Why Some People Have More Trouble Losing Weight Than Others
We eat for so many reasons other than just for hunger: social, cultural, psychological, and physiological. Researchers have been trying to understand how individual metabolism influences not only diet and health but how it can play a role in weight loss and weight gain.
A new study has looked at how people respond to food in real life settings to determine why some people struggle to lose weight even when on a low calorie diet. The PREDICT study enrolled 1,110 healthy adults in the US and UK and monitored their blood sugar levels over a 2 week period. They concluded that people who experience big dips in blood sugar levels, several hours after eating, end up feeling hungrier and consume hundreds more calories during the day than others. In turn, a large drop in blood sugar levels can influence appetite.
What made this study unique was the use of wearable continuous glucose monitors that tracked blood sugar levels 2-4 hours after eating. They concluded that some people tend to have larger drops than others even when eating the same exact foods. Those with the larger dips experienced a greater hunger level, leading to the consumption of at least 300 more calories per day than those with smaller dips. Although 300 calories per day may not seem that high, it can be enough to lead to difficulty losing weight as well as at least a 20 pound weight gain over the year.
Factors that may influence how much an individual’s blood sugars drop include biology (genetics), meal choices and activity levels. More research needs to be done, but what do the people with trouble controlling their hunger and appetite do in the meantime? Choosing foods that work together with your unique biology could help you feel fuller longer and eat less overall. Consider some of these tips:
Tips on How To Control Your Appetite:
- Pay attention to what foods keep you fullest for the longest period of time
- Choose foods that are digested slower: high protein foods like chicken, turkey, fish and beef. Pair them with foods with fiber: vegetables, beans, whole grains and add in a small amount of healthy fats: vegetable oil, avocado, nuts and seeds
- Minimize starchy foods (bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, crackers) which are digested faster and can lead to larger dips in blood sugars
- Avoid foods and beverages with added sugars
- Don’t skip meals and eat regularly throughout the day
~Michele Lubin, MS, RDN
Reference: Postprandial glycaemic dips predict appetite and energy intake in healthy individuals. Patrick Wyatt, Sarah E. Berry, Graham Finlayson, Ruairi O’Driscoll, George Hadjigeorgiou, David A. Drew, Haya Al Khatib, Long H. Nguyen, Inbar Linenberg, Andrew T. Chan, Tim D. Spector, Paul W. Franks, Jonathan Wolf, John Blundell & Ana M. Valdes. Nature Metabolism volume 3, pages523–529(2021)
Low-Carb Mexican Stuffed Peppers
- 3 large bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise and cored
- 2 teaspoons olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 pound ground chicken or turkey breast
- 1 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup canned tomato puree
- 4 ounces reduced fat or 2% shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)
Place the peppers, cut side down on a baking sheet in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees. Bake until the peppers just start to soften, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer the peppers, cut-side up into a microwavable dish.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken or turkey and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon until the meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Add onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until the mixture is browning along the edge of the pan and the vegetables are softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in cumin, chili powder, salt and cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in tomato puree.
Fill the peppers with the meat mixture (about ½ cup per pepper half). Top with cheese, dividing evenly. Microwave the peppers in the baking dish, uncovered until the cheese is melted and the peppers are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve warm with cilantro on top if desired.