I am no expert however I have done so much research and have been given advice over the years mainly to find a healthy lifestyle with food, not a diet. Diet is a funny word and one I don’t actually like, I really feel the best way to loose or maintain weight is living a healthy balanced lifestyle, something that can be done for a lifetime, not a quick fix, something that stays strong through out and doesn’t leave you feeling exhausted and hungry. For myself I love exercise, but will admit sometimes I dislike it very much when I’m not in the mood but honestly, after, I feel so much better, not just great for the body it’s great for the mind too. Exercise obviously burns more calories and to perform at a good level you need to be fueled. Exercise on an empty stomach is no good and certainly not sustainable.
For me understanding ‘diet’ is necessary to understand what your body needs. When you understand, everything makes sense in turn loosing and maintaining weight is so much easier.
Researchers in Australia came up with the “satiety index,” a way to determine how satisfied you feel after eating certain foods. Participants ate a 240-calorie portion of each food, then rated their satiety over 2 hours. Using that information, scientists put together a list of the best healthy foods for keeping you full.
For me Satiety is a word I only actually came across a couple months a go but it has given me some sense behind the foods I’m choosing to give me energy. The SI index isn’t about filling our faces with food it’s about eating the correct foods to keep us fuller for longer and that is what maintains a healthy lifestyle with regards to diet.
For eg, boiled potatoes were almost 7 times higher than the lowest SI score of a croissant. Foods that are in the same group can vary drastically also, porridge for example is better than muesli. Bananas on the SI index were found to be much less filling than apples and oranges.
There is a sophisticated communication between our digestive system and our brain that tells us when we are empty and when we are full or satiated.
Look at the energy density of foods. Diets with a low energy density can help you feel fuller for longer without providing too many calories.
I have changed my choice of ‘diet’ filling it more with vegetables, fish, chicken, nutritious foods. I have cut out eating foods high carbohydrate meals and switched for low carbohydrate foods instead when not training and eating high carbohydrate meals after exercise. I used to think I needed to be carb ready for the gym but honestly I feel I have so much more energy, the foods I am now eating have high nutrition values which in turn make me feel fuller for longer controlling my sugar cravings and giving me more energy. However you must remember carbs are not the enemy but choose the correct foods:
Here are some top tips for helping you feel fuller:
- Foods high in protein seem to make us feel fuller than foods high in fat or carbohydrate, so including some protein at every meal should help keep you satisfied. Foods high in protein include meats such as chicken, ham or beef, fish, eggs, beans and pulses.
- If you are watching your weight, opt for lower fat versions, using leaner cuts of meat, cutting off visible fat and avoiding the skin on poultry as this will help reduce the energy density of the diet, which can help to enhance satiety.
- Foods that are high in fibre may also enhance feelings of fullness so try to include plenty of high-fibre foods in the diet such as wholegrain bread and cereals, beans and pulses and fruit and vegetables.
- Alcohol seems to stimulate appetite in the short-term and therefore drinking alcohol is likely to encourage us to eat more. Alcoholic beverages can make you forget about your intentions to eat healthily by making you lose your inhibitions. Alcoholic drinks are also calorific, so you should cut down on alcohol consumption if you are trying to control your weight. I know I know, we have all been there, but the more you are aware the more you will cut out.
- The ‘energy density’ of food has a strong influence on feelings of fullness or satiety. Energy density is the amount of energy (or calories) per gram of food. Lower energy density foods provide less energy per gram of food so you can eat more of them without consuming too many calories. Low energy density foods include fruit and vegetables, foods with lots of water added when cooking such as soups and stews, and lower fat foods.
I wanted to share this little bit of knowledge, I really believe the more you understand about nutrition the less scary living a healthy lifestyle is. It’s not about completely cutting out your favourite treats it’s about balance and enjoying your lifestyle choices. When you feel comfortable and understand it’s a breeze, it really is.