Control Your Appetite with This Dairy Choice

Medically reviewed in February 2020

Making a simple switch in your cereal bowl or coffee cup could mean better appetite control. The switch in question? Pouring low-fat instead of full-fat milk.

According to a new study, palmitic acid -- a type of saturated fat found in full-fat dairy products -- may cause your brain to ignore "I'm full" signals. So you end up going back for more helpings.

Can't Eat Just One
Palmitic acid makes up about 60 percent of the saturated fat we eat. Which is a good reason to avoid saturated fat as much as possible. Because when your body gets ahold of palmitic acid, bad things happen. Just minutes after ingesting it, your body begins to ignore satiety signals. In the study, researchers found that, almost immediately, bossy palmitic acid dialed down important chemical signals in the brain that normally help people regulate their appetite. And I'm-full hormones like insulin and leptin are reduced to a mere whisper, so cells simply ignore their "hey, time to stop eating" messages.

Escape the Fat Trap
Palmitic acid is found in almost any food that contains saturated fat, like beef, cheese, ice cream, whole milk, and even reduced-fat milk to a certain extent. So go fat-free whenever you can. Your appetite -- and your hips -- will thank you! Here are some sat-fat slashing tips to get you going:

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