Weather Updates

Celebrity trainer Jim Karas dishes on the concept of satiety

Jim Karas

Jim Karas

storyidforme: 38577734
tmspicid: 14188645
fileheaderid: 6502676

Updated: November 18, 2012 6:46AM

In the blockbuster books and movie entitled “The Hunger Games,” 24 young men and women are sent into a huge stadium to compete. Only one will be the winner and the rest will “lose” in a pretty big way. (They’re killed.)

I thought about this as I read a very recent headline, “Most U.S. residents will be obese within next two decades.” That’s a staggering, sad statistic. You know what causes a lot of obesity? Hunger. Yep, we, like the 23 other unfortunate competitors, are losing the “hunger” game and probably shortening our lives.

So here’s your lesson of the day. We’ll call it Hunger 101.

Hunger is caused by a drop in blood sugar because you:

a) skipped a meal (verboten!) or

b)­ ate the wrong kind of food, which, in this case is a simple, processed carb such as white bread, rice, pasta or sweet favorites such as cookies, candy, soda and the mother of all disasters, juice. (Yes, you read that correctly: it’s poison!)

How do you win the “hunger” game? Start by eating a big breakfast, which I do almost every day with:

Three eggs = 270 calories

Three pieces of nitrite-free turkey bacon = 105 calories

One piece of whole wheat bread = 100 calories

Two pieces of fruit = 200 calories

That’s 675 calories, but I know I will be less hungry later in the day as research points to the fact that those who eat the biggest breakfast eat fewer calories later in the day. Why?

It’s because of a word called satiety, which you should think of as a derivation of satisfaction. The more you tip satiety, which is blazing first thing in the morning, the less your body will ask for food later on in the day. Translation: Manage hunger and drop pounds. Remember the old adage: “Eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch and a pauper for dinner”? It’s dead-on right.

Think of it this way: You get up and eat breakfast (great) but it’s a white bagel (bad). That simple, processed, white carb will very quickly turn to sugar in your bloodstream. That will lead your very smart body to say, “Oh, too much sugar. We need to get that out.” So it tells the pancreas to produce insulin to pull that sugar out of your bloodstream. When you cause a big sugar party your body shuts it down, fast and hard, and you crash, and then get hungry.

Your goal is to never, ever be hungry except once each day, first thing. You should get up ravenous and once you eat that huge breakfast and satisfy your satiety mechanism, you will effectively manage hunger throughout the rest of the day and night. Translation: You live lean.

I totally lost the “hunger” game the first quarter of my life. I was borderline obese. Then I did research, and experimented with my diet, and changed my behavior.

Here’s a one-year-old picture from my 50th birthday. I’ll never let myself lose my personal “hunger” game again. What about you?

Jim Karas has donated his fee for writing this column to the Wood Family Foundation.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.