One of the common enemies of those seeking to lose weight is their seeming inability to control their appetites. They've just had breakfast and a couple of hours after, they feel the need to snack. After lunch, their bodies are at it again, signaling them to eat. The mechanisms that control hunger are admittedly difficult to understand. There are times when just a picture or painting on a wall can trigger the urge to snack. Restaurants and food companies have used this to their advantage, utilizing colors and arrangements to lure the unsuspecting individual into buying their box of sweets or letting them drive through just to be able to place an order. While this is more of the psychological nature of the complex method of controlling the appetite, studies have shown that the physiological key towards appetite control lies in a high-protein diet.

We get most of our energy from carbohydrates. Anytime we felt the quick need for fuel, we immediately grab bread or pastries to fill our stomach. Rarely do we boil an egg when we feel hungry, do we? But research shows that we should. In fact, to lose pounds, we need to up our protein intake. Studies from the University of Washington have shown that increasing protein intake and reducing fat intake reduced the weight of the participants significantly. Aside from the obvious weight reduction, study participants also recorded feeling satiated with less food. From the University of Lyons in France, another study was conducted to find out exactly why proteins control hunger. Rats fed protein registered glucose production in their small intestine, got transmitted to the liver and into the area of the brain involved with hunger and appetite control. This led researchers to conclude that glucose metabolism in humans (which also happens in the intestines) is the key towards appetite control. Protein apparently works to form glucose which contributes to weight loss.

Aside from its role in hunger control, a higher protein intake also stimulates an individual to exercise. This is because protein encourages the brain to make norepinephrine and dopamine, neurotransmitters that promote activity, exercise and movement. Carbohydrates on the other hand, stimulate the brain to produce tryptophan that also prompts the manufacture of serotonin which calms the body. This is the explanation why we feel drowsy after a meal rich in sweets. The simple sugar initially gives us an energy boost but after a while, it makes us "crash." Thus, we need another "pick me up" and the more calories we consume from these carbohydrate sources, the more we contribute to the excess fat deposits in our waistlines. When you eat protein, however, you feel satiated right away, staving the need to consume more.

So instead of buying muffins, cookies or donuts the next time you go grocery shopping, load up your pantry with beans, nuts, fish, lean meat, low-fat dairy and eggs instead. You don't necessarily have to eliminate carbohydrates from your diet (and you shouldn't), you'll simply have to increase your protein intake so you get its energy-boosting and weight loss benefits.

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Author's Bio: 

Kylie is a full-time mother of 3 and a freelance writer for