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Many, many, years ago, I asked my little daughter who was 5 or 6 at the time, why she couldn’t finish her vegetables but still very much wanted her dessert.  She told me, “Poppy don’t you know that desserts go into a different stomach?”

Well, as it turns out, she wasn’t far from wrong.  No, we don’t have two different stomachs, but researchers from Italy propose that our brains do react differently to foods that we love.

We have all eaten many meals where we are completely full, maybe even stuffed, and we can’t eat another bite of the main course, but still find room to eat some tempting treat or dessert.

These researchers explored how our bodies react when aroused by irresistible treats. They suggest that regardless of how full we are, our bodies are chemically predisposed to seek gratification from foods that we love.

They studied “hedonic hunger” (hunger that comes about due to the need for gratification as opposed to caloric deficit).

The study which was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism was small only involving 8 people, so therefore is preliminary but still very interesting and suggestive.

In the early history of man, a consistent source of food was not guaranteed and depending upon hunting conditions and weather, one could go for days without eating.  So the need to overload on food when it was available, to protect against those times when it wasn’t, made sense.  This is referred to as “homeostatic” hunger. (hunger that comes about when we need to protect and sustain our basic life functions.)

That is certainly not the case, in modern times, so why do we still overeat despite the fact that we are full and usually don’t have to worry about where our next meal is coming from?  Is it possible that many of us eat “just for fun” (hedonistic hunger) and is this hunger caused by biochemical signals that are hard to resist?

The eight people studied were between the ages of 21-33. They were all healthy, not over-weight and free of any eating or dieting disorders.

The participants were fed healthy breakfasts. After an hour, they were asked how hungry they felt and were then presented with what they had previously told the researchers were their favorite food.  They were not allowed to eat the food, just see and smell it.  Later on, they were allowed to eat it.

The participants were then asked how hungry they were now, after being exposed to their favorite treat.

A month later, they went through the same test. They were fed the same breakfast. After an hour passed, the researchers asked them how hungry they were and then exposed them to a bland food combination that they were only allowed to see and smell. Later on, they were allowed to eat it.

Although the participants felt equally full after eating each of the two breakfasts, their desire, urge to eat and appetites were significantly higher after being exposed to their favorite treat as opposed to the bland food offering.

In addition, after eating their favorite food as compared to eating the bland food choice,  the blood tests of each of these people revealed, that ghrelin, a hormone made in the stomach that is a signal of hunger, jumped significantly and remained high for 2 hours, but decreased after eating the bland food option.

In other words, seeing, smelling and eventually eating the “tempting treat” actually caused significant increases in hunger that continued for 2 hours.

The take-away from this study is:  The mere presence of your favorite treats in your home can lead you to thinking about them and artificially increase your appetite and sense of hunger, even though you have previously eaten and consumed enough calories for your health and homeostatic hunger needs.

The solution is clear.


If you want to lose weight, avoid developing type II diabetes, heart disease and possibly even cancer, follow this simple advice.

Curt Hendrix M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S.

Calculate the Calories You Need for Maximum Weight Loss Results

Counting Calories

If you have ever thought about going on a diet, you probably know that to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume from your meals.

Calories are units of energy contained in the foods you eat. So you need to be able to answer the question, “How many calories do I need to consume every day, given my particular lifestyle and level of activity to BREAK EVEN?” (By break even I mean the number of calories you can consume daily, that will neither cause weight loss or weight gain).

In order to calculate this “break even” number of calories, you first have to determine your “BMR” (basal metabolic rate). In simple terms this is the number of calories you need to fuel basic body functions only. Imagine getting up and staying in bed and not walking or doing any other kind of work or exercise. The amount of calories required to do this is your BMR.

A simple formula allows both men and women to calculate their BMR.

For women:

Multiply your weight in pounds by 4.35 (write down that amount, and call it # 1).

Multiply your height in inches by 4.7 (write down that amount, and call it # 2).

Multiply your age in years by 4.7 (write down that amount, and call it # 3).

Add # 1 and # 2 together and to that amount add 655 (write that down and call it # 4).

Finally, subtract # 3 from # 4 (#4 minus #3) and THAT IS YOUR BMR in calories.

For men:

Multiply your weigh in pounds by 6.23 (write down that amount and call it # 1).

Multiply your height in inches by 12.7 (write down that amount and call it # 2).

