How Long Does It Take Your Brain to Register That the Stomach Is Full?

How many times have you filled up your plate with food, stuffed your face then walked away feeling so full you can hardly move? How many times have you felt so hungry that you ordered the super size meal and ate every bit? How many times have you felt obligated to clean your plate or finish something so it didn’t go to waste? Well stop it!
First a biology lesson from

“Your brain and stomach register feelings of fullness after about 20 minutes, mentions Cara Stewart, dietitian and nutritionist, in a “Penn Metabolic & Bariatric News” article. During this time, receptors inform the brain that your body is receiving nutrients by sending hormone signals. The hormone cholecystokinin is released by your intestines and the hormone leptin tells your brain about your long-term needs and overall satiety based on how much energy your body is storing. Leptin may amplify the signals that cholecystokinin sends to enhance your sense of fullness and it may help the neurotransmitter dopamine give you feelings of pleasure after eating, according to Ann MacDonald, editor of “Harvard Mental Health Letter.” If you eat too fast, these hormones may not have enough time to properly communicate.”

That means you have been stuffing your pie hole for 20 minutes and don’t even know you have had enough.

Here are some great suggestions I have collected through my research and wanderings through Pinterest.

  1. Use smaller plates and/or bowls.  You would be amazed at how well this works. We want to fill our plates then we fill obligated to clean our plates. Trick your brain by using smaller plates. This also helps with portion control.
  2. Drink water before and during the meal. We often confuse our thirst reflex with hunger so drink about 1 cup of water before you eat and take a good drink after every 2-3 bites. Adding high fiber foods to the mix will help you feel fuller faster and is good fr the digestion.
  3. Eat slower.  Stop eating on the run, take time to sit and enjoy your meal. Have a good conversation and don’t rush. This will give you time to properly chew and digest your food and give time for your stomach to signal your brain it is full.
  4. Eat high fiber foods and vegies first. –  Fiber mixed with water helps to give you a full feeling faster. By eating your more nutritious foods first you will fill up faster on good nutritious calories and not waste space on high fat/high calorie food.
  5. Take Breaks –  Eat 1/3 of your meal and take a break for 2 minutes. Have a conversation, clear the table, read something, then eat another 1/3 of your meal. You may find that after the first of second break you feel full.

There are so many hints and tips on controlling your food intake. Don’t try and do them all, pick one and find out what works for you.  The best advice is to eat smaller portions and give it some time. If you are still hungry after 20 minutes then go ahead and had have seconds.


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