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Cephalic Phase Response (that's a mouthful!)

Sunday, May 16, 2021

"Cephalic Phase Response" is the anticipatory activation of the parasympathetic nervous system with effects on ingestive behavior, digestion, nutrient absorption and .metabolism.

Whoa!!! That is a mouthfull and if you are like me, you checked out after the word "parasympathetic."

Put more simply, a "cephalic phase response" is our body's responses to food CUES, not by eating food itself.

To put it even more simply, even though food is not in your mouth, if you see, smell, or think about food, your body reacts to it, even though it's all in your head.

Food cues can include:

emoticon Tasting food (the dreaded BLTs - "bite, lick or taste."

emoticon Seeing food

emoticon Smelling food

emoticon Thinking about food

How does your body react to these cues?

The one response we are all well aware of is the salivary response. Put simply, your mouth waters.

We've all walked into a kitchen filled with the smell of bacon, fresh baked cookies or savory dishes and felt that flood of anticipation and saliva. You might have even had the response just by reading that sentence (I sure did!!)

But it goes WAAAYYYY beyond that.

Other responses to food cues can include: gastric responses (acid secretions, lipase activity), intestinal responses (changes in colonic pressure), endocrine responses (insulin secretion, norepinephrine), exocrine responses (heart rate and respiration changes), circulatory changes (blood pressure, heart rate, cardiac output) and cutaneous responses (skin temperature).

All that means is that our body will set us up to FEEL like we need to eat food, even when it does not NEED the food. Even when we are obese. Sometimes ESPECIALLY if we are obese.

Why am I writing about this?

Through Intermittent Fasting, I'm trying to understand my body's cues regarding food and what it really means. My mouth often waters not just in the presence of food, but for no particular reason. I find a cup of warm water or hot black coffee dampens that response.

Right now, as I write this, after 18 hours of fasting, with three more to go (I open my window at 11:30 am today) I'm having all sorts of physiological responses to the breakfast that I was making for my family.

But these responses are not an emergency. I'm not going to die if I wait another couple of hours and allow my body to continue the important clean up work it was able to start after about 12 hours of fasting.

My body is being fueled by plenty of keytones, my mood is great (my gut microbiome must be secreting extra seratonins this morning) I'm full of energy and will go on a nice long walk with the dog after writing this and doing my morning yoga and then it will probably be time to open my window and I have a great meal planned that I will throughly enjoy.

My body is reacting to food cues in a purely Pavlovian way. It is all in my head.

In the past, I would have taken my mouth watering or any other bodily signs of hunger as an excuse that I needed to eat to "keep my metabolism up" or "prevent my blood sugar from crashing" or some other bit of interesting "folk" wisdom created by the breakfast and snack industry used to bolster the breakfast and snack industry. I would eat small amounts of healthy food...which would just set me up to want more so I would have to "white knuckle" it to the next real meal.


And mind you, if you need breakfast, I totally understand!! My "window" used to be from about 7:30am to 1:30 pm. And I gradually tweaked it until my "window" is now 11:30 am until about 2:00 or 2:30 pm. I know many intermittent fasters who do evening windows so they can eat with their family.

This brings another thought: No one is making any money off my fasting windows.

It's horrifying!!! emoticon

It's absolutely anti-American that no one is profiting off this method of weight loss, increased energy and healthy repair of my body that has not a single pill, plan or special food associated with it....other than my watch.

After 53 years of living in the fed state with nary a break for my poor body I am finally grasping appetite correction. I'm finally learning to live my life with worrying about what I'm eating. I really don't even worry about when I'm eating. My eating "window" is flexible and there is no "cheating" or "cheat days." There is only the "fed state" or the "fasted state." I try to keep my eating "window" to 2-4 hours, but if I go 6 or 8, no biggy. If my family wants to go out to dinner, I just open up my window later.

My body is not yet at goal, not even close.

I won't even set a real goal until I cross into "one-derland."

But I really, truly FEEL like the skinny person I was always meant to be. Happy, relaxed, enjoying food like I never have before. Everything tastes and FEELS delicious. I just have to remember the Buddist saying: "If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking."  

Hope your day tastes and feels DELICIOUS too!!

´¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.•´ .•´¨¨))
((¸¸.•´ ..•´ Keep Spreading the Spark!-:¦:-
-:¦:- ((¸¸.•´*

EDIT: It was pointed out (correctly) that books about IF are written to make money. How many diet books have I bought in the past?


So absolutely true and even as i was writing the blog, that thought did niggle at me. But in the grand scheme of things, a book is different from pills, special training, special foods or other repetitive expenses I have encountered in the past. I fully expect this to get worse as IF gets more popular. But remember, you can always rent a book for free from the library (see my blog "And now for something different."

Plus, so many free resources are available online.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Fantastic blog!
    37 days ago
    I'm so glad I read this! I esp. like the saying about if you're facing the right direction, keep walking! emoticon
    38 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    You have explained "Intermittent Fasting" to a T. It is a way of life for many these days, but not enough yet.

    I want to thank PRIMEOFMYLIFE for drawing my attention to your blog on this subject. Thank you for your insight and for sharing a different perspective.

    emoticon Bobbie
    38 days ago
    I'm glad you've found what works for you! I do disagree with one thing -- there are lots of books on the subject of IF and someone is making money there.
    38 days ago
  • MAR_V3
    The nerd in me loves those big scientific words!
    38 days ago
    When someone in the office made popcorn, others had to make popcorn because of the tempting smell. In the morning, I could smell the oven-baked bacon from the cafeteria next to my office. I finally realized I could enjoy the smells without indulging. Un-couple smelling from consuming because they are two separate behaviors. There are many situations when that applies as I do intermittent fasting. Black coffee is a miracle worker to suppress hunger or desire to eat.
    I love your laid back approach to IF. There is only fed and fasted. The window can flex on occasion.
    39 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/16/2021 3:57:26 PM
  • no profile photo CD27498954
    You've got some real "food" for thought here...I have read about IF, but you presented it a way I understood. It's something I'll look more into...and thanks!
    39 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    emoticon emoticon
    I've been experimenting with IF this year and have mostly settled on a 6-8 hour open window. Initially I was challenged to not eat as soon as I got up but now the thought doesn't even enter my mind.
    emoticon emoticon
    39 days ago
    39 days ago
    Wow! Complex process presented in . . . ENGLISH! Thanks.
    39 days ago
    39 days ago
    Brilliantly presented! You’ve got this! You are in control, but flexible all the way - exactly what intermittent fasting should be. 👏🏼
    39 days ago
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