It used to be thought that some people’s appetites might be more easily stimulated than others’ by external signals, such as the presence of mouthwatering food, and that these “triggers” lead to obesity by prompting too much eating in the absence of a true need to replenish the body with “supplies.”
But in recent years, the hypothesis that externality is a characteristic of overweight people per se has been abandoned, because thin people, researchers now believe, are just as readily governed in some fashion by external cues.
To be sure, when a Yale researcher arranged for a group of overweight and normal-weight people to watch a steak being grilled, the response of the overweight people was more dramatic. That is, the appearance of a good cut of meat, the sizzling of the steak on the fire, the aroma created, and the anticipation of eating the finished product caused them to secrete more insulin than the normal weight individuals.
In fact, even those who had once been obese but had lost weight secreted proportionately more insulin than those who had never been overweight. And since insulin is a hormone that facilitates the transfer of energy supplied by food from the blood to the cells, it can be said that the obese and formerly obese subjects’ bodies responded to the external cue of steak more strongly than the others’.
But as the researcher, Judith Rodin, PhD, points out, even those individuals whose weight had been normal all their lives experienced at least some increase of insulin and were responsive to external cues as well. Other research has suggested that obese and normal-weight people may be influenced equally by the amount of food they see other people eat.
Regardless of the fact that the externality hypothesis doesn’t fully explain why some people end up eating too much in the presence of food while others can be “turned on” by food yet remain slender, it does offer a line of questioning that obese people can use on themselves as a first step in learning how to cut down on their food intake.
Kelly Brownell, PhD, co-director of the Obesity Research Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that people who want to lose weight, but have thus far been unsuccessful, should examine their reactions to the sight, smell, or thought of food.
One possible solution is to take a natural appetite suppressant like PhenQ to reduce food cravings. This product helps people cut out snacking and eating between meals. PhenQ is very popular and has helped thousands of people lose weight.