Smart Dieting

New thinking on hunger, satiety, and calories

Healthway Happenings August/September 2009

 Reprinted with permission

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Chromium picolinate reduced hunger and cravings, protein for breakfast cut hunger all day, and limiting total calories lowered weight, in three new studies.


In a hunger study, 42 overweight non-smoking women, average age 33, who said they intensely craved carbohydrates, took 1,000 mcg of chromium picolinate (Chromax) per day, or a placebo.  After eight weeks, those in the chromium picolinate group had about 24 percent lower hunger levels and food intake, while the placebo group reported increased hunger levels.


Dr. Louis Aronne from the Weill Cornell Medical Center, New Your City says that while all calories have the same energy value, some foods increase hunger and may affect what people eat later on.  For example, carbohydrates raise blood sugar, causing an insulin surge that lowers blood sugar, increasing hunger again.  The doctor believes that insulin spikes interfere with a satiety hormone, leptin, which may malfunction in obese people.  Dr. Aronne cites a study where people who ate a protein-rich breakfast of eggs consumed 140 fewer calories at lunch and ate less during the next 36 hours compared to those who ate a bagel for breakfast.


Doctors from Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, wanted to vary the amount of fat, protein, and carbohydrate in this weight-loss study to see if one diet is better than another.  About 800 overweight adults ate one of four diets that were low or high in fats or carbohydrates.  All the diets followed heart-healthy guidelines, replaced saturated with unsaturated fat, and were high in whole grain cereals, fruits, and vegetables.


Researchers asked participants to attend behavior counseling, exercise moderately for 90 minutes per week, keep a daily diet diary, and to eat 750 calories less than normal per day.  No one ate fewer than 1,200 calories per day.  After six months, participants on all four diets had lost an average of 13 pounds, and on average, all groups fatter two years weighed nine pounds less, with waists two inches smaller.

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