Taming the Hunger Monster - How Good Nutrition Keeps Your Appetite in Check - Part 1 - Protein
One of the keys to successful weight management is to have good control over your hunger level. As you may recall from one of our earlier posts, your body will fight hard to regain any weight you lose by ramping up your hunger signals. Over the next four posts, we will discuss key nutrients for helping to win the fight against appetite.
People eat for so many reasons and choose a variety of foods that are usually enjoyable, comforting, healthy, or indulgent (amongst others). Food serves a purpose, but not all foods have the same impact on appetite control. In fact, missing out on key nutrients in your eating patterns can cause big imbalances in your hunger and satiety signals.
What exactly is satiety? It’s that state of satisfaction that you feel when eating, where you’re not hungry but you also don’t feel full. You’re somewhere in the middle, meaning that you feel satisfied. Appetite is such a complex feeling that is heavily influenced by a variety of factors. Let’s take a look at how nutrition plays a role in appetite control, starting with a major nutrient in your diet: protein.
Protein is one of three macronutrients in food, with the others being carbohydrates and fats. Protein influences a number of natural functions in the body including: muscle building, repair of body tissue, and blood sugar regulation. Protein also slows down the rate of digestion, as protein based foods take the body more time to adequately break down. This is what helps control appetite because you end up feeling more satisfied over a longer period of time.
How to Get Enough Protein in Your Diet:
Have a good grasp on foods that are protein-rich
Based on your dietary preferences, you may wish to include: lean cuts of meat (beef, pork, or poultry), fish/seafood, milk products (milk, yogurt, cheese), soy products (soy milk, tofu, edamame, tempeh), eggs, nuts and seeds, nut butters, lentils and legumes (such as chickpeas, black beans, or kidney beans).
Spread protein out throughout the day
Don’t just save protein for your dinner meal! Many Canadians eat a low protein breakfast and may not include protein at lunch or with their snacks. Spread that protein out, so that you include a good source with every meal and snack that you eat.
Choose whole food sources most often
Protein shakes and bars are convenient; however, just because you can drink it or carry it with you, doesn’t mean that you should (or at least, not all the time). When you rely on these convenient protein sources, you miss out on lots of other nutrient sources in your diet that whole foods provide (especially when used in place of a meal).
Now that you’re a protein expert, next time we’ll dive into the wonderful world of fibre and its effect on appetite.