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The Science of Satiety: How To Ditch the Hangry Cravings

You’re constantly on the go, leaving a trail of dust behind you at the gym, office, or your latest adventure. The last thing you need is a monster growling in your stomach, threatening to derail your progress and focus.

Satiety — that feeling of deep satisfaction that keeps you fueled and powered throughout the day — is a hot debate in the low-carb and ketogenic communities. While many swear by the protein + fiber formula, research suggests protein and fat make a better pairing for long-lasting fullness.

So what drives true satiety on a low-carb journey? We’re exploring the science behind what turns off hunger pangs and tames carb cravings, then sharing our best tips to hack these hormones.

What Is Satiety Exactly?

Satiety is the feeling of fullness and satisfaction that signals you’ve eaten enough. This feeling involves complex interactions between hormones from your gastrointestinal (GI) tract and your hypothalamus, the part of your brain responsible for appetite regulation.[*

The conversation between these satiety messengers ultimately influences your eating behavior: 

  • Ghrelin, the “hunger hormone. Made in your stomach, ghrelin rises between meals and stimulates your appetite. It tells your brain that you’re hungry.[*]
  • Leptin, the “fullness hormone. Leptin is the opposing force to ghrelin, telling your body to stop eating and signaling satiety in your brain. Leptin helps prevent overeating.[*]
      • Peptide YY (PYY). PYY acts as a satiety booster. This gut hormone kicks in after a meal, working alongside leptin to further promote feelings of fullness and decrease appetite.[*]
      • Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). Another gut hormone released after eating, GLP-1 promotes satiety and slows down gastric emptying (how quickly food leaves your stomach). It also triggers insulin release, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.[*]
  • Cholecystokinin (CCK). Produced in the small intestine in response to fat and protein in your meal, CCK plays a crucial role in short-term satiety. It helps regulate digestion by slowing down stomach emptying, allowing for better nutrient absorption and feelings of fullness.[*]

  • Your body composition, stress levels, sleep patterns, gut microbiome, physical activity, diet, and more all influence how these hormones work. Today, let’s tackle macronutrients, starting with:

    Protein: The Foundation of a Hunger-Fighting Meal or Snack

    People tend to eat more protein on a low-carb or keto diet than on a standard American diet. Scientists believe this elevated protein intake may explain why low-carb dieters spontaneously eat fewer calories and feel less hungry.[*][*]

    According to studies, protein can increase satiety hormones like PYY and GLP-1 while decreasing ghrelin.[*] In one meta-analysis of 49 short-term and 19 long-term studies, higher protein intakes slashed hunger, desire to eat, and food intake while boosting fullness and satiety.[*]

    There’s also protein’s thermic effect to consider. Your body burns more calories digesting protein than fat or carbohydrates, which can contribute slightly to satiety by increasing metabolic activity.[*]

    However, protein alone isn’t the ultimate champion of satiety.

    Fat: The Satiety Secret

    Ever polished off a plate of grilled chicken and steamed broccoli only to be ravenous an hour later? That’s because this meal, while protein-rich, is lacking in the fat department.

    Dietary fat plays a starring role in the satiety saga because it’s been shown to:[*]

    Slow Digestion 

    Fat takes longer to break down than protein or carbs. During this time, it sends a steady stream of signals to your brain to promote satiety, keeping you feeling fuller for longer and reducing hunger pangs and cravings.[*] This increased feeling of fullness is especially helpful when you’re busy, ultra-focused, or far away from food.

    Elevate Satiety Hormones

    Dietary fat can raise leptin levels, sending a clear “stop eating” signal to your brain.[*] It also stimulates the satiety hormone PYY.[*] These hormonal nudges can be a game-changer for managing cravings and preventing overeating. 

    Enhance Flavor and Pleasure 

    Let’s be honest, a dry chicken breast isn’t the epitome of culinary delight. Healthy fats add richness and flavor to your meals, making them more enjoyable and promoting a sense of contentment that goes beyond simple fullness. 

    Delicious food also keeps you from derailing your nutritional goals. Scientists say sensory and cognitive processes guide meal anticipation, and learned associations with anticipated reward and pleasure help define overall meal quality and satiety.[*]

    So if you believe you’ve had a really good, satisfying meal, you’ll be less likely to feel unfulfilled and graze for snacks later.

    But there’s another factor we have to consider when dishing about fat and satiety:

    Ketones: The Ultimate Appetite Squasher & Satiety Hero

    Research suggests that low-carbohydrate diets, which tend to be higher in both protein and fat, crush hunger pangs and promote satiety better than standard diets.[*] But keto diets have hunger-suppressing effects independent of protein content.[*

    Scientists say these perks result from ketones — molecules your body makes when it relies on fat for fuel in ketosis.[*] According to studies:

    • Higher ketone levels have been linked to lower concentrations of the hunger hormone ghrelin and increased concentrations of the satiety hormones GLP-1 and CCK.[*][*]
    • More ketones correlate with a reduced urge to eat, lower feelings of hunger, and a larger release of satiety peptides when you do chow down.[*][*]

    The best ways to boost your ketone levels? Practice intermittent fasting, drastically limit your carb intake, or eat more dietary fat on keto (not less).

    So, What About Fiber?

    Think you need endless bowls of rabbit food to feel full? Advocates of the carnivore diet would prove that myth wrong.

    High-volume foods (fruits and veggies that contain water and fiber) increase gastric stretching, which is the actual stretching of your stomach. This physical cue sends a message to your brain that you should stop eating. 

    However, these foods don’t contribute to that deep level of satisfaction and true satiety on their own — unless you demolish a ton of them. And that may wreck your daily low-carb macros. 

    So if you want to incorporate low-carb veggies to add bulk to your meals and support digestion, just add fat. Roast veggies in animal fat, make salad dressings with MCT oil, smother your broccoli or cauliflower rice in grass-fed butter or cheese — the possibilities are as endless as your culinary imagination!

    The Quickest Satiety Solution? Keto Brick! 🔥

    Keto Bricks are shelf-stable, gluten-free performance bars with the perfect keto macros (81.5% fat; 12.5% protein; 6% carbs). They have the ideal mix of fat and protein to conquer hunger and satiety on demand.

    You won’t find any junk in our Bricks — only clean ingredients like:

    Keto Bricks have been scientifically proven to elevate ketone levels and ignite fat burning.[*] They take the guesswork out of macro-tracking, streamline meal prep, and are the easiest way to add more healthy fats to your diet.

    Got sweet cravings while in ketosis? Trick your brain with our highly-rated flavors that only taste like you’re cheating. You can also use our Keto Brick recipes to whip up cookies, mug cakes, and other treats you’ll actually feel good about.

    🔑  Unlock a New Level of Satiety

    Don’t let hunger slow you down — a satisfied you is a ready-to-tackle-anything you! By understanding the science of satiety hormones and strategically incorporating protein and fat, you can ditch hangry pangs and empower your body to perform at its best. 

    ⚡  Conquer the hunger games and become a fat-fueled force with Keto Bricks! The more Keto Bricks you snag, the more your discounts stack (up to 30% off)!

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