A recent experience of hunger

Steve Marshall | 01 Feb, 2019

It is now nearly four years since I arrived at my target weight, following a loss of over ten stone. I think that one of the main reasons that my diet with Nutracheck worked, when the countless previous diets had not, was that I managed to control my hunger. I have always had a big appetite, and could not tolerate being hungry. And recently I had an interesting reminder of how important control over hunger still is to me.

I got involved in a research study, run by the University of Coventry, involving spending 26 hours in an isolation chamber. And then doing it all over again, three months later. If you're curious, the research concerned muscle loss in older men, but the reason for writing this blog is that in my time in the isolation chamber I had to eat and drink precisely what I was given (no more, no less). The food and drink were measured exactly so that it was just what my body needed over that 26-hour period.

What I found in the chamber was that I was very hungry indeed – much hungrier than I can remember being for some years. The hunger even stopped me sleeping properly. And it was just the same when I was back in the chamber three months later. The people running the experiment were surprised, because they were certain that what I was eating and drinking was sufficient for my body requirements. So, following my second stay in the chamber, I had to do some research of my own!

The researchers provided me with the list of what I had consumed during my stay, so I could compare it to a typical home day in my Nutracheck diary, to see how the two were similar, and how they were different.

First, how were they similar?

  1. I consumed 2,540 calories in the chamber; that's a bit more than I would usually eat, but I found a day in my Nutracheck diary where I consumed 2,301 calories, which is pretty close.
  2. Total grams of both protein and carbohydrates were similar in the chamber and at home.

And how were they different?...

  1. My fat intake in the chamber was 107g, against 29g at home.
  2. In the chamber my total intake of fruit and veg was one banana (two portions). On the day at home I ate 22 portions which, if anything is a bit low for me.
  3. The total weight of everything I consumed in the chamber was 1.8kg (about 4 pounds); on the day at home it was 6.2kg (about 14 pounds).

These are big differences. On the typical day at home I consumed a vast weight of food (a stone!) but still came in within my calories. On the day in the chamber I consumed a whole 10 pounds less than at home, but that was actually over two hundred calories more.

Ever since I started my Nutracheck diet, I have had the impression that eating big weights of food stop me from getting hungry, and that was even before Emma told me what the whole subject was called – calorie density of foods. High calorie dense foods give you a lot of calories for, say 100g. Low calorie dense foods give you fewer calories for that 100g.

Certainly, for me, this makes the world of difference to my hunger. As an example, on the day in the chamber my lunch weighed 500g, gave me nearly 1,000kcal, and half an hour after eating it I was hungry again, and stayed hungry until a snack in the late afternoon. On the day at home, my lunchtime salad weighed twice as much, but gave me only half the calories, and I still wasn't hungry when we had dinner at eight o'clock that evening.

As I said at the beginning, I have always liked eating big meals, and I found that I can still do that, keep hunger at bay, and maintain my weight – as long as what I eat usually has low calorie density. Consequently I have dramatically changed the things that I eat, and the way that I cook them, and I have come to really enjoy this new low calorie dense regime.

Steve lost a massive 10st with Nutracheck. He now regularly writes about how he maintains his weight loss.