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How Starches Satisfy Appetite

The following is an excerpt from The Starch Solution.

The body’s metabolism is genetically encoded to run most efficiently on starch. No amount of willpower, dieting, or wishful thinking will change that fundamental fact. The one simple solution to health and beauty is to eat the diet we were designed for. In addition to being healthful, a diet based on starch offers a multitude of rewards.

Starches Satisfy the Appetite: The hunger drive keeps us alive. You cannot fool hunger by pushing yourself away from the table, putting down your fork between bites, eating from a small plate, or counting calories. You will never train yourself not to experience the discomfort associated with hunger, even if you practice until you are 90 years old.

The control you do have is over the foods that fill your plate. Meat, dairy, animal fats, and vegetable oils lead to excess weight gain and illness. Starches, vegetables, and fruits support a trim, fit body and a lifetime of excellent health.

You may have heard that all calories are the same when it comes to body weight. That’s not true, especially when it comes to satisfying the appetite and accumulating fat. Three components of food provide the fuel we know as calories: protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Starches like corn, beans, potatoes, and rice offer abundant carbohydrates and dietary fiber and are very low in fat.

Satisfying the appetite begins with filling the stomach. Compared to cheese (4 calories per gram), meat (4 calories per gram), and oils (9 calories per gram), starches contribute only about 1 calorie per gram. They help you to feel full for just a quarter of the calories in cheese and meat, and one-ninth of those in oil. Plus, they offer a great deal of satisfaction. Research comparing the way carbohydrates and fats appease the appetite shows that carbohydrates lead to hours of satiety, whereas fats have little impact. In other words, when you fill up on starch you stay full for a long time, whereas when you fill up on fats and oils you still want to eat more.

Image via Smart Living Network.

[Related: Obesity: It’s Not About the Carbs]

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about the author

John McDougall, MD

John McDougall, MD, is medical director of the McDougall Program, a 10-day residential program located in Santa Rosa, California. Dr. McDougall uses a low-fat, starch-based diet that results in dramatic health benefits and can reverse serious illness, such as heart disease, without drugs. He is co-author of The Healthiest Diet on the PlanetThe Starch Solution, McDougall Quick and Easy, and author of The McDougall Program and many other books. Visit for more information.

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