I have consistently maintained a low carbohydrate diet now for over two-and-a-half years. I have never felt better. As I discussed previously, I find this way of eating very sustainable because my body functions better than ever.
Anyway, I have gotten accustomed to the lack of cravings associated with this diet. So much so, that I was surprised the other night when I returned home after a evening out with friends. We had eaten dinner at a local restaurant. The pureed squash soup and the pork chop I ordered were delicious, and the portions were generous. I remember briefly thinking that both were a bit sweeter than I had expected, but it was not until later that I realized just how much sugar they had contained. As usual, we bypassed dessert and left the restaurant pleasantly satisfied.
By the time we returned home from our evening out (only a couple of hours after eating a substantial dinner) I was ravenously hungry again. This was particularly startling to me, because since I have adopted a low carbohydrate diet, I rarely feel the need to snack, and I never have this level of aggressive hunger.
I ate a handful of almonds with some 85% cacao and drank a glass of water. This settled things down a bit and I resumed my normal diet in the morning with bacon and eggs.
So what happened here?
I inadvertently consumed much more sugar than I am accustomed to at dinner that night. This caused my blood sugar to elevate. My body released a large bolus of insulin in response. This dropped my blood sugar, which aggressively activated my hunger. The trap would have been to eat another carbohydrate rich meal causing this cycle to repeat.
This cycle of carbohydrate overconsumption, leading to increased insulin secretion, leading to hunger, leading to carbohydrate overconsumption is essentially the standard American diet. This causes many Americans to be chronically hungry even though they are overweight.
This cycle can only be broken by reducing carbohydrate intake. Insulin secretion and hunger are involuntary. Carbohydrate consumption is a choice. Choosing to reduce carbohydrate intake reduces your bodies need to secrete insulin and thus reduces hunger. This results in weight loss.
The evening I described was notable since is is now rare for me. I used to feel this way all the time. The foods we eat are more than just calories, vitamins and minerals. They also influence how our bodies function via their hormonal effects. Dietary recommendations that ignore the hormonal response to macronutrients are far too simplistic.