Updated: Mar 14
Are you questioning how should you eat so you feel full, satisfied and won't get those in between meal cravings? How can you keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day with the help of food?
One of the very first books I read around nutrition was Body Love by Kelly LeVeque. It explains very simply what happens to food, when it enters the body.
In order for your body to feel full after the meal and to be able to have that 4-6 hour window between meals, you need to eat protein, fat, fibre and greens at every meal.
Protein signals your brain that you are full. It increases the production of leptin ('full' hormone) and also releases dopamine ('reward' hormone). If you don't eat enough protein, you will crave for more carbohydrates. Protein is also a source of amino acids which are building blocks for cells and collagen for cell repair. Proteins also contain B vitamins and minerals which help with overall food absorption. Learn from this post about the foods highest in protein.
Fat activates your satiety hormone leptin, reduces fasting insulin levels, makes you feel more relaxed, slows digestion, curbs cravings and hydrates cells. Some of the best fats include: avocado, butter & ghee, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, salmon sardines for their Omega-3s, nuts and seeds, eggs, organic grass-fed beef, MCT (medium-chain triglycerides oil, dark chocolate. Read more on healthy fats here.
Fibre provides food for good bacteria in our gut, which also help to keep you more regular in the toilet. It also helps your body to produce butyrate ('super fat' for the gut) that prevents cancer and has anti-inflammatory properties. Fibre also removes toxins from the body and slows down the absorption of glucose. There are two types of fibre- soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibre’s role is to provide bulk in your intestines, while at the same time balancing the pH (acidity) levels in the intestines. Insoluble fibre promotes regular bowel movements and helps relieve and prevent constipation.
Insoluble fibre doesn’t dissolve in water and also doesn’t ferment with bacteria in the colon. Nuts, seeds, fruit with skin on, green vegetables and potatoes are some examples of foods high in insoluble fibre.
Soluble fibre helps to lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. Soluble fibre creates a gel in the system by binding with fatty acids. It also prolongs stomach emptying to allow for better absorption of nutrients. Soluble fibre rich foods include legumes and beans, oats, berries and some vegetables. This fibre however does ferment in the stomach, which can therefore lead to bloating and gas. Make sure you increase these foods gradually, and drink plenty of water when you eat them.
The best fibre-rich foods include: avocados, berries, coconut, figs (both fresh and dried), artichokes, peas, Brussels sprouts, turnips, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, quinoa, bananas, oats, beets). Click here to learn more about fibre, its importance for the body and different foods to consume.
Greens provide us with phytonutrients and phytochemicals. They contain sugar sulfoquinovose that feed gut microbiota. They also provide naturally occurring resistant starch that feed microbiota, serve as anti-inflammatory, anticancer and detoxification agents. They also produce antioxidants that repair cell damage from the environment.
How should you portion protein, fat, fibre and greens at every meal?
100-170 g (4-6 oz) of protein for women and 170-225g (6-8 oz) of protein for men
2 tablespoons of fat
2 to 4 cups of fibre and greens (fibrous green vegetables)