Protein, rather than fats or carbohydrates, works best for suppressing hunger, report researchers from the US.
In a study of 16 people fed varying levels of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, levels of ghrelin – a hormone that stimulates appetite, were measured.
Fats reportedly suppressed hunger poorly, and while carbohydrates proved a strong initial appetite suppressant, ghrelin levels rose to even higher levels after a period of time. In other words, carbohydrates eventually made the participants even hungrier.
"Proteins were the best suppressor of ghrelin in terms of the combination of the depth and duration of suppression," said researcher Dr David Cummings of the University of Seattle.
The study will appear in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
According to dietician Sharon Natoli of the Australian Healthy Food Guide, the following are great sources of protein:
- Chicken, turkey – also good for vitamin B12 and some iron and zinc
- Eggs – also good for healthy monounsaturated fats, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin A and selenium
- Kangaroo meat – also has a high iron content
- Milk, cheese and yoghurt – also provide calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and phosphorus
- Legumes – also a source of iron, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc
- Nuts – also rich in vitamin E, and contain zinc and magnesium
- Tofu – also contains iron and calcium