Saturday, February 24, 2007

Hunger On Low-Carb Means Something's Wrong

Whew, what a day this was for me! After more than two years of praying, saving up money, and a rather fortuitous miracle of the right set of circumstances, today I was able to get my roof worked on to try to stop the many leaks coming through the ceiling of my house. We didn't get finished with the job before sunset and there is a big thunderstorm coming on Sunday, but we should have it completed by Monday afternoon! WOO HOO!

Right now, though, my body aches so much from hauling about a bazillion shingles today that I can barely type this post without some sort of pain radiating throughout my entire body. Nevertheless, it's been worth every minute of sacrifice of blogging and energy today to make it happen. YEAH! Can you tell I'm happy? :)

Anyways, I've been meaning to blog about a recurring topic that keeps coming up from time to time among many of my readers. In fact, it shows up in my Statcounter keywords that people use to find my blog via Google and other search engines virtually every single day.

What is it? Here's an e-mail illustration to explain it:

"Hello there. Congrats on your weight loss success. I have a question for you. I am doing the high protein diet but I am ALWAYS hungry and eat all the time. I eat all protein and A LOT of it. Was it the same for you? How can I fix this? I feel like at this rate I will gain weight not lose it."

Sound familiar anyone? It simply amazes me how people can claim to be livin' la vida low-carb and be in CONSTANT hunger. This is one of the major reasons why low-fat and low-calorie diets fail, not the low-carb ones people. The key difference between those failed diet plans and livin' la vida low-carb is the satiety factor. Satiety equals NO HUNGER!

In fact, studies have shown satiety, or the ability to be satisfied after eating, to be the secret to low-carb diets and why they work so well for so many people. I was absolutely miserable in 1999 when I was on my low-fat diet and I could not keep it up despite losing a lot of weight. Why? H-U-N-G-E-R!!!

But what's with this hungry thing on low-carb, hmm? I have to be honest with you and say that just totally baffles me because it has not been my experience on low-fat. Ask my wife Christine, I do NOT like feeling hungry. It's one reason I started livin' la vida low-carb in the first place. Actually, I previously blogged about how waiting for hunger is awful and it's so true!

Being the ever-so-curious (okay, I'm nosy!) person that I am, I just had to ask my hungry, protein-eating dieting reader to share with me what she eats on her "high-protein diet." The answers she provide were quite illuminating.

Check out this list of foods she typically eats:

- Boiled chicken breast with tobasco sauce
- Turkey
- 4 oz cheese
- Egg whites with tobasco sauce
- Turkey bacon
- 2-3 cups lettuce with vinegar
- High-protein puddings
- Cheese-flavored bars
- Soy jerky

EWWWW! Can you see why this person is "ALWAYS hungry" on her low-carb, high-protein plan? It's pretty obvious to anyone who has been livin' la vida low-carb for any length of time and been successful at it--she's doing low-carb the wrong way which is the best one-way ticket to becoming a crash and burn weight loss failure.

This is PRECISELY what happens when you don't read a reputable low-carb book before attempting to start livin' la vida low-carb. I feel like a broken record saying this because I repeat this message so often until I get blue in the face. But apparently the message is not getting through and I'm happy to KEEP repeating it until it finally sinks in.

I've seen it happen a million times before from many well-meaning people, but it totally breaks my heart when I see it happening again and again. Even when people sit down long enough to read a popular low-carb plan like Atkins, Protein Power, or South Beach, they always seem to think they know how to make it healthier themselves by cutting the fat, too! UGH! Why do people do that to themselves?!

Heed this message: Don't mix low-carb with low-fat!

When you do that, you simply negate the positive benefits that fat can have in your body when carbohydrates are significantly reduced. In a high-carb diet, fat is destructive to your body and will lead straight to obesity and other health ailments. But with a low-carb diet, fat (even saturated fat!) is your friend and you NEED it to provide your body with energy as well as fighting hunger!

Yep, that's right! While protein is certainly an important element in keeping your full and satisfied throughout the day, fat also prevents the body from becoming ravenously hungry as well. This is one of the major elements that my reader has lacking in her current diet. Just about everything she eats is much lower in fat than it needs to be (boiled chicken, turkey bacon, and soy jerky?).

