Dr Amanda Salis before and after weight loss.
Dr Amanda Salis before and after weight loss. Contributed

Rapid weight loss could be the key to hunger suppression

SENSIBLE dieting could be the hard road to weight loss, according to Associate Prof Amanda Salis.

Dr Salis is a research fellow at the The Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders and was once overweight herself.

She is about to commence research to explore the paradox of appetite suppression and rapid weight loss.

"We want to find out what the magic of fast weight loss, which switches off the appetite, is," Dr Salis said.

The key facts are: a high protein, low calorie and low carbohydrate diet seems to switch off hunger.

She said a deficit of about 1000 calories per day, a reduction of carbohydrate intake to about 30gm per day and increasing protein to 1gm for every kg of body weight seemed to trigger the effect.

This type of weight loss could see losses of as much as 2kg per week, compared to the "sensible" recommendation of .5 to 1kg.

Supporting the argument that rapid weight loss could be the answer for some people is research which shows that when following "sensible" weight loss recommendations, as little as a 6kg drop in body weight can trigger a famine response, Dr Salis said.

The famine response sees an increase in hunger, a drop in the metabolic rate and a feeling of lethargy.

She said, severe calorie restriction, done to the letter and medically supervised seemed to result in the suppression of hunger.

Dr Salis, who lost 28kg 15 years ago the "sensible" way, said she experienced a marked increase in appetite while dieting.

"I felt I didn't have the right to feel hungry while I was losing weight," she said.

"Someone who is very big and losses just 6kg will experience the famine response."

She said current recommendations had some benefits in that it was likely all nutritional requirements would be met and the slow approach provided time to develop habits that were sustainable.

But, when the nutrient requirements were met through products such as Very Low Energy Diets, and it was medically supervised, there appeared to be no other scientific basis to support the slow is best approach.

She said rapid weight loss had benefits beyond appetite suppression: "Rapid weight loss can be very motivating. It is thrilling to lose 2kg a week."

- Dr Salis is currently looking for participants for a clinical trial beginning in October to discover why appetite suppression occurs. To find out more visit click here.

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