A previous blog (http://www.chicken.org.au/chookchat/can-chicken-help-long-term-weight-loss/) discussed some of the ways in which lean chicken can contribute to achieving your healthy weight goals, and the reasons for this. High amongst these was that:
- Chicken meat has the equivalent protein content of beef, lamb and pork. One 100g serve of chicken breast provides more than 50% of the recommended dietary intake of protein.
- Higher protein diets can play a role in helping some people lose weight and maintain weight loss.
- Protein consumption is generally accepted to make you feel ‘fuller’ than consumption of carbohydrate or fat, and helps to overcome the sensation of ‘feeling hungry’, which people often give as a key reason that they fail to achieve their weight loss goals.
But how does this work?
Well, it has long been known that certain nutrients in foods – specifically, amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins – are very efficient nutrients in satisfying hunger. It is well understood that this is in part because protein-rich foods are more slowly digested, and they keep blood glucose levels relatively constant, thereby reducing those food cravings that can often occur soon after we’ve already eaten a meal.
However, some new research has shown that these nutrients also directly tell our brains that we should no longer be hungry and has provided some new insights into why it is that eating certain foods, including chicken meat, makes us feel full, overcoming the sensation of lingering hunger that can drive us to overeat.
The research, conducted by researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK and published in the scientific journal Molecular Metabolism in November 2017, for the first time identified cells in the brain – called tanycytes – which detect specific nutrients in food and respond by triggering feelings of satiety (‘fullness’), thereby controlling appetite. A summary of this research can be found here https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/brain_cells_that/
The research identified two amino acids – arginine and lysine – that react most with tanycytes, and which therefore are likely to make you feel fuller.
Some foods have more of these amino acids than others – and, guess what? Chicken is a great source of these amino acids!
Add these two additional facts:
- lean chicken cuts are low in fat and, importantly, more than 55% of what fat is present is unsaturated fat
- chicken meat remains by far the most affordable lean meat for Australian consumers
and you now have three very good reasons why lean chicken meat is great dietary choice for maintaining a healthy body weight.