you to eat more by altering production of hormones that control hunger.”

Losing weight wreaks havoc on your hunger hormones in two ways: it triggers a decrease in hormones that suppress appetite, such as leptin and cholecystokinin, and boosts production of hormones that tell you to eat, namely ghrelin and neuropeptide Y. A 2011 <3m>New England Journal of Medicine study of 50 dieters found that, even a full year after losing weight, the volunteers’ hunger hormones failed to return to pre-weight-loss levels.

The good news is you can eat to outsmart those hormones. “Skipping or delaying meals causes ghrelin, and your appetite, to increase,” says Villacorta. “Eating every three to four hours will help control your appetite.” At least that’s news we like to hear.

Karen Ansel, M.S., R.D., is a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a regular contributor to EatingWell. Her third book, The Calendar Diet (Wagging Tail Press), came out in March.

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