People on low-carb, high-protein diets swear they feel more full after eating less food. Now, French researchers are helping to explain why.
In a study conducted in rats, researchers found diets rich in protein cause the small intestine to produce more glucose. The liver picks up on this additional production and sends a message to the brain, where it is interpreted as a directive to curb the appetite.
“The current findings provide an answer to the question of how protein-enriched meals decrease hunger and reduce eating, unsolved up to now,” investigators report. “Our data also bring to light a novel concept of control of food intake, involving the small intestine glucose metabolism as a key relay from the macronutrient composition of the diet to the amount of food ingested.”
The authors believe these findings may one day help scientists develop new strategies to treat the growing obesity epidemic that is markedly increasing the risk for death and disability, primarily by raising the risk for type 2 diabetes. Researchers say, “Glucose metabolism in the small intestine may be a new target in the treatment of food intake disorders.”