Genetics of Satiety: When It Takes Longer to Feel Full

What makes some people stop eating after an appetizer while others plow through the appetizer, main course and dessert before experiencing true satiety?

According to researchers, carriers of certain alleles for gene UCP3 or SNP rs2075577 have a larger, average or smaller stomach volume. Gene UCP3 is found on Chromosome 11.

People with a larger stomach volume do not get full as quickly as those with an average or smaller stomach volume. For them, the “Volumetrics” diet is particularly helpful because the dieter has a chance to “fill up” on foods high in water such as soup, fruits and vegetables and yogurt. With this diet, the idea is to eat low-energy dense foods.

So where do you personally fall on the genetic “scale” when it comes too satiety and stomach volume?

Check your raw DNA data by doing a search for SNP rs2075577. Then to the right of the SNP, note the alleles.

  1. If you have the C;C alleles, you have a larger stomach volume that does not get full as easily.
  2. The C;T allele carriers have an average stomach volume and get full like a typical person..
  3. The T;T allele carriers have smaller stomach volume and get full quicker (or on less food).

People with a smaller stomach volume are naturally thinner in most cases, but there are workarounds and tricks for the person who takes longer to feel satisfied when eating a meal or snack.

Here are a few tips if you are always fighting to feel full:

  • Eat cut-up raw vegetables with low-calorie dips or hummus
  • Prepare or order broth-based soups
  • Avoid high-density foods such as crackers, chips, nuts, butters, oil, cookies, candies, pastries
  • Enjoy fruit smoothies
  • Eat salads, but watch the dressing. Try vinegar-based and low-calorie dressings
  • Avoid drinking calories in the form of coffees, sodas or alcohol
  • Prepare stir-fry dishes with vegetables and lean protein
  • Mix up dishes by using buckwheat noodles or alternative pastas
  • Buy or make air-popped popcorn. Avoid adding oil or butter to snacks.

What if you have a “normal” or average stomach volume? One of the diet downfalls for people who don’t tend to over-eat is to go out to restaurants with people who do over-eat. You might feel pressure to keep eating even after you are full at social events that center around food. People tend to mimic the behavior of the people around them so find people with the same health goals.

The best solution is to follow the same advice for people with a large stomach volume. Take time eating a large salad or dining on soup. Pass on the bread basket. Keep track of what you eating by writing it down or logging it into an ap.

Appetizers used to be a typical component of a formal dining experience as well as family dinners and parties. Bring back the appetizers — but make sure they are nutritional foods that also pair well with the main course. Be aware of calories particularly when eating hummus or nut dips that are more caloric than light yogurt dips.

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