7/7/2020 – Sensory Specific Satiety: What is It and How Can You Use it To Your Advantage?

The most recent group online coaching meeting hosted by Dr. Tro’s Medical Weight Loss & Direct Primary care centered its discussion around Adjusting to the “New Normal” and Emerging from Quarantine – and How One Can Best Navigate and Prepare.

Dr. Tro Kalayjian, DO, and Health Coach Amy Eiges also spent a significant portion of the call discussing the issue of sensory-specific satiety and strategies one can employ to avoid losing the battle against cravings.

The group meetings are held every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. EDT.

The more than 50 participants on the Zoom call listened to Amy and Tro mix practical advice and tips with scientific studies that demonstrate how and why our bodies crave certain foods. They explained how we can use this knowledge (the same knowledge that food companies and restaurants constantly use against us) to allow us to stand up to or eliminate these cravings.

Sensory specific satiety is a sensory phenomenon that refers to the declining satisfaction generated by the consumption of a certain type of food, and the consequent renewal in appetite resulting from the exposure to a new flavor or food.

On many occasions, Tro has discussed the fact that food companies take advantage of this phenomenon as they engineer foods to stimulate their customers’ appetites. “Restaurants and food manufacturers are well aware of the science behind what drives people to eat, and they spend large amounts of money creating foods that will stimulate our appetites,” said Dr. Tro. “We have to use that same knowledge to our advantage if we want to succeed with our health and nutrition goals.”

As always, participants had the chance to ask questions (directly on the Zoom call, in advance via email, or through Zoom chat), and Amy and Dr. Tro took turns responding.

Some important takeaways included the following:

  • It’s not always about whether a food is “good” or “bad”. Sometimes the more important question to ask is whether a food is better than the food you’re replacing. For example, if you eat a keto-friendly dessert instead of a plate of brownies, that could be considered a win. The dessert may not be ‘perfect’, but it may still help you reach your goals.
  • What governs how much you eat? It’s often not a matter the amount of calories. The body is looking for a taste profile. You have to learn strategies to get past these cravings.
  • Products like flavored seltzers can be effective weight loss or weight maintenance tools, because they provide an appealing taste and can help fill you up. At other times, non-fat Greek yogurt with Swerve or a bag of celery may be the solution. Tro and Amy gave several other examples of how to navigate past cravings.
  • The medical literature shows that simply adding a condiment to a meal will drive intake. You can use this knowledge to your advantage, as you make your food choices. This doesn’t mean that you have to make your meals unappealing, but you will definitely have greater success if you understand the process.
  • Studies have shown that an effective way to encourage weight gain in an anorexia patient is to give many small meals with different flavors. This further makes the point that understanding how the body works with respect to appetite and cravings can be used to your advantage.

The following studies were shared during the meeting:

July 14 Group Coaching Meeting Topic:

The topic of the July 14 meeting is Resisting Temptation vs Replacing. Dr. Tro and health coaches Amy Eiges and Brian Wiley will lead the discussion. They also plan to talk about the following:

  • Substituting low-carb versions of foods
  • Replace what you can’t resist
  • Why this is a long term, sustainable strategy

Health Coach Brian Wiley has also written a useful blog post detailing his experiences with cheat meals and cheat days. This will also be discussed during the meeting.


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