Simply Protein Blog
Forget calories for a minute—let’s talk about blood sugar. It’s the glucose found in your blood, and insulin is the stuff that brings glucose to your cells for energy. You may already know that blood sugar ebbs and flows throughout the day depending on what you eat, and letting it drop super low can leave you irritable, shaky, and fatigued.
But here’s a nugget worth writing down: Keeping your blood sugar stable could help you lose weight, says Stephanie Clarke, R.D., a nutritionist with C&J Nutrition in New York City. “When your blood sugar is balanced, you’ll feel more energized, less hungry, and you may not cave to cravings, which can help you lose weight by lowering your overall calorie intake.” Keeping your blood sugar in check can also help prevent insulin resistance, which can lead to weight gain by minimizing frequent spikes. In short, it's a crucial part of getting your weight-loss game on point.
The crash and burn that comes with low blood sugar (called hypoglycemia) isn't hard to detect: It can make you feel sweaty, weak, dizzy, annoyed, or even lead to a rapid pulse, says Clarke. You can have a blood sugar crash after not eating for a long time, or after eating a big meal packed with processed carbs, like white pasta or bread, which causes it to shoot up and then drop quickly.
Blood sugar that’s too high, called hyperglycemia, can lead to thirst, headaches, and blurred vision. But these symptoms don’t usually show up unless it’s through the roof. If this happens to you, see a doc to rule out diabetes.
With all of that out of the way, here's how you can level out your blood sugar to crush cravings, feel energized, and tackle weight-loss sabotaging hanger.
Watch the Clock
After three or four hours of not eating, hypoglycermia can kick in, says Clarke. To keep this from happening, set an alarm so that hunger doesn't creep up on you while you're busy at work. Eating small, frequent meals every three to four hours is clutch for keeping your sugars in a healthy range, she says.
Pick Worthy Snacks
Aim to include at least two of the three major nutrient groups—carbs, protein, and fat—in each snack, she says. For example, one snack might include a healthy fat, like peanut butter, and a high-fiber carb, such as a whole wheat English muffin. Another might include protein and healthy carbs in one, like edamame.
Skip Simple Carbs
Breads, pastas, sweets, even juices are super-low in fiber, the nutrient that helps control blood sugar spikes by delaying how much sugar your body absorbs. You can get a better dose of fiber in less processed carbs like whole grains, squash, and sweet potatoes.
Protein-packed foods, like lean chicken, turkey, fish, quinoa, legumes, nuts, and seeds, are also slow to digest and key for glucose control. Bonus: They will keep you satisfied much longer than processed carbs.
Slip In Healthy Fats
Good fats work like protein to keep your blood sugar levels stable, as long as you watch your portion sizes. Avocados, nuts, olives, and fish are all great sources for any meal—and cooking with olive oil or avocado oil helps, too.
Hit the Gym
Working out allows your body to burn stored glucose for energy, which leaves you feeling like a happy camper for longer.
(Source: Keeping Your Blood Sugar in Check Comes with a Bonus Prize: Weight Loss by Kristen Dold - December 15th 2015)
Eating healthy can be challenging and require extra commitment, especially during our ever hectic and stressful workweeks. When we work hard to nourish our bodies with a healthy diet, it can be frustrating to learn that a food we thought was guilt-free is not actually all that good for us.
Look out for the following unhealthy foods marketed as healthy and “guilt-free”.
If winter weather triggers carbohydrate cravings, you're not alone. Many people snack more on carbohydrate-containing foods in winter, sometimes in an unconscious effort to boost their mood, says Judith Wurtman, PhD, a former scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-author of The Serotonin Power Diet. How can you tell if your seasonal carbohydrate cravings are in the normal range or a possible symptom of winter depression?
By now most of us are aware about the dangers of eating too much sugar. From an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer, the list is long and frightening, but can seemingly feel distant at the same time. Interestingly, it is sometimes the vain outcomes that really hammer home a message. Add wrinkles to that list and our ears suddenly perk up. Sugar causes wrinkles too?!
Yes, sugar contributes to wrinkles.
Think sugar is your only concern? Think again! People who eat three slices of white bread a day are 40% more likely to be overweight or obese than others.
A Spanish study found graduates who ate three slices of white bread per day were 40% more likely to be obese or overweight five years later when compared with people who ate it once a week. The study found that total bread consumption was not linked with obesity, but when they looked at people who ate only white bread, it was found that those who ate two or more portions per day, or 60g, were 40% more likely to be overweight or obese five years later compared with those who had one portion or less per week. The research may suggest that people who eat a lot of white bread have unhealthier diets overall.
Lead author Professor Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez from University of Navarra, said:
"Refined grains such as white bread start to taste sweet in the mouth almost as soon as you eat it, that is the starch being broken down into sugar. It is this feeling that leaves you wanting more. When white bread is a staple food, eating at one or two main meals a day then this is a lot of extra calories on a daily basis. The message is clear, go for whole grains instead of white bread when eating your meals."
Does white bread fill an important role in your daily meal? If so, try a number of these healthy alternatives:
Available in many supermarkets, puffed rice cakes are an excellent alternative to bread, particularly if you enjoy your white bread with peanut butter or jam. Rice cakes are lower calorie and typically gluten-free. Opt for brown rice cakes when available, as they are typically more nutritious than the white kind.
Healthy and high in fiber, corn tortillas are an excellent replacement for your typical protein and veggie type sandwich. Corn tortillas, unlike the wheat kind, are gluten free. Most supermarkets should carry them under popular brands, but you will also likely find them in any South American themed grocery store, or can even easily make your own.
