I was having a lovely chat with a woman this week. We were chatting about balancing blood sugar levels and some of the best tactics to reverse Type 2 diabetes.
The kind of fun conversations I actually love to have.
I recommended swapping meals and snacks to higherprotein options.
She asked if carrots and hummus were a good option. It’s a fair question. It’s better than a bag of chips right? The carrots are a whole food and contain fibre. Hummus is made from mostly chickpeas and oil.
If only she could have seen my face. I wanted to hang my head in my hands. The reason being . . .that I’ve been there.
I lived off carrots and hummus at university thinking I was making a great choice.
They didn’t fill me up for long and I’d soon be reaching for something else.
Because I thought they were so good and ‘‘healthy’’ I also ate heaps of them.
Because the protein in this snack is so low, it was an easy thing to do. I was overweight and couldn’t change it. It was frustrating.
There is so much bad information out there about what constitutes a highprotein snack. Let’s look at the macronutrients in hummus:
Standard supermarket hummus contains 7g of protein per 100g. So it is around 7% protein. Just 7%.
There is 1.4g per serving (and most people should be having at least 20-30g protein to feel full).
There is over 20% carbohydrates.
Even though these are ‘‘healthy’’ carbohydrates, they are still the most prominent macronutrient in this dip.
Why is a carbohydrate based snack potentially not great for our blood sugar?
Because our body can’t really tell the difference between carbohydrates and sugar — they all turn to glucose. When our glucose levels spike quickly when we eat mostly carbohydrates, they also tend to crash. This leaves us feeling hungrier and reaching for more.
When people eat a food containing carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks down the digestible ones into sugar, which enters the blood. As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that prompts cells to absorb blood sugar for energy or storage.
All carbohydrates that hit our bloodstream turn to glucose. If we aren’t moving much and this glucose isn’t soaked up by our muscles, it has to be processed by the liver. The storage mentioned above? Tends to be either in our existing or new fat cells. Our body isn’t doing anything bad. It is just storing it for later.
Why choose high protein snacks?
Because high protein snacks fill you up better than anything else. They will stop you from over-eating or making bad choices at your next meal. They will keep your blood sugar incredibly stable compared to snacks that are mostly carbohydrate-based.
Protein is also incredibly difficult to over-eat. Consider trying to over-eat chicken or tuna, compared with how easy it is to eat a lot of chips, chocolate . . .or even hummus.
A list of more filling and nutritious high-protein options is on this page. Some of these options are slightly processed, yes. Some are completely natural.
Take your pick depending on how much time and energy you have to prepare your snacks. But I guarantee these will seriously change your hunger levels . . . and over time, your body composition.
I hope you find these helpful.
Any questions on this topic, feel free to let me know at [email protected]
Salmon, boiled egg and spinach pots
Biltong (home-made or store bought)
Baked eggs and egg cups
Biersticks and salami sticks
Cottage cheese and cucumber sticks
Tuna and cucumber slices
Unflavoured Greek yoghurt and berries
Homemade tzatziki (Greek yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and lemon juice)