Understanding Satisfaction: Is “Being Full” a State of Mind?

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The Science Behind Feeling Full

Satiety (the sensation that you’ve had enough to eat) results from a balance of hormonal and neurological signals reaching your brain from your stomach. Other factors, such as the sensory quality of food, also contribute to satiety. But, why do our minds have so much to do with satiety? It should be pretty simple: we get hungry when our stomachs are empty, and become satiated when it is full, right? Turns out, the science behind feeling full is a lot more complex than we may have thought.

Past studies found that your hypothalamus, a small gland on top of the brain stem (the part of the brain that connects to the top of the spinal cord), is responsible for hunger and appetite. In this area of the brain, hormones and chemicals control are in charge of when you feel hungry and how much you eat.  So, we eat when certain hormones tell our brain we’re hungry, and we stop eating when a different set of signaling systems communicates to our brain that we’re full.

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