“PFC” – coined by Dietitian Cassie (cassie.net)
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I know the drill. You come home from a long day of work, ravenously hungry (not to mention, crabby) and you grab the first thing you find in the cupboard. Maybe chips, popcorn, or nuts. You grab a handful, and then another, and then another… and you’re still hungry. Why?
You have low blood sugar.
Likely, the last meal of your day was lunch and your blood sugar has drastically dropped. You now either have more activities to do or you need to make dinner so you won’t eat for another 1-2 hours. How can we fix this?
By stabilizing your blood sugars.
This is why I recommend a protein, fat and carbohydrate every 3-4 hours throughout your day.
What is PFC?
Imagine you have a soft pretzel with gooey cheese in front of you. Would you say this pretzel with cheese is a protein?…fat?…carbohydrate?
It’s hard, right?
This food is no longer a one category macronutrient. When we take whole foods and process them together…add sugar, salt, etc. we get a hyper-palatable food (Robb Wolf anyone?). These foods cause us to eat more than we need and to still feel hungry afterwards!
This is why I recommend choosing whole, real foods every 3-4 hours and combing PFC (protein, fat and carbohydrate) all together.
Protein= meat, fish, eggs
Fat= olive oil, coconut oil, butter, nuts, seeds, olives, avocados and coconut milk
Carbohydrate= fruits and veggies
How do we determine what category a food is in?
Some foods can overlap in two or all three categories. To keep things simple, I consider the food to fall into the category of whatever macronutrient it contains most of. One example is with protein. The best protein choices to support metabolism are animal products (meat, fish, poultry, eggs). Therefore, foods like cheese or nuts, which contains fat and protein – are mainly fats. They have more fat than protein and they don’t contain protein that supports your metabolism the most. If you are questioning a food item, just focus on what category it has most of and don’t fret about it!
Why do we need all 3?
By eating PFC, we can support our metabolism and encourage weight loss. These 3 macronutrients are processed differently in our body and support our metabolism in unique ways. Protein is considered our building block for many of our neurotransmitters and has the ability to increase our metabolism. Fat keeps us full, supports brain function and acts as a buffer for carbohydrates by slowing down their break down into our blood stream. Carbohydrates give us quick energy and have the greatest affect on raising our blood sugar levels. Eating all 3 together is the best way to support our metabolism.
When do I eat?
Eating every 3-4 hours is a great way to keep blood sugar levels stable and keep your food cravings at bay.
How much do I eat?
An easy rule of thumb is to eat a
- Protein: Thickness and circumference of the palm of your hand at meals (2-3 eggs, 4-6 oz. meat, poultry, fish) and about half that at snacks.
- Fat: Most people should have a minimum of 1-2 servings of fat at every meal and snack (one serving = 1 oz. of cheese, 1 T butter, coconut or olive oil, 2 T nut butter, 1/2 an avocado, 1/4 cup coconut milk, 2 T heavy cream, etc.)
- Carbs: 2-3 cups Fill up with as much non starchy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, onion, cucumbers, cauliflower, peppers, etc.) as you want first! I recommend a couple of cups of non starchy veggies at meals. These don’t affect your blood sugar as much as starchy carbs and are full of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Try to limit starchy veggies/fruit (potatoes, carrots, squash, corn, fruit) to a half cup at a time to limit blood sugar spikes.
Example of a balanced meal:
- 4-6 oz. of chicken/meat/fish (P) + 2-3 cups of steamed broccoli/green beans (C) with 1 T of butter/coconut oil (F) + 1/2 cup baked sweet potato (C)
- 3 Eggs (P) cooked in 1 T butter (F) and veggies (non starchy C) + 1/2 cup fruit on the side (starchy C)
Example of balanced snack:
- 1 hard boiled egg (P) with 2 T natural nut butter (F) and ½ cup of berries (C)
You may find that omitting the starchy carb or fruit at meal or snack times helps keep your blood sugar levels stable, or you may find that including ½ cup (or more) at a few meals helps with it. It is important to listen to your body because everyone has different needs!
Remember: it is not about counting calories! This guide can help you listen to how your body feels and gauge the amount of protein, fat and carbohydrate you need every 3-4 hours. If you mess up for 1 meal, in the next few hours, you have a chance to make a better decision! It is about progress not perfection!
What do I drink?
Minimum of 8 glass of water/day
Other options: fruit flavored water (place frozen raspberries or slices of lemon and lime into a glass bottle), sparkling water or mineral water, herbal or green teas, Butter Coffee/Tea, bone broth, organic coconut milk (1 can mixed with 3-4 cans of water), “Natural Calm” magnesium supplement (~325 mg magnesium per 2 tsp; can help with sleep)
Stay away from sugared beverages! The sugar in these beverages quickly increase your blood sugar in your body, turn to fat and increase your risk for diseases (like Type 2 Diabetes) and inflammation!
What should I NOT eat?
These foods create inflammation in the body which can lead to weight gain and a host of different medical conditions. All of these ingredients are often found in fast food items, junk food (cookies, chips, cakes) and homemade dessert items.
- Hydrogenated oils of any kind (cool whip, regular peanut butter, baked goods, etc.)
- Interesterified fats (similar to hydrogenation)
- Monoglycerides, dyglycerides
- Partially hydrogenated oils of any kind
- Refined vegetable oils (canola, sunflower, soybean, refined palm oil, cottonseed, corn oil, etc.)
- Store-bought baked goods
- Trans fats
*Hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oils = trans fat!
Hyman, M. (2016). Eat fat, get thin: why the fat we eat is the key to sustained weight loss and vibrant health. New York: Little, Brown and Company.