I've noticed a few anecdotes here regarding carb-cravings on a relatively lower-fat paleo diet. Looking around the academic lit, there seems to be at least one viable and rat-confirmed explanation for this (which would also help explain appetite disregulation on the SAD, and the success of Taubes-paleo LC for appetite regulation). Potentially, this could also mean prolonged lack of sexual activity exacerbates carb-cravings.
I'm wondering (1) whether the diet-> oxytocin -> satiety connection has been addressed before by any paleo-types and (2) whether this sounds like a viable explanation or not.
I'm an economics student who was pre-med in undergrad, not a neurophysiologist..
Simplified story: So oxytocin (OT) is the famous love hormone. Has all kinds of nice effects, among them a marked decrease in appetite, i.e. increase in satiety and specifically a significant increase in carb-specific satiety. Oleoylethanolamine (OEA) is a nuclear receptor agonist lipid that, among other things, systemically stimulates oxytocin in the brain-stem and hypothalamus. OEA is itself regulated by diet and dietary fat intake specifically stimulates OEA's production (which occurs in the gut) as well as other related satiety-stimulating agents. Finally, oxytocin synthesis is inhibited by dietary sugar intake.
So dietary fats reduce carb-cravings via oxytocin+ stimulation. Sugar exacerbates them via oxytocin inhibition. To eliminate carb-cravings, eliminate sugar (maybe go VLC, substitue with stevia or something?) and up the dietary fat intake. Make sense?
Not sure how dietary protein might factor into this.
asked bywhakahekeheke (948)
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on September 06, 2011
at 07:29 PM
What about eating a tonne of fat and then craving sugar... (i have stopped craving refined carbs though...)?
on January 04, 2012
at 05:48 PM
I think carb cravings are part of the broken insulin release mechanism, weak liver issues and blind brain inflammation. Eat high carbs->insulin release and then some->drives circulating blood sugar into fat cells to below brain glucose happy levels->liver weak and can't do glucogenesis fast enough->brain signals craving for glucose. The brain could signal for fat storage release for fuel but it can't see the refrigerator on my back b/c of the elevated insulin. The oxytocin angle sounds right but I think it is a small player, short acting. Insulin is big player in my broken metabolism. I spread out 60-100 grams of carb over 3 meals and don't over eat protein to keep my insulin response low and steady. No cravings and weight stable.
on November 11, 2011
at 04:31 PM
Not familiar with Oxytocin but it sounds viable to me. From what I understand, carbs can also stimulate appetite by causing leptin resistance. I've noticed that personally when I eat a meal that is a very high percentage of protein by calorie I tend to crave other non protein foods, mostly carbs. Haven't searched for a mechanism to explain that. Probably partly due to proteins effect on insulin sensitivity but I feel that there might also be another mechanism in place to keep us away from rabbit starvation.