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  • HuskNutrition

Purines May Help You Stay Full

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

As humans living a modern life, we have too many reasons why we may over eat:

  • Many people turn to food as a way to cope with difficult emotions such as stress, anxiety, depression, or boredom.

  • Eating mindlessly or not paying attention to when you're full.

  • Social situations such as parties, gatherings, or celebrations can trigger overeating due to peer pressure or a desire to fit in.

  • Eating too quickly, skipping meals, or consuming large portions can lead to overeating and weight gain.

  • Certain foods with high sugar, fat, or salt content can activate the brain's reward center and lead to compulsive overeating. This is scalable across any kind of palette.

  • Lack of sleep can disrupt hormones that regulate appetite, leading to increased hunger and overeating.

  • Certain medications can increase appetite and lead to overeating as a side effect.

  • Some people may have a genetic predisposition to overeating (for example, low levels of the gut microbe akkermansia has been shown to improve inflammation, gut barrier function, glucose and lipid metabolism, immune system and energy expenditure -Dr Giles also shared some insight into fat metabolism on his episode with Steven Bartlett on his podcast A Diary of a CEO) making it more challenging to control food intake.

  • Chronic stress can lead to overeating as the body releases cortisol, a hormone that increases appetite.

  • The abundance and accessibility of food, especially unhealthy options, can contribute to overeating.


The environment plays a role in eating habits.

Social environments, such as parties or gatherings offering food promote the desire to indulge. Think about it...

It can significantly impact people's eating behaviors.

So how can we be mindful of being and staying full - and use food to help us?

Several factors in food can lead to feelings of satiety or fullness after eating.

1. High-fibre foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can slow down the digestion process and promote feelings of fullness.

2. Protein: Protein-rich foods such as lean meats, fish, eggs, and beans can increase feelings of fullness and reduce hunger.

3. Foods with high water content, like fruits and vegetables, can help fill the stomach and promote feelings of fullness.

4. Foods that are high in volume but low in calories, such as salads or vegetable-based soups, can help fill the stomach and reduce hunger.

5. Foods with healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado, and oily fish can promote feelings of fullness and reduce hunger. When dietary fat enters the small intestine, it triggers the release the hormones cholecystokinin (CCK) and peptide YY (PYY) reducing the feelings associated hunger. More on this later.

6. Taste and texture: Eating foods with strong flavors and textures, such as spicy or crunchy foods, can help satisfy cravings and promote feelings of fullness.

Overall, a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods rich in fiber, protein, healthy fats, and water can help promote feelings of fullness and reduce overeating.

What's the deal with purines?

Dietary purines are natural compounds found in many foods, including meat, fish, and legumes. They have been shown to help reduce hunger and slow digestion through their effects on the body's metabolism and satiety hormones.

When purines are broken down in the body, they produce uric acid, which has been found to increase levels of the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK).

CCK is released by the small intestine in response to food intake and helps regulate appetite by promoting feelings of fullness and reducing hunger.

Purines have also been found to increase the body's metabolic rate. Meaning that they can help burn calories more efficiently, aiding in weight loss and reduced feelings of hunger.

Similarly, PYY is released by the small intestine in response to food intake, specifically dietary fat and protein, this further helps regulate appetite by promoting feelings of fullness and reducing hunger.

Both helps slow down the rate at which the stomach empties and reduces the desire to eat.

In addition to their effects on appetite-regulating hormones, dietary fats are also more calorie-dense than carbohydrates or protein, meaning that they can provide a longer-lasting source of energy and reduce the need to eat less frequently.

Overall, the presence of dietary purines and fatty acids may help regulate appetite and promote feelings of fullness, which can help prevent overeating and aid in weight management.

However, the catch:

What goes up, must come down is my saying. There will always be forbidden fruit as it were.

Consuming too many purine-rich foods, particularly those high in animal protein, can lead to high levels of uric acid in the body and increase the risk of gout and other health problems.

Therefore, it's important to consume purines in moderation as part of a balanced diet, including a variety of fruits and plants rich in colour and vitamin C and including all macronutrients at meals and snacks.

While purines themselves are not harmful, some people may be sensitive to the histamine that is produced when purines are broken down in the body.

Histamine is a chemical that is released by the immune system in response to injury or allergens. It plays a role in inflammation and can cause symptoms such as itching, swelling, and redness. Some people are more sensitive to histamine than others, and may experience symptoms such as headaches, hives, or digestive upset when they consume foods that are high in histamine or that trigger histamine release.

Foods high in dietary purines, particularly those high in animal protein, are also often high in histamine. This means that people who are sensitive to histamine may experience symptoms when they consume these foods, particularly if they are not fresh or have been stored for a long time. Including overly blackened avocados, bananas, mold aged cheeses and other fermented food items such as kimchi, kraut, miso and alcohol (especially red wines and oak barrel aged spirits) I might add.

In addition to histamine sensitivity, consuming high levels of purine-rich foods can also increase the risk of gout, a type of arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. People with gout are often advised to limit their intake of purine-rich foods to help manage their symptoms.

Overall, while dietary purines themselves are not harmful, some people may be sensitive to the histamine that is produced when purines are broken down in the body. It's important to be aware of the potential risks and to consume purine-rich foods in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Food Sources of Purines

Here are 20 sources of dietary purines:

1. Organ meats such as liver and kidney (I lost you now didn't I!?)

2. Game meats such as venison, elk, and wild boar

3. Anchovies and sardines

4. Herring and mackerel

5. Fish roe and caviar

6. Meat-based gravies and sauces

7. Shellfish such as mussels, clams, and scallops

8. Yeast and yeast extracts such as Marmite

9. Beef, pork, and lamb

10. Turkey and chicken thigh meats

11. Tuna and salmon

12. Lentils, kidney beans and chickpeas

13. Spinach and asparagus

14. Cauliflower and mushrooms

15. Oatmeal and bran cereals

16. Beer and other alcoholic beverages

17. Cocoa and chocolate

18. Soy products such as tofu and miso

19. Nuts, peanuts and seeds

20. Tea and coffee

If you have a history of gout or other health conditions related to purine consumption, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider about how to manage your diet.

How Can I Actually Use This?

One key factor therefore is to acknowledge a time or part of the day where you fall hungry and where food doesn't last you as long as you'd like...

For many - breakfast at 6am to lunch at 12pm (6 hours) is a huge window for blood sugar to become irregular.

It can be challenging to find purine-rich foods to add to breakfast, as many typical breakfast foods are low in purines.

However, here are some ideas for incorporating dietary purines into your morning meal:

1. Add smoked salmon or flakes of trout to your breakfast omelet or scrambled eggs.

2. Include some leftover meat or poultry from dinner in a breakfast burrito or breakfast bowl.

3. Enjoy a breakfast of black pudding and eggs with wholemeal toast, tomatoes and a piece of fruit.

4. Make a breakfast frittata/quiche with peppers, sweet potato, bacon or ham.

5. Top your morning toast with sardines or mackerel.

6. Add some leftover beans or lentils to your breakfast.

7. Enjoy a breakfast smoothie with whey protein powder and cacao, which is rich in purines.

8. Use Marmite on your morning toast with avocado and salmon instead of butter.

At lunchtime - try a graze board.

Cheeses, olives, hams with fresh balsamic and olive oil sounds a delight!

Even try a Ploughman's style lunch of grapes and apples (great for their anti-histamine effects!), cheeses, pickles and cured meats.

Even an apple and some cheese (cottage cheese too) as a snack or banana, almonds and dark chocolate.

Remember that while dietary purines can have health benefits, it's important to consume these foods in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

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