Please sir my MORs want a little MORE

protein knocks down the endorphinsAre you trying to keep your appetite in check through willpower ?

Let’s face it – this approach is do-able, but DIFFICULT.

Generally speaking you can keep it going for a while, maybe long enough to fit into that special dress for a significant occasion.

But overriding your body’s hunger drive using psychology, is hard work and probably doomed to eventual failure. This is why yo-yo dieting is the norm, not the exception. It’s much easier if you use a little body chemistry, to keep your appetite in check

The power of protein

As a rule, protein foods tend to fill you up.

This is why an egg on toast, breakfast, can keep you going till lunchtime, but a huge bowl of rice krispies can leave you with the mid-morning munchies.

So what is behind the “I am full” message ?

French scientists think proteins in some foods, might be jamming up a few switches, leading to “I am full” feelings.

Interfering with MOR

MOR may look a lot like MORE, but I did not accidently leave off the E. MOR is a short hand way of referring to the mu-opioid receptors .

Ironically, the MOR receptors do actually work like a MORE switch. When they get triggered, you typically want more to eat.

Opioids are normally associated with happy head feelings, not gut feelings – think heroin and codeine. But it turns out, mother nature includes MOR receptors in a variety of spots around the body.

The spot that is triggering the MORE eating, is a set of MOR receptors lining the major blood vessel, known as the hepatic portal vein. The hepatic portal vein is responsible for transporting the nutrients and things that have been fished out the intestine to the liver. The liver then cooks up a storm, dishing out nutrients to the rest of the body.

Bits of protein jam up MORs

When proteins, such as meat and milk are digested, they get broken down into smallish bits of protein, referred to as peptides.

As these peptides make their way from the intestine to the liver, they encounter the MOR receptors. Some of these peptides are just the right size and shape, for the peptides to plop on top of these MOR receptors.

But, when the peptides land on a MOR receptor, they end up jamming it, so it no longer is able to respond normally.

Jammed MORs end up not sending a signal to the brain, demanding MORE to eat, so the hunger neurons get to take a load off, while the satiety neurons do their thing. As long as these peptides are interfering with MOR activity, you feel pretty full i.e. you appetite is suppressed.

Mice without MORs always want MORE

The MOR story has come to light, because the French research team genetically tinkered with mice so that they were missing MORs. The MOR less mice showed no signs off “feeling full” following a high protein meal.

Since human MORs are a lot like mouse MORs – the research team believe, the inhibition of MORs is what makes humans feel full, following a protein meal.

Jam your MORs

So to keep a check on your appetite, you want to jam your MORs, more often than not.

Fortunately, you don’t need drugs to do this, just make sure when you load up your plate, you include a healthy dollop of protein, by obeying the rule of thirds.

PS. If you’re feeling flat, munching a bit of protein will also ring the brain’s alarm clock

Mu-Opioid Receptors and Dietary Protein Stimulate a Gut-Brain Neural Circuitry Limiting Food Intake. Cell (2012) Celine Duraffourd, Filipe De Vadder, Daisy Goncalves, Fabien Delaere, Armelle Penhoat, Bleuenn Brusset, Fabienne Rajas, Dominique Chassard, Adeline Duchampt, Anne Stefanutti, Amandine Gautier-Stein, Gilles Mithieux
 

Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind your appetite ? 

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Further reading

an exercise session suppresses appetite big aromas lead to smaller bites eating protein saves your muscles
Is a little hard labour the key to silencing the appetite neurons ? Smelly bites are smaller bites so chew on smelly food when on diet Eating protein saves your muscles while the fat cells burn

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

balance eicosanoids rein in insulin dial down stress sleep vitamin D microflora think
Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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