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As the research has accumulated over the years, we have learned that things can be a little more complex than simply eating less or eating more, and various macronutrients have fallen in and out of favour. We were sugar and fat-free in the 80s and 90s before the GI movement pushed us toward complex carbohydrates, and these days protein is a key nutrient in most eating plans. Controlling the Appetite is probably the biggest key to dietary aspects of weight control, and recently popular diets, such as the Atkins Diet, have been shown to exert their major effect on weight loss by causing a reduction in overall appetite. High fat diets are currently experiencing an increase in popularity, with a lot of interest and research coming from both the athletic and weight loss factions.

A group of American researchers recently conducted research into the differences in high fat and high carbohydrate meals and have been able to draw some pretty solid conclusions about the effect on appetite.

A group of healthy but overweight adults were placed on either a high carbohydrate/low fat or a low carbohydrate/high fat diet, which they followed for four weeks. The high fat group consumed 43% of kilojoules from carbs and 39% from fat, versus 55% carbs and 27% fat for the high carb group, while both groups consumed 18% of their energy from protein. After four weeks to get used to the diet, subjects ate a test breakfast, where levels of insulin and glucose were measured, and subjects reported their levels of hunger and fullness, before and after the meal.

It was found that subjects on the high fat diet experienced the expected peak and trough in blood glucose levels at a significantly later time, 3-4 hours after eating, than those on the high carbohydrate diet. They also reported greater feelings of fullness, lower hunger, and higher sensitivity to the effects of insulin.

This study is significant because it did not use extreme ratios of fat to carbohydrate as have been used in some other studies, rather, it employed moderate changes that led to significant differencs in metabolism and appetite.

This means that the average person could easily incorporate these into an eating plan without making any large lifestyle changes, for example, someone trying to gain weight could stimulate their appetite by having an extra piece of toast for breakfast, while someone trying to drop the pounds might substitute banana with a small amount of coconut cream in their morning smoothie. This research demonstrates a simple and sustainable way to manage weight through appetite.

Chandler-Laney PC, Morrison SA, Goree LL, Ellis AC, Casazza K, Desmond R, Gower BA. Return of hunger following a relatively high carbohydrate breakfast is associated with earlier recorded glucose peak and nadir. Appetite. 2014 May 9.

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