Can you really make your stomach smaller to help you lose weight?
Contrary to popular belief, eating less will not cause your stomach to shrink. Photo: 123rf.comDuring your dieting efforts, you may have come across a theory that goes: eating less causes your stomach to shrink, allowing you to need less food to fill your stomach up. Over time, youâll attain your dream body by cutting calories without having to deal with those annoying hunger pangs. We speak to Dr Melvin Look
, consultant surgeon in gastrointestinal, laparoscopic and obesity surgery at Mount Elizabeth Hospital to find out if there’s any truth to this theory. Myth busted Unfortunately, there is no way your stomach is going to get smaller by eating less. The reason why you may feel like you need less food after a fast? It is likely due to your internal âappetite thermostatâ – your bodyâs hunger and fullness cues. âThe stomach does not become smaller after a prolonged reduced calorie diet but our appetite thermostat becomes reset to a lower level,â says Dr Look. âWe therefore start to feel satiated with a smaller portion of food.”According to Dr Look, the only way to reduce your stomach size is through surgical methods like a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. This procedure reduces your stomach to roughly a size of a big banana. Your stomach would be stretched with just a small amount of food, alerting your brain that you are full. While your stomach is capable of stretching, it quickly snaps back to its original size after a period of time. Basically, your stomach remains the same size no matter how much you eat.(Also read: Side Effects Of Intermittent Fasting You Need to Know About
)Does bigger stomach = bigger appetite?While stomach sizes do vary across individuals, there is no direct correlation between a personâs stomach size and weight and BMI, says Dr Look. âIn other words, don’t blame the size of the stomach you are born with if you habitually overeat and gain excessive weight.âMore often than not, weight issues are likely due to poor eating habits like late night snacking and binge eating. Overconsumption of sugary and processed foods can also cause you to build a resistance against leptin, the hormone responsible for telling your body when itâs time to stop eating. An American study
published in the Journal ofProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that healthy adults rated higher levels of hunger and desire for food after consumption of fructose, a simple sugar that is often found in artificially sweetened drinks. So itâs high time to cut down on soft drinks and bubble tea
.(Also read: How Many Calories Do You Burn From Standing At Work?
)VerdictEating less will not shrink your stomach. Instead, it causes you to feel hungrier and may potentially result in weight gain. When your body is low on fuel, it craves for more sugary and fatty foods. While you think itâs all right to sneak in a bar of chocolate because you havenât eaten an entire day, you might end up consuming more calories than you would from eating a regular meal. Plus, you will miss out on essential nutrients that keep your day-to-day bodily functions going. Instead of attempting to go on crash diets to lose weight, Dr Look suggests eating small portions of food multiple times a day. You can also incorporate plant-based foods with adequate protein and fibre. Such a diet keeps you full for longer periods of time, and suppresses your appetite to prevent overeating.(Also read: 7 Hormones That Are Making You Gain Weight
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Weightlifting Myths You Need to STOP Believing