Have any of you ever felt starving after eating what seemed like a satisfying-enough meal? I definitely have. This is a dopamine-driven appetite.
This is caused by too much insulin in our bodies.
What is insulin? It’s a hormone that our body releases when we eat carbohydrates. Insulin unlocks cells to use carbohydrates as energy.
If you eat high amounts of simple carbohydrates (refined carbs or sugar – even in the form of fruit!) without enough protein or healthy fat, your blood sugar will quickly rise and fall within a few hours. This will cause you blood sugar to be low, with your body still full of insulin. You will then be “hangry”, craving and eating more carbohydrates and releasing even more insulin! This can result in weight gain, as your body doesn’t need anymore of that “quick energy” (unless your activity level calls for it) and can even lead to insulin resistance which is a precursor to metabolic syndrome.
How can you prevent this? Eat enough quality protein and healthy fats with your carbohydrates to help stabilize your blood sugar. The goal is to get glucagon to release (another hormone) because this promotes fat burning! Glucagon is released when you have stable blood sugars. You can achieve this when you eat a protein, carb and fat every 3-4 hours.
- Protein: Women can have 4-6 oz. of protein per meal and men can have 6-8 oz. of protein per meal (grass fed beef/bison/lamb, wild caught fish, pasture raised chicken & eggs, canned wild caught sardines or salmon (cheap alternative), grass fed whey or collagen protein)
- Fat: 1-2 T. per meal (coconut oil, coconut milk, pastured organic butter, olive oil, avocado, nuts/seeds, grass fed cheese)
- Carbohydrates: Stick with leafy greens & non starchy vegetables (a few cups will do!) You can also add 1/4-1/2 cup of fruit (stick to berries!) or starchy vegetables, but only try to do this 1-2 times per day maximum, and maybe less if weight loss is your goal!
Example: 4-6 oz. chicken cooked in 1 T. coconut oil over 2-3 cups of spinach/kale + celery and broccoli (you can also add in a tablespoon of chia or flax seed for an added fiber benefit!)
Try to eat this way for 3 square meals a day and if you need an afternoon snack, stick to a high fiber vegetable or low sugar fruit (like berries) + a serving of fat/protein (cheese, nuts, nut butter, grass fed beef jerky, etc.)