Saturday, March 24, 2012

Appetite Control Insights

You say your “metabolism” is slow and that's why you can’t lose weight.
Maybe, but that's not likely. But let's just say you’re right.

At this time there are no proven safe weight loss options that speed up your metabolism. 
By that I mean, nothing safe has been found to increase your burning of calories while you are at rest. That includes such recent rubbish as "raspberry ketones". 

We call the amount of calories you burn up while resting your resting metabolic rate or RMR. The RMR equals the amount of energy or number of calories used to keep all your vital organs working.

Large doses of thyroid hormone or amphetamines will increase your RMR.
And both of these types of drugs in high dose will increase your heart rate at rest. 
That increased heart rate alone would increase your RMR.
But neither of those drugs is safe in those high doses for weight loss. 
Obesity experts do not prescribe or recommend thyroid hormone or amphetamines for weight loss.

All safe weight loss requires consuming fewer calories from food than the calories we burn up throughout the day and night.
And since we cannot increase our RMR we must take in fewer calories or burn up more with activity or exercise.

For most of us, if we keep eating as we having been used to, we simply will not burn up enough calories with exercise alone to lose weight.
We must reduce calorie intake for weight loss.
And even if you believe you eat almost nothing, you need to eat even less if you want to lose weight. 
Sorry, that may sound cruel but sadly it's true.
But how to do this? How to eat less?

Controlling food intake is really hard.
There are many reasons we all eat.
We may eat to celebrate, or because we’re nervous or sad or angry or bored or maybe because we really enjoy the taste of a particular food.

In these posts called appetite control insights I will focus on, appetite or eating in response to hunger. I will share an important insight on appetite control. The appetite control insight might be on how exercise or sleep affects appetite or how a drug might help control appetite or how what you eat might regulate appetite.

So here’s the first insight. 

A recent study of obese male police officers studied the effects of two low calorie diets over 6 months. One diet had most of the carbohydrates eaten at dinner. The other diet included carbohydrates evenly spread throughout the day. Both groups ate morning and afternoon snacks and so they ate 6 times a day. There were 63 men studied who were randomly assigned to one group or the other.

The researchers found that there was less hunger and more satiety in the group of men who ate carbohydrates mostly at dinner. There was also a little more weight loss in that group. Leptin a key hormone associated with satiety tended to be higher in this group also. The higher leptin might have contributed to the reduced hunger in that group.

These preliminary findings are very interesting and encouraging. This small study warrants further investigation.

In the meantime, I do think that these results can provide insights for those struggling to lose weight and control their appetite. Protein does provide more satiety than carbohydrates or fat. 
For those who find they lose weight by reducing carbohydrate intake, perhaps they would do just as well by reducing carbohydrates mostly at breakfast and lunch. 

By the way, it is clear that there appears to be no benefit by routinely eating 6 times a day as discussed in a previous post. But that was done in this study.

So along with cutting portions and calories, try eating a lower carbohydrate breakfast and lunch. Nuts or seeds are an option but keep in mind that about a fourth of a cup is ~200 calories. Try low fat, high protein yogurt (Icelandic or Greek style). Or meat, fish (maybe smoked, pickled or canned), salad, or cheese. And don't drink your calories.

More insights to follow. 


  1. I call my appetite the "Last Frontier" - if I could control it I know my diabetes would be under much better control. The fact is that with all of the recent press linking obesity to diabetes, it makes us overweight people see ourselves as the culprits of our own demise. Yet the desire to eat too much is so overwhelming at times. I have to say that having more carbs at dinner makes me happy because it is so much more satisfying.

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful, emotional and compelling remarks. Your challenge is shared by so many others with and without diabetes. For this reason effective treatment is urgently needed. Let's hope we'll see it soon. We are making headway.