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Hunger and Blood Sugar Linked

Why some of us suffer from more hunger pangs.

Fork and clock to represent hunger and blood sugar

Comparing what happened when 1,070 participants ate the same test meals, researchers from King’s College London found a link between hunger and blood sugar responses. Those who experienced big dips in blood sugar levels below baseline levels a few hours after eating, as measured using stick-on continuous glucose monitors, felt much hungrier and consumed an average of 312 more calories during the day than others with a more modest blood sugar response.

Interestingly, there was no correlation between age, body weight or body mass index and being a big or little dipper. This suggests for the first time that sugar dips are a better predictor of hunger and subsequent calorie intake than the initial blood sugar peak response after eating and that different people respond differently to the same foods. This variation in metabolism could be another reason why some people struggle to lose weight, even when trying to eat a calorie-controlled healthy diet. The future of personalized nutrition using wearable technology could help people pair their unique biology with foods that help them feel fuller for longer—and this, in turn, could help them eat less overall.

See also: Does Oatmeal Raise Blood Sugar?


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Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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