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Curb Hunger With Filling Foods

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1 Curb Hunger With Filling Foods on 24th March 2010, 8:02 pm

Curb Hunger With Filling Foods
The key to sticking to any healthy diet and keeping hunger at bay is to eat nutritious, filling foods. That’s why, on the South Beach Diet, we stress eating nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods (such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans and other legumes), as well as good fats and lean protein.


It’s also why we tell you to avoid the highly processed (essentially fiberless) carbohydrates found in baked goods, many breads, snack foods, and other convenient favorites, which can have the opposite effect on satiety. High-fiber foods, good fats, and lean protein (as well as acidic foods) all help to slow the digestion of the sugars in carbs. When you include a variety of these foods in your diet, your body produces less insulin, and less insulin means fewer swings in blood-sugar levels. It is these swings that are the cause of cravings and constant hunger in the first place. Once your blood sugar is under control, you’ll find that your cravings and hunger greatly diminish and that you’ll feel more satisfied after a meal. Read more about curbing hunger with foods that are filling.

Fiber. Fiber's major role in digestion is to slow the absorption of sugar. The greater the fiber content of a food, the greater its effect. That's why highly processed oatmeal, for example, isn’t as good for you (or a weight-loss diet) as the steel-cut variety. The latter has all its fiber still intact, the former has essentially none. Therefore, before the stomach can digest the sugars in the steel-cut oatmeal, it has to separate them from the fiber. Once isolated, the fiber passes undigested through your system, slowing digestion down. In other words, fiber is an obstacle to digestion, and a good one, because it promotes satiety.

Fat. Fat, too, slows the speed at which your small intestine accesses the sugars you've eaten. (However, you do have to be careful about which fats you consume. Just as all carbohydrates are not the same, all fats are not the same. You need to avoid saturated fats and trans fats.) When you eat a piece of white bread, for example (which we hope you will do only occasionally), try to have it with a little monounsaturated olive oil or some reduced-fat cheese rather than eating the bread alone (or with highly saturated butter or full-fat cheese). Likewise, having an occasional baked potato topped with reduced-fat sour cream is better than eating it plain. The calorie count might be higher, but the fat contained in the sour cream will slow down the digestive process, thereby lessening the amount of insulin that the potato prompts your body to make. Good fats also make food taste better, helping you to feel more satisfied.

Protein. Because protein foods are digested slowly, they too do not produce the spikes in blood sugar that stimulate hunger and overeating. On the South Beach Diet, you can eat lean cuts of beef, lamb, and pork; skinless white-meat chicken, turkey, and duck breast; game meats; fish and shellfish; soy products; beans and other legumes; eggs and fat-free and low-fat dairy products.

Acidic foods. Interestingly, acidic foods, such as lemon juice and vinegar, also slow the digestion of carbs and the rate at which your stomach empties. You can dress salads or vegetables with either one and enjoy the benefit.

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