“Fueling Your Body: The Surprising Revelation of Eating More

One of the biggest surprises that clients get when they come to me is that they very often need to eat more!  Are you surprised too? Then let me explain!

In order to adequately fuel our bodies we need to consume foods from the following  4 categories:

Carbohydrates

Proteins

Fats

Fibre

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are our bodies preferred source of fuel and get broken down into simple sugars that our bodies can easily absorb, therefore they ENERGISE us!  Our brain requires approximately 130g of glucose per day just to function. Carbohydrates are found in starchy foods such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and grains. By having wholegrain varieties such as wholemeal bread and pasta, brown rice and grains you are also getting fibre which slows down the rate at which the carbohydrate is broken down.  We should be mindful of refined carbohydrates found in white bread, pasta, rice, bakery products, sugary drink and confectionary.

Proteins

Proteins aid satiation which is I think, is partly behind the reason we have become obsessed with high protein foods and think we need more protein than we actually do  – 0.75g/kg of body weight. Proteins are broken down into amino acids and are important in growing and repairing muscle, bone, skin, hair and nails.  We associate protein with meat, fish, dairy products.  However in order to get a full range of amino acids we should also be consuming beans, pulses, legumes, nuts and seeds.  These will also provide us with fibre and nourish our gut bacteria as well.

Fats

Fats are broken down into fatty acids and glycerol for the body to use in components of cell structures.  They are also essential in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.  Fats slow down gastric emptying thus stabilising energy levels.  Current guidance is to consume less saturated fats (these tend to be solid at room temperature, we can do this by choosing lower fat dairy products (watch this space as it may change), avoid visible fat on meat, chicken and fish skin, coconut and palm oils. Instead we should be eating more unsaturated fats (liquid at room temperature) such as nuts, seeds, olives, avocados and oily fish.  Oily fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines) should be consumed once per week as they provide omega-3 an essential fatty acid. It is worth noting that fat contains 9Kcal/g whereas protein and carbohydrates both contain 4Kcal/g so even ‘healthy fats’ should be consumed in moderation.

Fibre

Fibre is found in wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, pulses and legumes and keeps us feeling fuller for longer.  Everyone is aware that fibre helps keep our bowels moving but it can also have a role to play in the management of diarrhoea.  Fibre rich foods provide antioxidants, polyphenols and nourishment for our gut bacteria. A recently published systematic review a diet rich in fibre was shown to reduce mortality from Cardiovascular disease by 26% and form cancers by 22%.

There is also another factor to consider in our diet – our cravings.  These make us happy! Despite what you may think once we acknowledge that there is room in a well balanced diet for all foods even those high in fat and sugar then that is the sweet spot in having a diet that nourishes both our body and soul.

When planning your meals include something from the 4 groups above  – carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fibre and a craving if wished, you will feel satisfied, less likely to overeat and which in turn helps with weight management.  By including a variety of sources of each of the groups you will also get the wide variety of vitamins and minerals that you need

Trust me! I’m a Dietitian.

 

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