March 11th, 2009
New York obesity expert Dr. Louis Aronne has helped thousands lose weight over 23 years, and he has found that restoring fullness is often the key to success. Dr. Aronne has a new book out this month called The Skinny on Losing Weight Without Being Hungry, written with Alisa Bowman.
Dr. Aronne talks to Nancy Hellmich from USA Today about dieting and weight loss.
Q: Why do so many well-intentioned people fail to lose weight when they’re on a diet?
A: Many patients say they go off their diets because they are hungry. They don’t feel full. It’s easy to go on a diet, but it’s hard to stick with one if you’re thinking about food all day.
Q: In the book, you write about the problems people have with fullness. Can you explain?
A: Some patients suffer from what I call fullness resistance — the important hormones (insulin, leptin) that are supposed to induce fullness no longer work effectively. So the more they eat, the hungrier they seem to get. Their brains can’t seem to register the signals of fullness that are coming from their stomach and intestines. This seems to be a physical, not psychological, issue.
So they may have cravings or eat more at a meal and afterward than they should. What I am talking about in the book is restoring this fullness system so it functions like it should.
Q: How do you suggest doing that?
A: Research conducted at Penn State University showed that people who eat salad before a meal eat less at that meal, and I find that patients who eat bread beforehand consume more later.
You’ll have a greater sense of fullness and feel fuller faster if you eat healthier foods first — salads, vegetables and lean protein, and then eat starchy foods.
Some people start their meals with bread and soda, and that can make them consume more calories at that meal and later in the day. You are more likely to overload your fullness system if you eat big quantities of intensely sweet, starchy, fatty food, such as ice cream, cake and cookies.
You are better off if you eat these in smaller quantities at the end of a meal, when you will find it’s easier to control the amount.
Q: What is the best way to feel full?
A: Drink a glass of water before a meal. It’s filling.
Q: Are there any foods you suggest avoiding?
A: I don’t think anything has to be completely avoided. You should be able to enjoy your favorite sweet treats and other foods (cookies, cake, candy) once or twice a week.
If you find there are some foods you can’t control yourself when eating, such as ice cream or chocolate, then it’s my opinion that it’s best to avoid those foods.
Q: What’s your philosophy about snacking?
A: It differs from person to person. Some people do better with snacks, and for others they’re not a good idea. You’ve got to figure out what’s best for you. I think the best snacks are vegetables, a handful of nuts, yogurt, a piece of fruit. I favor real food as snacks.
Q: Do some people have a harder time losing weight?
A: Yes, [and there may be a numbers of reasons, such as, genetics, hormonal imbalances, certain medications, stress and lack of sleep.]