By Rita Larsen, RDN; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor
All foods are made of protein, fat, and/or carbohydrates. The meals and snacks that are the most satisfying, and keep you feeling comfortable the longest, are comprised of all three.
Carbohydrates can be either sugar or starch. Sugary foods are digested quickly and temporarily satisfy your hunger, but eaten alone, soon leave you hungrier than before you ate them. Starches and the less concentrated forms of sugar (such as found in milk and fruits) are digested more slowly than more sugary foods and will stay with you longer. Starches last thirty minutes to one hour. Carbohydrates (sugars and starches) begin the feelings of satisfaction that is our best signal to stop eating.
Protein foods are used in about one to two hours. Fats are digested slowly, and won’t be used up until about three hours after eating. Fats also delay digestion, stay in your stomach longer and keep you feeling satisfied longer.
So, to feel satisfied soon after eating and also have food last awhile, choose meals or snacks that contain protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The feeling of satisfaction is one of the best signals to stop eating. Planning meals and snacks based on their satisfaction potential will help prevent unexpected hunger that can promote non–deliberation eating.
The chart below illustrates:
Satisfaction from Sugar, Starch, Protein and Fat
Stay tuned next week for how to use this information when planning your meals, snacks, and pre/post workout fuel.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.