Knowing how food works can set you free from dieting. Dont worry, you don't have to know everything. Even experts are still fighting about the details. But there are some indisputable basics on hunger management – knowing about them will help you eat smarter.
Avoid the Insulin Rollercoaster
Our blood sugar (BS) level directly affects our hunger and energy. A BS balance between 80 to 120 mg/ml makes us feel our best. Eating any kind of carb (cake or carrots) spikes our BS. Foods that are high in simple carbs (aka sugars) cause the biggest and fastest BS spikes. Our body then releases A LOT of the hormone insulin, which directs the glucose (=BS) out of our blood and into our cells until a BS balance is re-established. When the job is done, it takes a while for the insulin level to decrease back to normal. This high-insulin state causes your body to crave even more sugar, and to store energy, instead of burning it. Eating complex carbs paired with fiber, fat, and protein helps to keep BS and insulin levels within a normal range.
Double Down on Fiber
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body can't digest. It increases the volume of your stool and helps move things through your digestive tract faster (= the opposite of constipation). Fiber also helps the body regulate blood sugar and turn off hunger signals. The daily recommended amount for adults is 20-30 grams. If you poop regularly (like once a day) and feel like "things run smoothly", that's a good sign you're getting enough fiber.
Include Protein and Fat in Every Meal
Protein will keep you fuller for longer and is very important for recovery and tissue repair (muscle, skin, etc). Fat is crucial for your hormonal health.Your body can't produce enough hormones if you aren't eating healthy fats like fatty fish, nuts, seeds, avocado or olive oil. Other benefits: better skin, digestion, mood, and brain function. Plus: your food will taste better because fat naturally enhances flavour.
Choose Real Food Over Artificial Flavors
Food engineers have worked very hard to design irresistable foods that you just can't stop eating. It's a combination of texture, intense flavour, and fattiness. Chips are the perfect example. Artificially flavored food undermines your natural satiety signals. Your body has a hard time knowing when you had enough.
Bump up the Volume
Include many fresh foods with a high water content, like vegetables and fruit. They fill up your stomach way faster than dry foods, like white bread or pastries. If your stomach is full, the nerves in the stomach wall signal to your brain that you don't need more food. Also, make sure you drink enough water.
DELISH the Dish
Probably the most important step: Make your food really tasty and satisfying! Instead of thinking about all the things you should cut out of your diet, think about the amazing foods you can add to it! A few toppings go a long way. My personal fave: tahini on errrythang.