Many refined carbohydrates such as white bread, cookies and pretzels taste really good, who can refuse a good cookie? Unfortunately, some carbs tend to make you feel hungrier and wanting more shortly afterwards. It is recommended to limit the intake of these carb sources, since they do not provide many nutritive benefits either. This does not mean you should completely take carbs out of your diet, you still need them, but it’s important to choose food options that don’t cause those pesky cravings.
Do carbs make you feel hungrier – the insulin effect
Both refined grains and sugars are things that are digested rapidly which then cause a pretty sharp increase in blood sugar levels as your body starts to pump out a big dose of the hormone insulin, which causes your blood sugar to drop rather quickly. So, then this sharp decrease leaves you feeling hungry and slow so you end up craving more and more carbs to replenish your lost energy. In turn this creates kind of a cycle of overeating that is pretty difficult to break.
What happens to your brain on refined carbs?
We’ve already talked how refined carbs can affect your insulin levels, but did you know that they may also affect your brain? According to a study that was published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in 2013 researchers on two separate occasions gave the participants a meal of high glycemic index foods, or rather those that can create a spike in blood sugar, and a meal of low GI foods which do have less of an effect on the blood sugar levels.
After conducting this study they found out that the subjects that ate the high GI meals were hungrier and showed a greater activity in brain regions associated with cravings and reward as well.
What carbs don’t cause hunger and cravings?
The type of carbohydrates that don’t actually cause a rise in your blood sugar are the whole natural carb sources. That happens because the refined grains only contain the grain’s starchy endosperm, meanwhile the whole grains contain the bran and the germ, which ultimately provide fiber. Fiber is the substance that slows down the absorption of carbs into the bloodstream while also filling your stomach so you can stay full longer than usual.
Good and healthy options when it comes to whole natural carbs are whole wheat and pumpernickel bread, as well as quinoa, oatmeal and brown rice. You can also up the intake of fruit and veggies as well, as they are also rich in fiber, but do be cautious around white potatoes which can spike your blood sugar levels up.
How to maintain a balanced diet?
The best thing you, and anyone really, can do to ensure proper nutrition while also avoiding cravings is to choose a balanced diet of healthy carbs with the added adequate amount of fat and protein. Since both protein and fats are digested significantly slower than many carbohydrates, eating enough of them may help you to stay full longer.
So, each day about 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories should come from carbs, 20 to 35 percent of calories should come from fats, while around 10 to 35 percent of calories should come from protein.