One of the reasons calorie-restricted diets tend to fail is because they make you really hungry and can increase food cravings. This is because calorie-restricted diets change the hormones that control hunger and satiety so that when you lose weight, your body will fight to put the weight back on. Your hormones drive you to eat more and you are caught in a trap of yo-yo dieting.
A low carbohydrate / ketogenic diet works very differently as it suppresses appetite in a number of different ways. When you start eating more fat and cut out the precessed carbs and sugar you tend to stop experiencing the blood sugar swings that most people eating a standard western diet will suffer. You experience less intense hunger and your cravings for carb-heavy meals disappear.
Once your body starts to burn fat for fuel and your blood ketone levels rise , your appetite will be suppressed in more subtle and significant ways because ketones can control hunger and satiety hormones. Studies have shown that ketones impact cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone which makes you feel full, and ghrelin, the “hunger hormone.”
Your intestines release CCK after you eat. It is a powerful regulator of food intake; if you inject people with CCK, they will cut their meals short. When you lose weight, your body will secrete less CCK, so you will want to eat more than before you started dieting. However, a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that being in nutritional ketosis (when you are burning fat for fuel) raised CCK to pre-weight loss levels thereby reducing the risk of over-eating and post-diet weight gain.
Ghrelin, the “hunger hormone” increases appetite. It’s released from your stomach and intestines, with blood levels reaching their highest point when you have not eaten for a long time. When you eat a meal, ghrelin levels drop. If you inject a person with ghrelin, they eat much more. Usually, when people lose weight, their ghrelin levels increase making them feel more hungry. However, several studies of dieters following a ketogenic diet have shown that ketosis completely suppresses the increase in ghrelin levels that usually occur with weight loss. In fact, one study showed that individuals with ketone levels higher than 0.3mmols had lower ghrelin levels after they lost weight compared with their baseline at the start of the trial.
Increased appetite following weight loss is one of the key factors in weight regain. A low-carbohydrate, high fat (ketogenic) diet helps you to control your hunger hormones instead of fighting against them.
If you'd like to know more or access support to lose weight and control your appetite contact:
Helen Chauhan, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
Iris Family Medicine, 1486 High St, Glen Iris
Tel 9509 2144