Multiply your age in years by 6.8 (write down that amount and call it # 3).

Add # 1 and # 2 together and to that amount add 66 (write that down and call it # 4).

Subtract # 4 from # 3 (#3 minus #4) and that amount is your BMR in calories.

Remember your BMR is just the minimum amount of calories you need to keep your body functions running, it doesn’t’ reflect the additional calories you need to provide energy for walking around and doing physical tasks. So now that you know your BMR you can multiply it by the following factors that vary depending upon how active you are.

If you basically sit at a desk all day and don’t exercise on a consistent basis then multiply your BMR by 1.2

If you are slightly active (light exercise 1-3 days a week) multiply your BMR by 1.375

If you are moderately active (moderate sports 3-5 days a week) multiply your BMR by 1.55

If you are very active (hard exercise 5-7 days a week) multiply your BMR by 1.725

The result of multiplying your BMR times these factors gives you the amount of calories you can consume daily without losing or gaining weight. If you are extremely muscular, with little body fat, you can consume 15-20% MORE than you calculated to maintain your current weight. If you are over-weight by 30 lbs or more, you need to consume 15-20% LESS than you calculated to maintain your current weight.

Ok! Now you know how many calories you can consume daily to maintain your current weight, but many of you reading this article will want to be able to calculate how many LESS calories you will have to eat daily to lose weight. Since a pound of fat contains about 3500 calories, to lose a pound of fat a week you have to create a caloric deficit of 3500 calories. Dividing 3500 by 7 = 500 calories. So you have to take in 500 calories less than your calculated amount every day to lose one pound of fat each week. This may not sound like a lot but at the end of four months, you will have lost 16 lbs of fat.

There are many online calorie tracking systems, one is offered by Google:  GOOGLE CALORIE COUNTER:  Track calories and manage meals quickly and easily.  
If in addition to the reduction in daily calorie intake,  you also introduced a daily 30-minute walk, you would lose 24 lbs. of fat in four months. That’s pretty darn good! Excess weight places undue strain on your heart and joints and is known to increase the risk of cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and even dementia.

I hope that I didn’t overwhelm you with math but made it easier for you to determine specifically what you need to do to get slimmer and healthier.

Curt Hendrix, M.S, C.C.N, C.N.S.

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Calorie Restriction Equals Longevity


Calorie Restriction = Weight Loss & Longevity

Image Calories an Weight Loss

Calories and Weight Loss -

A great deal of research regarding the life-extending benefits of “caloric restriction” is being published. To date, most of it, though promising, demonstrated benefits in non-human models.

Recently a particularly encouraging study on Labrador retriever dogs, indicated that cutting calories intake by 30% increased the life span of these dogs by 2 years. Given the average life span of this species, that was an increase of over 20%. Quite remarkable.

I would strongly suggest to those who have dogs (especially larger dogs 50+) to consider cutting back their pets caloric intake.

I did this with my 4 year old, black German shepherd and his weight went from 100 lbs to 86lbs and his energy levels increased significantly. Several people upon meeting him for the first time, thought he was a puppy, no more than 8-12 months old.German Shepard Calorie Restriction Longevity

Though proof of this concept for humans is not yet established, it is my bet that it will be. In some respects, digesting and metabolizing food puts demands on your body that can be considered contributors to aging.

The more one eats, the more free radicals they will generate, the more their bodies will have to detoxify and remove bi-products of digestion and metabolism both systemically and cellularly. The benefits of reducing calories goes beyond just the weight loss that occurs. Calorie restriction/reduction may be the best form of life insurance we can get, and it’s free.

Now a welcomed study from Tufts University has shown that caloric restriction in humans actually boosts our immune response. As humans age, their immune response tends to decline and become less efficient. Though animal studies have previously shown that caloric restriction improves immune function, this study is the first to show the same benefit in humans.

46 men and women who were overweight but not obese, were placed on calorie restricted diets reducing intake by either 10% or 30% for six months. At the end of that period test measuring DTH (Delayed Type Hypersensitivity, a test measuring whole body immune function) and T-cell function (white blood cells involved in immune response) improved significantly in both groups.

For those readers who would like to read the research, this study was funded by the Agricultural Research Service of the Department of Agriculture of the U.S. government. The lead researcher was Simin Nikbin Meydani and the article was published in 2009 in the Journal of Gerontology.
Curt Hendrix, M.S, C.C.N, C.N.S.