How Low Fat And Low Carb Diets Change Your Appetite

This is a guest post by Kary Cardner.

Low-fat and low-carb diets can change your appetite and suppress hunger. This article explores how dietary changes may affect your appetite and offers a list of foods that helps suppress hunger.

Being thin is important for our health, but our society encourages unhealthy practices that are supposed to help you lose weight fast. Extreme Low-carb diets, as well as low-fat diets, are often used to achieve that. While reducing an excessive amount of fats and carbohydrates is good to prevent many diseases like diabetes and heart problems, reducing it too much may affect your appetite.

Carbohydrates are the fuel needed for our cells to work, and lower intake will result in a higher demand. This is the mechanism behind insulin resistance, which increases the demand for sugar due to the cells not perceiving the energy.As well as carbohydrates, fat gives a sense of satiety. The amount of fat in low-fat diets is not enough to make you feel full, leading to a higher demand. Many people tend to buy food products dedicated to weight loss, especially cheese in low-fat diets and sweets without sugar in low-carbs diets. Those products might not be as useful for one's diet as they promote themselves to be, and they also work as psychological tricks to eat bigger portions. Alternatively, to eat a dessert with one's hot drink because a low-calories sweetener substituted sugar, when the calories of a tea spoon of sugar or two will never be as much as those of the sweet. Reducing hunger by eating enough fat will lead to eating less and so to lower calories' intake. This has been extensively studied by researchers.

Regular yogurt or low-fat?

One study especially was addressed to the effects on the appetite of women of a mid-morning yogurt snack. A group of women had to choose between a low-fat and a regular yogurt, ignoring that the calories' intake was the same. They were then studied at lunch and dinner. The study showed that those choosing the regular yogurt ate less at lunch, but did not make up for it at dinner. On the contrary, the other group ate more. This proves that fats works as appetite suppressants. This is true, in particular, for the medium-chain triglycerides-rich fats.

Coconut oil vs vegetable oil

Medium-chain triglycerides-rich fat molecule is present in certain kinds of vegetable oil like, for instance, the coconut oil. The Journal of Nutrition has reported that this molecule increases the metabolism of fats. Oils that contain it act as appetite suppressants. A study on the matter served breakfast to two groups of men. One group had it with coconut oil, while the other with a different fat. The first group ate less at lunch, while dinner quantities were equal to the second one.

Atkins diet review

The website for the Atkins diet, one of the world's most famous low-carb diets, reports a study proving that people on low-carb diets and people on low-fat diets experience decreased cravings for the foods they have been prohibited. This study, however, does not investigate the effects on appetite, with or without the presence of food which acts as appetite suppressants. The use of appetite suppressants medications were, instead, among the criteria of exclusion.

This study, however, encouraged its participant to follow the instructions of the Atkins dieting manual "Atkins' New Diet Revolution," so the result, at least for what concerns low-carb diets (as the Atkins diet is high in fats and proteins), could not have universal value.

In addition to this, the group had a compulsory treatment during the whole duration (two years), to help them to adhere to the diet. This is not an environment that is given to everybody, and most people find themselves to be unable to stick with low-carb diets, or low-fat diets, for long enough to have long-term results. The criteria to define the hunger were, however, subjective, as the Visual analogue scale used works with questions about the patients' feeling towards their own hunger and cravings.

The tables in the study report clearly show that the decrease has not been steady in time. On the contrary, there have been increases too.

The results appear on the long run, with a constant work in that direction. Furthermore, the results changed with the gender of the participants. One thing that is important to notice is that appetite does not equate hunger. The former has a psychological connotation than the latter does not have. The two words, in the latest study, are used interchangeably.

Low-carb diets decrease food cravings because the higher intake of proteins determine an increment of the levels of leptin and ghrelin. Those hormones are responsible for appetite suppression.Low-carb diets are not the only way to reduce appetite with dietary modifications. In low-fat diets, for instance, the amount of high-glycemic carbohydrates may be substitute with low-glycemic food, or a balanced mix of the two.

How to suppress appetite with low-glycemic foods

Low-glycemic foods, such as whole-grain products, most vegetables and most fruit are metabolized more slowly by the body than high-glycemic ones. Such foods contain a higher amount of fibers, which make them harder to digest fast, but also increases chewing. Chewing limits the food intake, because of saliva and digestive juices.

Lettuce and cabbage are low-calories food with a high intake of fibers, and eating them as the first serving of lunch or dinner help reducing the amount of food eaten during the meal.

The use of low-glycemic food in low-fat diets can be more effective than a low-carb diet. To increase the result, it is a good strategy to use high protein food with low fat, as well as using fats that are proven to suppress appetite. The use of low-glycemic food in low-fat diets could be more effective than a low-carb diet. To increase the result, it is a good strategy to use highly proteic food with low fat, as well as using fats that are proven to suppress appetite.

Coconut oil, but also flaxseeds and pine nuts (which could be eaten as food instead of using the oil) suppress hunger. Furthermore, pine nuts contain the highest amount of proteins than any other nut of seed, while containing the pinolenic acid, which is the fat that stimulates the two hormones that stop hunger.

High quantities of water are effective too. Drinking water, or having a watery soup such as a broth, especially if before a meal, gives a sensation of satiety, reducing the instinct to eat more.

These simple strategies are not too radical, and they can easily become natural behaviours. And so the need for constant psychological support like in the low-carb diet in the study for Atkins diet can be eliminated. Low-fat diet with these foods incorporated will result in decreasing appetite for longer periods of time between the meals.

About Kary Gardner
Kary is a stay at home mom who in her spare time writes reviews of weight loss supplements, acting as appetite suppressants. Kary knows that we all have to take the first step to becoming healthier and toned so that we can enjoy time with our loved ones.


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