Satiety and Why It's Special to Low-Carb Diets

satisfied woman (satiation)
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Satiety essentially means "satisfied" especially when referring to eating. It is also implied that the individual will stay satisfied for a while. This is important in low-carb diets, as it is a type of diet that tends to satisfy the body with less food than many other types of weight-loss diets.

Pronunciation: sa-TY-eh-tee

Also Known As: fullness, satiation

Common Misspelling: setiety

Satiety is a key concept in low-carb diets. Every study of a truly low-carb diet has shown that people decrease the number of calories they are consuming even though they aren't consciously trying to eat less. This has been shown to be true even up to 6 years later as lost weight is maintained.

Satiety and Low-Carb Diets

Time and time again, people say that the thing they like best about being on a low-carb diet is not feeling as hungry as before. People say things like "I feel normal around food" and how happy they are to be thinking constantly about food between meals. It is also common to report a sharp reduction in food cravings, another part of satiety.

We don't completely know how low-carb diets cause increased satiety. There is preliminary evidence that reducing carbohydrate in the diet affects some of the chemicals in our bodies that regulate appetite, perhaps in an opposite way of reducing calories. We also know that everything else being equal, when carbohydrates are replaced with fat (but calories stay the same) people are less hungry.(It is also true that everything else staying equal, carbohydrates that are more glycemic also promote more hunger than carbohydrates that are less glycemic.)

Another possible factor is that low-carb diets tend to dampen metabolism less than low-calorie diets.  Although we don't really know how these things are connected, in an important study where people spent time on three different diets while trying to maintain a weight loss, they reported feeling less hungry on the low-carb diet than either the low-fat diet or the so-called low-glycemic diet (I say "so-called" because a low-carb diet, by definition is less glycemic than most "low-glycemic diets".)

Examples: For many people, fruit (high-carb, low protein, and fat) will not tend to promote lasting satiety. A snack such as a tuna salad with celery, which includes protein and fat, tends to produce a higher level of satiety, even for the same number of calories.

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