Humans are peculiar creatures. When something is handed to us, we don’t want it, but when we’re told we can’t have something—whether it be a job, a date, or a particular food—we become utterly obsessed with it. That said, it should come as no surprise that a new study claims to have proof that restrictive, low-carb diets may in fact cause people to crave and consume more indulgent, fatty foods. According to the report, which was authored by researchers from Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Leeds, foods high in carbohydrates suppress the appetite longer than foods that are high in fat. They also found that consuming carb-rich fare wards off the urge to partake in hedonic eating, which is eating for pleasure rather than to quell hunger pangs.
To come to this finding, 65 overweight or obese individuals underwent a series of tests designed to assess satiety after consuming equal-calorie meals—one that was high in fat but low in carbs, and one that was low-fat and high in carbs. After reviewing the test data, it became apparent that the participants felt more satiated after consuming high-carb dishes than they did after consuming meals high in fat. Their results also showed that high-carb meals were more effective in reducing desire for high-fat foods later in the day.
That said, you shouldn’t use this news as an excuse to gorge on a big bowl of pasta or a massive bagel every chance you get. When getting your carb on, always stick to wholesome fiber-rich sources like these 25 Best Carbs for Weight Loss and keep your portions reasonably sized. (A serving of rice or pasta, for example, shouldn’t exceed a ½ cup. For visual learners, that’s about the same size as a light bulb.) And if you find that you’re getting hard-to-ignore cravings for fatty fare, up your daily carb intake a bit and see if that helps. It may just help you dial back your junk food intake and aid your weight loss efforts.