A typical weight loss diet can leave us with a constant sense of hunger since the day to day restrain of food, impacts us both psychological and physiologically. Experience and research show that a ketogenic diet does not seem to follow this paradigm. Most of the ketOntrack participants as well as people from numerous studies, felt less hungry living the keto lifestyle.
So why is the ketogenic diet so efficient in better satiety and reducing hunger?
There are several effects that are playing a vital role here:
- Protein and Fat intake are important factors of keeping a balanced diet, resulting in the production of ketones. Proteins are satiating macronutrients that can be consumed in higher amounts in a ketogenic diet. Fat especially including a good source of fatty acids, can be a good source of fat-soluble vitamins and micro nutrients enabling the necessary nutrient dense diet that supports long term satiety.
- Reduction of carbs and processed foods can help with longer windows between meals, so feeling hungry later. Soda’s, high fructose foods and fruits, as well as refined carbs, are causing an energy dis-balance, where the metabolism adapts to the short-term energy boosts provided, resulting in a higher threshold to reach satiety. This results in a quicker demand by the metabolism for more energy, hence hunger is signalled.
- Ketones that are produced and converted by the metabolism from fatty acids. Once that a ketogenic lifestyle is established or achieved, ketones are an energy source that can reduce hunger, as the ketones itself are fueling the body in absence of glucose available to be burnt.
- Low energy diets can cause satiety due to reduced hunger. Such diets are adapted to the BMI and check to not go beyond the daily maximum of calories to be consumed. Many of such diets are of ketogenic nature. You do not necessarily need to count calories, when you eat only until you are full / satisfied and satiety is achieved. However, supporting the habitual change to interpret the right level of satiety, starting into a ketogenic lifestyle, we advice counting calories for the start.
- Hormones are having an effect as well, as a result, the more balanced and nutrient dense a ketogenic diet is, the better our body signals satiety after eating. Read more. The hormom Ghrelin is produced in the GI tract, it is the hormone that stimulates appetite, causing you to feel hungry. The hormom Leptin is produced in the fat cells and is responsible for sending a signal to your brain that you are satiated.
- Appetite to consume foods that you even might create cravings for, is often a result of having an unbalanced diet forcing an abstinence of certain food types. Cravings can result in hunger, or being not satiated after a meal, as something might be missing from your diet. Whilst in a ketogenic lifestyle this is definitely (refined) carbs and processed foods containing i.e. sugars, we believe that a good and balanced ketogenic diet with a nutrient dense profile, can absorb some of these cravings. As a positive side effect, we have often noticed that appetite for certain food types signal the absence of some vital macro or micro nutrients and thus creates appetite for specific foods. Over time there is a chance to listen to your body and translate the craving or the appetite into needed nutrients at that very moment. For example, somebody wanting to desperately eat Banana´s is most likely not really missing the starches included, but potassium or Vitamin B6, which Bananas are providing. As a result, it would be good to search for an alternative including these nutrients, i.e. Lemons, Meat, Fish or Nuts.
Summarizing, yes, a keto lifestyle while eating whole and fresh foods can support a better control of satiety and balance of feeling hungry. Give it a try!