Will I be hungry on a low carb diet?
Satiety is defined as “the quality or state of being fed or gratified to or beyond capacity” (Merriam-Webster). In simple terms, we are talking about fullness. Satiety or fullness can be a huge concern for anyone trying out a new diet or considering a lifestyle change. Many of us have heard about or even attempted to follow diets that can leave you with more questions than answers. Is this enough food for me? Will I be hungry? Will I experience a “crash” on this diet?
One of the most common reasons an individual may want to follow a diet or eating plan is to lose weight. When we think of weight loss, we can’t help but think about it in terms of restriction- What is allowed, what is not allowed, and what is okay in moderation? In fact, one of the biggest reasons that we bail on our diets or eating plans is missing the feeling of being satisfied, or even worse, being HUNGRY. To put things into perspective, more than ⅓ of Americans are following a diet with the goal of losing weight and a majority of them will be unsuccessful. “Some people don’t follow their diets carefully and don’t lose much weight even from the start. Others may go off the diet entirely after a while, because it’s too restrictive or the foods aren’t appealing” (Shmerling, 2020).
This is where a low-carb or keto diet can drastically change our view of what a “diet” really is. For starters, there is no “standard” keto diet. Popular sources suggest parameters to follow while on the diet that are unique to the individual, but most suggest limiting carbohydrate intake to 50 grams or less per day. The keto diet puts less emphasis on calories and shifts the focus to the macronutrient content of what you eat. For example, “the Modified Atkins Diet is a type of Keto Diet that limits carbohydrate to 20 grams per day but does not restrict protein, fat, or total calories” (Greenawalt, 2018).
Research suggests that a high fat/moderate protein diet can actually be more filling and reduce food cravings. Studies have found that keto dieters tend to report a decrease in appetite. Researchers have hypothesized that “A period of low carbohydrate ketogenic diet may help to control hunger and may improve fat oxidative metabolism and therefore reduce body weight. Furthermore new kinds of ketogenic diets using meals that mimic carbohydrate rich foods could improve the compliance to the diet,” (Paoli, 2014). This means that keto/low carb dieters tend to feel fuller and more satisfied when consuming more fat and protein without needing to significantly cut back on calories and still losing weight. “Thus, the clinical benefit of a ketogenic diet is in preventing an increase in appetite, despite weight loss, although individuals may indeed feel slightly less hungry (or more full or satisfied),” (Gibson, 2015).
In summary, when considering what type of diet or lifestyle is appropriate for you it is helpful to consider what is realistic and attainable. If you know that calorie counting and restricting are not suitable for your lifestyle or dietary needs, an eating plan that does not focus on calories may be beneficial. If hunger and cravings are your dietary downfall, consider an approach that will leave you feeling full and satisfied. A keto or low carb diet just may be what is needed for those with big appetites or anyone who finds it difficult to stick with a strict eating plan.
*The information on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen.*