Here are a few suggestions I have for her to improve her diet:

- Add non-starchy veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, and green beans
- Include more salad greens (spinach) with tomatoes and cucumbers
- Avoid the processed cheese bars that aren't real cheese
- Start eating the egg yolk because that's the healthiest part
- Enjoy the naturally healthy low-carb foods God created

There are many more suggestions about improving her diet, but these are an excellent start. The bottom line is there is absolutely NO reason why anyone should EVER be hungry when they are livin' la vida low-carb. That's one of the major benefits of this permanent lifestyle change that helps people get on it and stay on it! It's worked for me for over three years and counting now.

Have you experienced hunger at some point on your low-carb lifestyle and figured out ways to avoid it? Please feel free to share your insights and wisdom with us in the comments section below. When people who are on low-carb tell me they're hungry, my response to them is, "Then go eat something!" Make it low-carb, of course! :)

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Blogger Sherrie said...

Hi Jimmy

I find if I eat lean protein (especially if by itself) I CRAVE badly and end up feeling hungrier then what I was prior to the meal.

I always suggest to people that are having problems sticking to low carb to up the fat and maybe even cut down a bit on the protein. Sometimes they will give it a go but most times are too scared too. But when they do, it usually helps a lot.

Another thing I find helps alot with satiety is very fibrous vegies but they may have its downside too.

One thing though and I mean no offense but, you may find you will need to repeat it often because you also promote Kimkims which whilst low carb is also very low in fat and very low calories which may give some readers a conflicting message.


2/25/2007 1:35 AM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Thanks for posting about hunger Jimmy!!!
One thing that I've seen repeatedly is the people that complain in the first few days or weeks on a plan. When you check their food intake, you see that they are counting calories and trying to keep under a certain level. I think it's because people are SO used to watching calories on low fat that they cannot believe that this isn't necessary with low carb, at least in the beginning. As people get close to goal they may have to start watching calories too, but this is rarely the case in the beginning!

2/25/2007 2:24 AM  
Blogger KarenEMiller said...

Jimmy, I'm confused. You say don't mix low carb and low fat, and yet you endorse the Kimkins program which is -- low carb and low fat.

Which is it?

2/25/2007 7:08 AM  
Blogger TESS said...

Based on the list of foods the individual listed they won't last long.I would add plain yogurt and berries. It(plain yougurt)
may not be low carb it doesn't seem to affect my diet and the good bacteria helps. It is a nice treat that may help one stick to the plan, and this person really, really, really, needs a plan!

2/25/2007 7:34 AM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

For me, a good maintenance ratio is 60/30/10, 60% fat, 30% protein, and 10% from low-GI carbohydrates - preferably green, leafy, non-starchy vegetables. Depending on individual metabolism and preferences one can experiment a bit with the fat/protein ratio, but the majority of calories should come from healthy fats. For weight loss, the fat intake should be increased.

2/25/2007 11:06 AM  
Blogger Wanda said...

I have had hunger but it's usually when I am busy and skipping meals or snacks. Mostly when I first started though, since I had a problem with the fact that eating fact SHOULD make me fat.
It takes a while to figure out it's the opposite!!
It's a hard concept for a lot of people to get(me included) and takes time so I thinks it's a pretty valid question that she asked.
Thankfully she did, because I am sure there are lots of people asking the same thing.

2/25/2007 12:11 PM  
Blogger karishma said...

(I tried to comment on a previous post, and my comment never showed up, but hopefully this one will.)

I too know a few people who try to do low-carb and low-fat, and try to encourage me to do it that way also. They do things like buying light mayo or Miracle Whip(ewww) which has high fructose corn syrup in it because they think regular mayo has too much fat. Or light sour cream as a "compromise" because it has less fat - but it has twice the carbs! And it's less satifying so you end up eating twice as much of it.

I find that when I eat the rich satisfying full fat versions of foods, I am full faster and end up eating far fewer calories than if I ate the low-fat (and higher carb) versions of the same foods.

