Hunger returns quicker cause insulin is lower as the day goes on

Food choices shown here change as the day goes on to help keep hunger away.. [1]

Hunger is controlled by many hormones.[2] One factor we can control is what we eat, and when.

In an early study, increased insulin increased hunger.[3] In later studies in mice, though, insulin reduced hunger.[4] Also in a later study in women, insulin reduced hunger. It even reduced the tastiness of the tastiest snack offered, chocolate chip cookies. Sounds definitive.[5]

The same foods lead us to produce different amounts of insulin at different times of day. A given food produces a stronger insulin response in the morning than in the afternoon and evening, as shown in the figure.

Graph shows how the insulin response to food differs at 9 am, 3 pm, and 8 pm.

  • At 9 am the insulin response is fast, high, and long.
  • At 3 pm the insulin response is slow, medium, and long.
  • At 8 pm the insulin response is slow, low, and short.

The insulin response reduces hunger most in the morning, less in the afternoon, and least in the evening.

This is great news! Forewarned is forearmed.

We can satisfy our hunger equally well throughout the day by splurging in the morning, being more careful in the afternoon, and being most careful in the evening.

  1. “Welcome to Northside Grille.” Accessed 29 Oct. 2016.
  2. Schwartz, Michael W., and Gregory J. Morton. “Obesity: keeping hunger at bay.” Nature 418.6898 (2002): 595-597.
  3. Rodin, Judith, et al. “Effect of insulin and glucose on feeding behavior.” Metabolism 34.9 (1985): 826-831.
  4. Piroli, G. G. “Regulation of food intake: an ‘old’ actor plays a ‘new’ role.Molecular psychiatry 8.4 (2003): 364-365.
  5. Hallschmid, Manfred, et al. “Postprandial administration of intranasal insulin intensifies satiety and reduces intake of palatable snacks in women.Diabetes 61.4 (2012): 782-789.
  6. Jarrett, R. J., et al. “Diurnal variation in oral glucose tolerance: blood sugar and plasma insulin levels morning, afternoon, and evening.Br Med J 1.5794 (1972): 199-201.

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