Which macronutrient works best for hunger suppression?

Before I get into the theme du jour, let me state the very obvious ( my personal training clients in NYC know the sermon all too well): calories matter most when trying to gain or lose weight.

However, the actual diet composition, meaning the percentage of proteins vs. carbohydrates vs. fats, can also greatly influence body composition (or THE BEACH BODY / muscle gain/ fat loss).

Let’s take the macros one by one:

1. Protein is King when it comes to hunger suppressesion. This happens mainly for two reasons:

  • It is harder to ingest 400 calories from protein (more than one pound of chicken breast) than 400 calories from carbs (two cups of rice) or fat (three tablespoons of any nut butter).
  • It triggers the secretion of peptite YY (PYY) which signals satiety. This should be one of the main reasons for having protein with every meal. In a study in normal-weight and obese people, the researchers showed that protein-enhanced meals stimulate greater release of PYY than either high-fat or high-carbohydrate meals and result in a greater reduction of hunger.

2. Carbohydrates got a bad rep to the point of “carbs make you fat” or “insulin makes you fat”. This is not quite accurate since insulin does not cause hunger.  Ghrelin, “the hunger hormone”, is produced during periods of low blood sugar, when growth hormone levels are elevated and insulin levels are at their lowest  The hormone leptin inhibits the action of ghrelin and tells your brain that you’re full. Carb consumption is the primary determinant of leptin secretion in humans.

In short, carbs keep you full and happy (anyone who has ever gone on a keto – carb-free – diet will probably agree). The issue with carbs is that you can overeat them quickly, if you choose the sugary ones.

The majority of your carb intake should be from complex sources such as potatoes, rice, or oatmeal and, of course, you should consume them along with protein.

3. Fats provide the lowest degree of satiety, along with the highest caloric density…life is funny that way. In my opinion, if you are trying to lose weight, avoid liquid fats such as oils (you can add quickly add 300 – 400 calories by overdressing a salad), and stick with things like avocados or nuts since they are easier to portion.

Oh!.. And the food with best hunger depressing to calorie ratio is… vegetables!!! But who wants that???