According to a recent study, the
size of the stomach--and not just the size of the body--appears to affect the
feeling of fullness, or satiation, during and after a meal.
The findings suggest that factors that control stomach volume,
independent of body size, are potential targets in fighting
The investigators found that compared with normal-weight adults, those who
were overweight or obese took longer to feel satiated at mealtime. Similarly,
those whose empty stomachs were larger needed more calories to feel completely
It was not, however, merely a matter of bigger people having bigger stomachs,
according to findings published in the journal Gastroenterology.
Instead, fasting gastric volume-the size of a person's empty stomach-was
related to a feeling of fullness independent of body size, researchers at the
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, found. Their study included 134 healthy volunteers who, after an overnight fast,
drank a liquid meal until they reached maximum satiation. Their stomach volume
before and after eating was measured through non-invasive imaging.
The researchers found that both
body mass index (BMI) and fasting gastric
volume were independently linked to the time it took participants to become
illustrating that stomach volume is determined by more than mere body size.
Hormone named, ghrelin, produced in the gut, may be the
reason that the more people diet, the hungrier they feel–and the reason why
so many dieters fail. In addition to acting on the brain to boost
appetite, ghrelin also acts on other tissues to slow metabolism and reduce
Moreover, the study suggests that factors governing
stomach volume might help predispose people to obesity and could serve as
targets for weight-control tactics.
These control mechanisms could range from:
Eating patterns-such as whether a
throughout the day or tends to
The nerves that control stomach contraction and relaxation .
The stomach is controlled by inhibitory nerves that trigger relaxation of the
stomach muscles during a meal, in order to create a low pressure in the
stomach when the food arrives. This relaxation can cause a five-fold increase
of the stomach volume. Sensoric nerves control that a low pressure is kept
until emptying. An intact and "balance" nervous system
is mandatory for
Addressing these factors might then alter how long it takes a person to feel
full. For example, changes in diet or patterns of food
intake might do the job, as could medications that act on the nerves or hormones
that control stomach volume, or other procedures or devices that change gastric
Before any of this becomes reality, further research is needed to
pinpoint the critical controls involved in determining stomach volume.
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