Low Carb/High Fibre & Hunger
Updated: Jun 1
Appetite control is the key to ideal weight, metabolic health and physique. It's easy to stick to any diet or fasting regime if you're not hungry.
High glycemic carbs that result in an insulin spike after meals often induces hunger after 2 hours and beyond. This is because the effect of insulin, while returning glucose to near normal levels within 2 hours, also suppresses blood free fatty acid levels for many more hours. The brain hunger centers have specialized mechanisms to sense energy levels in the blood stream from glucose and free fatty acids. The graph below shows how a high carb mixed meal suppressed energy availability from 4 to 5 hours after a meal consisting of 75g bread, 72g jam, 60g dried meat, and 50g margarine. A meal without the margarine containing 427 less kcal showed the same results. The study actually showed the carb content of the mixed meal shunted all the fat in the meal to fat storage, so a combination of carb and fat is worse than either alone for fat storage and satiety: for example ice cream is a hugely fattening combination of sugar & cream.
Carbohydrate restriction resulting in reduced post meal glucose and insulin responses is an effective weight loss and diabetes treatment strategy. However, increased fibre intake added to a high carb diet has also been associated with weight loss and improvement of T2 diabetes. Synergy between low carb and high prebiotic fiber on appetite and satiety is expected due to several different mechanisms involved in appetite regulation:
Low carb diets with low blood glucose and insulin levels result in subsequent reduced hunger and food consumption.
Hormones that suppress hunger (GLP1 & PYY) increase with high fibre consumption mainly due to increased production of short chain fatty acids by probiotic gut microbes.
The hunger hormone, ghrelin is lowered for many hours in response to increased short chain fatty acids from prebiotic fermentation.
For further details here is an extensive review into the "Role of Fibre in Energy Balance"
Calorie restriction is an effective way to lose weight, decrease age related diseases and even extend life expectancy but is unlikely to be sustainable if it is associated with intolerable hunger. High glycemic, rapidly digested carbohydrates, such as sugar, corn syrup, flour, potatoes, rice, corn flour, form over 50% of most people’s diets and attempts at calorie restriction while still consuming these types of addictive foods is associated with agonizing hunger so much so that these foods make it almost impossible to maintain a normal weight over the long term.
Optimal Fiber Intake?
It is difficult to achieve recommended fibre intake with prevailing food choices. Even observational studies that show health benefits of fibre, those subjects eating the most amount of fibre (around 30g/day) were still consuming less than recommended daily amounts. Production of short chain fatty acids particularly butyrate are dose related to fiber fermentation and new evidence regarding the vital roles of butyrate suggests optimal fiber intake needs re-evaluation. A meta-analysis showed a dose response reduction in cardio-vascular disease risk with up to 70g fibre/day whereas hunter gatherer populations customarily consume in excess of 100g/day and experience far fewer metabolic disorders.
The problem with obtaining 40g a day of fibre from whole-wheat flour is that it comes with 250g (1000 kcals) of additional starch. On the other hand it is impractical to consume large volumes of vegetables, for example one would need to eat 1.7 kg of broccoli to get 40g of fibre. These issues were the impetus for me to develop Fiberflour, www.lonjevity-foods.com where profound macronutrient transformations are achievable substituting FiberFlour for whole-wheat in daily bread, wraps or chapatis for instance.
Suggested Dietary Strategy
For weight loss and type 2 diabetes.
Unlimited amount of daily Fiberflour Bread, chapatis, pizza, flat bread, cookies, pastry, etc.
Skipping breakfast till midday gives around 15 hours of fasting and is surprisingly easy to do if you're not hungry.·
Gradually extend periods of fasting, one meal a day, or any other intermittent fasting plan e.g. 5 and 2.
Think about your hunger level and ask the question: am I hungry? Do I need to eat now or am eating out of routine habit?
If possible, keep a diary of self-assessed hunger on a 1 to 10 scale and food intake.
After 1 month of following the program there should be significant changes in appetite & spontaneous food consumption, weight, waste line, resting heart rate, blood pressure, mood and subjective wellbeing.