Your attempts to eat healthier may be making you hungrier.
Misguided health-conscious eaters are known to deprive themselves of key nutrients that keep them feeling full because eating less is ‘healthy’, which results in an unplanned afternoon trips to the vending machine.
One of those key nutrients is fiber.
“Not all carbs are equal, and simple sugars like white breads, pastas, and rice provide initial satisfaction, but wear off quickly, so within an hour of eating, you’re likely to feel hungry again,” Colleen Wysocki-Woods, MS, RDN, owner of Zest Nutrition in Fort Collins, CO, told POPSUGAR.
“This is because glucose, which is found in each of these foods along with sweets, is quickly metabolized. It’s the first source for energy, meaning we use the calories from glucose for everything from exercise to involuntary functions like breathing.”
Fiber-full complex carbs are digested slower, helping us feel satiated for longer; these can be found in fruits, veggies, and whole grains like brown rice and oats.
Adults should eat at least 25 grams of fiber per day, which is best achieved with about 9 grams at each meal, Colleen explained.
Another key nutrient to curb hunger is protein.
“Because protein takes longer than carbs to digest and doesn’t send our blood sugars on a roller coaster ride, we tend to feel more stable and satiated after eating it,” Colleen said.
Protein can be had in any form of animal product – poultry, meat, and fish, as well as eggs, yogurt, and cheese. Plant-based proteins include beans, corn, soy, and tempeh, as well as whole grains like quinoa.
Finally, don’t shy away from fats to complete a balanced diet; think of healthy fats like avocados, nuts and nut butters, flaxseed, and oily fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines.
“Healthy fats also allow us to feel satiated for a long period of time. At eight to 12 hours, fats take the longest of all macronutrients to digest, which explains why we feel full after eating guacamole,” Colleen said.
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