With comfort eating becoming a preoccupation for individuals during lockdown, CONNECTED speaks to nutritional scientist, Dr Miriam Clegg, from Reading’s Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences to find out more:

”Appetite is our desire to eat. And while hunger is a cue from our body, appetite is a cue from our brain. Satiety and satiation are often used interchangeably in relation to appetite but actually have different meanings.”

“Satiation is the process that leads us to stop eating, whereas satiety is the feeling of fullness that persists after eating, potentially suppressing further energy intake until hunger returns. In simple terms, what makes us put down our knife and fork is satiation, and what keeps us from starting our next snack or meal is satiety.”

As Dr Clegg highlights, despite sophisticated mechanisms in the body to control food intake, people often still eat when they feel satiated or resist eating when hungry. There are many factors that influence eating behaviour as well, such as portion size, tastiness and emotional state.

With many Britons constantly trying to lose weight, the floodgates have opened for fad dieting and the marketing of appetite-supressing products which can be dangerous. Dr Clegg said:

“Currently, there is limited evidence to support the effect of satiating foods in obtaining a healthy body weight. But many food and supplement brands still appear to advertise the benefits of suppressing appetite regardless of health claim regulations – particularly outside the EU. A prime example is the Flat Tummy Co’s ‘appetite-supressing’ lollipops which are marketed to maximise satiety, but in terms of evidence there is no robust science to support these claims. This is because there is insufficient evidence characterising appetite and weight, with most studies focusing on one or two days’ effects.”

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