I have a lot of clients who come to my office with “a fear of carbs.” They are either avoiding carbs or craving carbs. Each visit is independent of each other, however the guilt, stress, and confusion is usually similar. As I silently and calmly thank the media for yet again mass misinformation we soldier on and figure out the best plan to move forward.
My theory has always been that the more you restrict your calories, a.k.a the fuel your body needs to get things done, the more your body is going to crave its simplest form of energy. That unfortunately is carbs and if you aren’t eating enough of these the cravings are going to be constant and strong.
You can imagine how excited I was when I read Cornell’s latest study that explored the relationship between hunger and food choices and consumption. The study reviewed 128 students and split them into two groups. One group fasted for 18 hours starting at 6 pm and the other (the control group) did not fast. Twelve weekday lunches were reviewed during the study and the results satisfied my theory I stand by.
Those in the fasting group were more likely to start their meal with starches over anything else picking starches a third of the time verse the non-fasting group who only picked starches 10% of the time.
Dr. Tal and his researchers speculate that hunger sets off a desire for carbohydrates. “It’s a quicker, higher-energy source,” he said. “You’re essentially maximizing calories per time, so you replenish your deficit faster.”
My clients will tell you how important I think maximizing metabolic efficiency is by focusing on timing of meals and the appropriate ratio of carbs/proteins/fats. It’s a science that’s worth exploring to get results. If you have a fear of carbs or find that you restrict during the day and if you lack energy or are consistently tired it may be worth exploring this concept more. Have you had any experience with this? I’d love to hear about it.
The most interesting part of the study hypothesized that starting a meal with a particular food led all participants to consume 46.7% percent more calories of the particular food compared with other foods and those who started their meals with carbs ate 20% more total calories than their peers.