2/25/2007 12:50 PM  
Blogger mrfritznyc said...

most folks, if they want to get really lean, do need to watch the fat content. If you want to lose that last 20 pounds or so, the way to suceed and manage your hunger is to eat just enough to kill your hunger, AND NO MORE... which is different from the standard Atkins advice "eat until you are satisfied, but not stuffed" or whatever it is. There's just too much wiggle room in that guideline, for me anyway.

it's tricky to find that point where you need to stop eating, and can take some time to get it right, and it definitely takes discipline. But it works.

2/25/2007 1:13 PM  
Blogger Ladyred56 said...

Not to but in here 8-) but you know how us nurse type people are! You are perfectly correct about this lady's diet she is not eating any fat to speak of, But if you are following your eating plan and eating the right low carb foods but still having some hunger issues, check your water intake. One of the first signs and symptoms of dehydration can be hunger. You are not really hungry for food but your body is hungry for water. We all know that livin lavida low carb takes a lot of water off so we need to make sure we are replenishing it. Sometimes if I drink a big glass of water my hunger goes away.

I want to thank you again for writing every day. I am not that good about it I am trying for at least three times a week and it seems to be working. I come here every morning before work and read what you have written.

2/25/2007 1:33 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

WOW, this post has stirred up quite a discussion here. I'll attempt to address each of the concerns that have been brought up...

Hey Sherrie and Karen,

THANKS for your comments! While the Kimkins low-carb plan that I have blogged about often here is indeed lower in fat and calories than a more traditional low-carb program like Atkins, but I wouldn't describe it as "low-fat" per se.

Sure, I think it's an excellent way of eating for people who feel like they can't lose on other low-carb plans. But that doesn't mean I necessarily endorse it wholeheartedly for everyone. I lost weight on Atkins and did just fine with it.

My experience with fat intake has been that when you take the carbs out of your diet, you need fat to be your fuel. If you then remove the fat, too, then you are simply not enjoying the physiological (and I would say psychological)benefits that this lifestyle change has to offer you.

Again, thanks for allowing me to answer your question. GREAT ONE!

Cindy, you are right about the counting calories dogma. It's hard to shake the idea that you have to count fat grams and calories when you are starting off on a plan like Atkins. You just don't...yet. :)

Tess, I like your additions to her menu. Yogurt and berries are fantastic foods that people who are livin' la vida low-carb can enjoy!

Science, your 60/30/10 ratio is almost EXACTLY what I currently eat in maintenance phase. :)

Wanda, you are not alone with your fear of fat, but that's just one of the obstacles you have to overcome to be successful at losing and then maintaining your weight. Some people like my reader will have to learn that lesson the hard way.

Karishma, I'm sorry you had trouble posting before. I enjoy your comments and have posted all of them as they come to me for moderation. THANKS for your insights on this issue and you are so right. When they take the fat out, guess what they put IN the products? SUGAR!!! UGH! No wonder we get fat and stay fat on low-fat diets!

Finally, Mr. Fritz, you NAILED it! How DO you know when you have had enough to eat? That's the age-old question that people should ask themselves and I earnestly believe it is different for everyone. Some of it is physical, but most of it has to do with your mental well-being, too. If people could crack the code on their own appetite, then obesity would not exist.

Anyone else have a thought on this subject. It's quite a conversation piece right now! :)

2/25/2007 1:40 PM  
Blogger Fat Victoria said...


Some of us are hungry no matter what. I take a medication that makes me hungry no matter how much fat I eat.

2/27/2007 1:43 AM  
Blogger nkb-vp-ltl said...

I'm sorry - but I have the exact same problem with low-carb diets - always hungry - and let me tell you I'm certainly not doing lowfat - I had lamb meatballs for dinner -peanut butter for breakfast, cheese, chili, sashimi -greek salads with hummus, and beans until I want to croke.

basically I'm not your "low fat/low carb lady" - and man I will be at the point where my stomach actually hurts from eating so much and still I hear it grumbling.

so despite the fact that this has not been your experience, being dismissive of it is not cool.

4/03/2007 4:58 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey NKB,

Looks like you are eating too many carbs--peanut butter, chili, beans...that may be why you are STILL so hungry.

My fat/protein/carb ratio is around 60/30/10 and I have NEVER NEVER NEVER been hungry.

Try it, you may like it! :)

4/03/2007 5:39 PM  

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