New research from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre and published in Obesity Reviews suggests humans’ instinctive appetite for protein is so powerful that we are driven to continue eating until we get the right amount of protein, even if it means consuming far more energy than we need…
Published online in Obesity Reviews, the research shows the overriding drive for dietary protein could be a key factor in the global obesity epidemic, with individuals’ total energy intake increasing as the percentage of protein in their diets decreases.
Regardless of weight, age or the time frame of a diet, the research found for the first time that reducing the percentage of dietary protein will result in increased total energy intake, contributing to overweight and obesity.
The research collated the results of 38 published experimental trials measuring the unrestricted energy intake of people on different diets, also taking into account a broad spectrum of age ranges, Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) and diet durations.
“We found that regardless of your age or BMI, your appetite for protein is so strong that you will keep eating until you get enough protein, which could mean you’re eating much more than you should,” says Dr Alison Gosby, lead author of the research and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.
As diets shift towards an increased proportion of foods that are higher in carbohydrate or fat, available protein is reduced and energy intake necessarily increases.
“For example, when you consume things like soft drinks, which are fairly low in proportion of protein but high in calories, your energy intake will increase because you’ll need to keep eating to get the protein you need. If you add a soft drink to your lunch then you’ve added a lot of calories, but you’ll still have to eat the same amount of food.”
“The strength of our nutritional drive for protein is frightening within our nutritional environment, where there are a large number of low-protein foods consumed on a regular basis,” Dr Gosby says…
More at: Lack of protein drives overeating
Sugar cravings can be a real problem for people on a low carb diet, especially when starting out – after all, it’s breaking the sugar dependency that many would suggest is at the heart of the impact of a low carb diet. The excellent blog Low Carb Support has produced some very sensible tips to avoid giving into the sugar cravings. Here are the top five…
1. Eat sufficient amounts of protein and include it to every meal
Lack of protein can sometimes cause sugar cravings. Sufficient amount of protein will help you feel satiated for longer and will decrease your desire for sugary foods. It is also essential to ensure your muscle mass doesn’t waste away when dieting.
2. Don’t be afraid of fat (although if you are on Dukan, be very afraid)
When you reduce the amount of carbs in your diet, fat provides the energy instead. On ketogenic diets, eating lots of fat is a requirement. Even if you follow a more moderate plan, like Zone or South Beach, don’t try to reduce your fat intake below the recommended levels. Eating something that’s high in fat can provide immediate relief from sugar cravings. (Dukan is the exception here, being both low-carb and low-fat – follow Dukan guidelines precisely to ensure you stay on track).
3. Don’t starve yourself
The best thing about going low-carb is that you will naturally feel less hungry and eat less. Don’t try to skip meals or reduce calories on top of going low-carb – this can result in very strong cravings and lead you to fall off the wagon altogether!
4. Eat frequently
If you find yourself craving sugar often, trying eating more frequently. For example, have six small meals a day instead of three, or have a low-carb snack between meals. Regular frequent supply of food will make your body feel more “secure”, so that it doesn’t go into starvation mode and demand a sugar hit.
5. Always choose whole foods over processed foods
Ideally, stay away from all processed foods – they are usually full of chemicals and empty calories. Whole foods are more nutritious, will leave you feeling satiated for longer and won’t cause sugar cravings.
See Low Carb Diet Support’s full list of tips at: 15 ways to beat sugar cravings on a low-carb diet