A naturally-occurring appetite suppressant has been discovered by UK scientists, who say it could pave the way for a diet drug without side effects.
It may also have the potential to treat aspects of alcohol and drug abuse.
Hemopressin is a small bit of protein which works by affecting the reward centres of the brain associated with pleasurable experiences such as eating, sex and drug highs.
“It has long been known that the rewarding aspects of feeding behaviour influence our appetite, so that sometimes we eat for pleasure rather than hunger.
"By reducing hedonistic feeding, it is possible to help people lose weight by quenching the desire to eat,” said study co-author Dr Garron Dodd, from the Faculty of Life Science at the University of Manchester.
The scientists gave hemopressin to mice and monitored their feeding and other behaviours. They found that while the amount they ate decreased, their behaviour patterns remained the same.
Weight loss - the 5 most filling foods
We can use aromatherapy to curb the appetite but we still have to eat. Which foods are more filling?
At its simplest, the satiety index, is a measure of how long a particular food will stop you from feeling hungry. It was first developed by Dr Susanne Holt back in 1995. Holt and her colleagues fed volunteers 240 calorie portions of a wide variety of different foods in an attempt to discover which would be the most filling. The top 5 are:
4. Apples and Oranges
5. Wholewheat Pasta
Fibre. Unlike protein, fibre promotes satiety by slowing the rate at which the food is actually digested. It also triggers stretch receptors in the stomach which automatically sends a signal to the brain to stop eating.
Bulk. At 9 Kcal per gram fat is the most energy dense nutrient we can eat. Just one tablespoon of clotted cream has almost four times more calories than a whole cup of popcorn and yet it takes up far less space in the stomach making it incredibly easy to over consume. Fat greatly enhances the taste of a food too, another reason why we find it so easy to over consume.
Chewing. Chewing promotes satiety, partly because it slows down eating but also because it encourages the release of enzymes that register fullness in the brain.