While not gluten free, Ezekiel bread is an excellent alternative to sugar-filled white bread. Ezekiel bread is composed of four types of sprouted whole grains and two types of legumes. Sprouted seed foods contain more nutrients and are easier to digest than unsprouted.
(Source: "Three Slices of White Bread a Day Linked to Obesity" Published on: 30 May 2014 by Rebecca Smith)
There’s no shame in setting a New Year’s resolution – or at least trying to eat healthier after indulging in a few too many holiday cookies (again, no shame!). We may read that New Year’s resolutions are not psychologically, philosophically, psychosomatically, or whatever, the best way to make changes, and failure rate statistics paint a dismal picture. But there’s never a bad time to get healthy, so why not now? Continue reading
It's self-improvement season, but you may find yourself losing motivation. Follow these tips to stay motivated in your diet plan, and achieve your goals.
Set Realistic Expectations
You can pick any diet you like, but if you expect to see any significant results in a day, a week, or even a month you’ll set yourself up for failure. When you start restricting what you eat, it feels like you’ve made major sacrifices and deserve some sort of payoff—or at least an indication—that your hard work will make a difference.
Unfortunately, you won’t get that kind of immediate satisfaction. All diets take commitment and you won’t see results quickly. But if waiting three months or so to see a significant change seems like a lot, think about all the years you’ve spent failing to meet your fat loss goals. Consider the diets you’ve tried and the cumulative time they took. You probably spent quite awhile on plans that didn’t work. Sticking with one that you like for a few months likely adds up to a fraction of that “wasted” time.
Pick a Sustainable Program
You can’t approach a diet successfully without knowing how you relate to your food. You need to understand what you like, what you don’t, what you expect to crave, and so on. Your personal needs play an enormous role in the way you’ll react to the healthy changes you want to make, so you have to know yourself well in order to pick a program you can sustain. Bellatti suggests that you ask yourself a few questions to find out what may or may not fit:
“Don't approach this as "choosing a diet", but rather "choosing an eating style." Unlike a diet, an eating style is sustainable, can be done for the rest of the life, and implies more flexibility. Ask yourself: "Can I eat this way the vast majority of the time?". If the answer is "yes," you've made a good choice. If the answer is "no," choose something else. If this way of eating requires you to live beyond your means, rely on ingredients/foods that are not easily accessible, or inconveniences your daily routine, it's unlikely you'll be able to stick with it for long."
Choose a Diet That Creates Good Habits
If you’ve found an “eating style” you think you can sustain, you’ve whittled down your options to the best. Before you choose one, however, you ought to consider a few more things. As Bellatti explains, habits are key:
“The whole purpose of choosing a better eating style is, usually, to improve health, and the best way to do this is with consistent habits. Don't look for a way of eating that is so strict and limited that you can only stay sane if you do it for two weeks every four months; that isn't a recipe for meaningful results.”
Of the habits you create, Bellatti suggests you ought to get used to cooking more:
“Above all, a healthful way of eating is low in processed foods. It should have you in the kitchen preparing food, as opposed to purchasing ready-made meals, pre-made shakes, or processed snack bars. Additionally, if you become dependent on "diet foods", what happens the day they are no longer sold? That said, choose a way of eating that enables you to still have a social life. You should be able to go to most restaurants and order something—even if just an appetizer and a side dish—that meets your needs.”
Don’t Forget to Exercise
You don’t have to spend tons of time exercising, but you can’t ignore physical activity because you’ve chosen a healthier diet. The two go hand-in-hand. You can’t simply work out and live off of donuts for the rest of your (probably shortened) life. Dr. Stewart agrees:
“Make sure that any weight loss program you consider is partnered with a solid and consistent amount of physical activity. If the program you're considering looks good but doesn't contain any specific exercise information, consult your doctor to design a safe and comprehensive exercise program.”
Just as with your diet, you want an exercise routine that you can sustain, grow with, and even enjoy. Don’t try too much too fast. Take your time and let your confidence build as you grow stronger. As with all health goals, you can’t achieve them overnight. Aim to continue to better your physical health and wellness with every step, and the rest will follow.
Consult a Professional Before You Jump In
Unless you have an identical twin, you have a unique body with its own set of dietary issues. One great diet that works for many of your friends may not work so well for you. Before you dive in, Dr. Stewart recommends that you talk to someone who knows a little more about these things than you:
“Many of the structured diets advertised these days are gimmicks and nothing more, and some can actually damage your health. In order to make the best choice, it's important to put some thought into it and consult professionals. To begin with, speak with your primary care physician. Discuss your situation in depth; what your particular health issues and goals are and how to select a diet that will best address these.”
This post offers advice but you should never make major changes that affect your health solely based on something you read online. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietician before you significantly change the way you eat.
(Source: Lifehacker – “How to Create a Diet Plan That Doesn't Suck and Actually Stick to It” by
Adam Dachis, Published on 9/23/2013)
Feeling festive? This vegan holiday hummus is high in protein and fiber. The cranberries add texture, color and a touch of sweetness to balance this savory dip. Serve with your favorite crudités and crackers. For added protein and fiber, scoop up this delicious dip with some Simply Protein Chips.
Yield: 2 cups
- 1 can (15-ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed (organic if possible)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cloves garlic
- 2-3 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
- 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
- Handful of dried unsweetened cranberries
- Chopped fresh coriander (optional)
*you may need to add a bit of water at the end to reach your desired consistency.
1. Combine all the ingredients except the oil (or water) and the toppings in a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine and then scrape down the sides. With the motor running, stream in the oil (or water) through the feed tube.
2. Continue to run the motor until you reach the desired smooth consistency.
3. Add more salt, lemon juice, to taste, and then sprinkle with dried cranberries and coriander before serving.