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The order of food

 

One of the simplest changes we can make to our diets is the order in which we eat our food. Without changing what we eat, simply changing how we eat it can have a huge impact on our blood glucose levels and our insulin responses. If you eat a balanced diet but still find you experience peaks and crashes in your energy, headaches, feel hungry soon after you eat, or often feel lethargic and irritable, this simple hack could make a huge difference.

The best way to eat our food is to focus on our veggies first. Whether it’s a small salad, some sauteed greens or a bean soup. The next thing to focus on is our protein source, whether it be meat, fish, eggs, tofu, pulses, followed by our healthy fats like avocado, nuts or yoghurt. Last of all are our starchy carbohydrates that give us energy like potatoes, whole grains, pasta and rice. 

By starting off our meals with veg, the fibre in the vegetables forms a gelatinous layer that coats the small intestine. This means that when we then consume our carbohydrates, the absorption of glucose into the blood stream is physically slowed down. This means we don’t experience a huge spike in our blood sugar, and less insulin is required to utilise this glucose. Having excessive sugar spikes will make you tired and lethargic in the short time, but can have damaging long term effects on our health, including inflammation and type 2 diabetes.

Of course, this tip won’t always be possible, and you don’t need to dissect your burger. It just means that, when possible, you’re being mindful at mealtimes and thinking about the sequence you eat your foods. If you’re in a restaurant, you could order a salad starter. If you’re having a roast dinner, you could eat your vegetables first and your potatoes last. 

Incorporating foods high in simple sugars like fruit salads or even cakes and desserts at the end of a meal and not as a stand-alone snack can also make a massive difference. By eating these sweeter foods on a full stomach, the sugars are absorbed more slowly and cause a smaller glucose peak, allowing our bodies to respond appropriately with insulin without causing a rollercoaster in your blood glucose levels. If you’re out and about and fancy a sweet snack, why not have some veggie sticks and hummus first. Just incorporating some of these small changes may just make a world of difference.