The Key to Feeling Satisfied for Longer and Snacking Less Between Meals


If you watched my video or read my article on how to stimulate the vagus nerve, you may recall that fibre consumption increases the production of the hormone glucagon-like peptide type 1 or GLP-1.  GLP-1 is synthesised and secreted primarily by enteroendocrine L cells in the gastrointestinal tract. Its secretion is mediated in part by nutrient sensing through protein-coupled receptors, which specifically bind monosaccharides, peptides and amino acids, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as short-chain fatty acids.  

Foods rich in these nutrients, such as fibre-rich products, nuts, avocados, and eggs, appear to influence GLP-1 secretion and therefore may promote favourable outcomes in healthy individuals as well as in individuals with type 2 diabetes or other metabolic disorders.

If anyone asks me how to lose weight, control blood sugar or neutralise another metabolic condition, and what supplement or magic drug is available to do so, I will answer EAT A LOT OF FIBRE

Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be broken down or absorbed by the body, and to begin to understand better, there are 2 types of fibre in food: soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fibre dissolves in water and forms a gel during digestion, which tends to slow down this process in the digestive system. This is the first advantage of consuming fibre: it can make you feel satiated for longer, which can make a significant contribution to controlling body weight. Soluble fibre can also help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels by slowing their absorption into the blood.

A diet rich in soluble fibre also supports your gut health and your immune system.   Here are some other important benefits of fibre: it can improve water and electrolyte absorption, regulate immune function, fight inflammation, and even help suppress tumour growth in the colon.

Examples of soluble fibre include psyllium husks, flaxseed, passion fruit, lentils, and other legumes such as peas; beans, organic tofu, tempeh (a type of fermented soy product); avocado; cruciferous vegetables, sweet potato; asparagus, pears, apples, peaches, carrots, and macadamia nuts.

Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water and adds bulk to the stool. This would help maintain regular bowel movements and prevent constipation.

Examples of insoluble fibre are lentils, chickpeas, peas, berries, especially blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.  Coconut (shredded and flaked) and passion fruit.   Peas, spinach and avocado.  Cocoa, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, and popcorn.  And nuts such as almonds and walnuts.

However, not all fibres act in the same way in your body.  Research is showing that certain types of fibre are more potent than others in triggering the release of GLP-1 and regulating hunger.   In principle, soluble fibre would be more effective in keeping you satiated for longer.   

In addition, according to an article by Michaeleen Doucleff of NPR magazine "... companies add fibre to foods, but often don't add the kind of fibre that benefits the body".

Let's look at how glucagon-like peptide type 1, or GLP-1, controls hunger by making you feel satisfied for longer by glossing over Doucleff's explanations in her article.

When you break your fast with your first meal of the day, for example, digested food passes into the small intestine, where the macronutrients that make up this food (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates), trigger a flurry of activity in your blood and brain.

The food you eat that reaches the gut releases several hormones.  About twenty of these hormones, including GLP-1, are known as satiety hormones.  They signal your body to initiate absorption and suppress the feeling of hunger.  Thus, you stop eating because you feel satisfied.

At this point, GLP-1 kicks in, stimulating the release of insulin and slowing down the passage of the food you have eaten from the stomach into the intestine. 

GLP-1 is also likely to activate neural circuits in the brain by activating nerves in the gut lining. These neurons pick up information from the gut and transmit it to the brainstem, where another GLP-1 signalling pathway is located.

But the action of GLP-1 is extremely fast. Once the hormone reaches the blood, it starts to break down and by the time GLP-1 reaches the heart and the rest of the circulation, there is very little left.

So, an hour or two after breaking your fast with non-fibre foods, blood levels of GLP-1 plummet and that's when hunger starts to awaken and it's time to eat again.

Instead, if you consciously incorporate at least 10 grams of fibre into that first meal, it turns out you are giving your gut the opportunity to release GLP-1 for many more hours after that meal, how about that?


So How Much Fibre Should You Consume?

Well, it is recommended to consume about 25-30 grams per day through food.  At least one or two meals a day you should try to fill half of your plate with mainly vegetables and some fruit. You can choose a variety of different colours and textures to suit your tastes. 

Nuts, seeds, and legumes - such as black beans, chickpeas, and lentils (if you don't need to lose weight or control blood sugar) - can be excellent fibre-rich additions to salads, meals, or snacks.


The Activation of Satiety Hormones Would Last Longer After Consuming Fibre

As the human body does not have the ability to break down fibre, it would pass through the small intestine virtually intact and would not reach the colon until 4-8 hours after ingestion through food.

Once the fibre reaches the large intestine, its digestive flora, hopefully very diverse in good bacteria, will take care of digesting it and breaking it down into dietary fibres and smaller molecules.  These tiny molecules are responsible for stimulating the production of GLP-1, but also of another important appetite-reducing hormone called peptide YY or PYY. 

As a bonus, the small molecules have the ability to trigger satiety on their own.  This has been associated with a decrease in body weight and better blood sugar regulation.

Among the advantages of longer or more hourly stimulation of GLP-1 and PYY are a reduction in between-meal cravings and even the general desire to eat your next meal with a big appetite.  In other words, they increase the time it takes to feel full, as well as the time it takes to feel hungry again for the next meal.


The Second Meal Effect

The hormones GLP-1 and PYY can influence how much and when you eat your second meal: if you eat enough fibre at one meal, it will be reaching your colon by the time your next meal is normally scheduled.  This way you can better control your insulin response as well as your feeling of fullness throughout the day.


What Types of Fibre Do a Better Job in Maintaining Satiety for Longer?

We have already seen that there are different types of fibre, but to get this extra boost of satiety hormones, you need to eat fibre that bacteria can digest. These fibres are called fermentable because bacteria literally ferment them, in the same way that yeast ferments barley into beer.

Preliminary studies in mice have found that, for example, a fibre in barley, called beta-glucan, induced the greatest weight loss in obese animals. But so far, these studies only corroborate this with beta-glucan.

Beta-glucan, or β-glucan, is a type of dietary fibre that has been associated with a number of health benefits including,

- Reduced risk of heart disease

- Reduced total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.  One of the most researched benefits of beta-glucan is its effect on blood cholesterol levels. Beta-glucan can bind to bile acids and excrete them from the body.  Bile acids are generated by the liver using the body's cholesterol stores, and when they are excreted from the body, the liver must use more cholesterol to make new bile acids.

- Preventing the growth and spread of cancer cells.

- Anti-inflammatory effects

- Regulating the immune system

If your current diet does not include much fibre, don't worry too much about the fibre you start adding. Just being aware of the amount of fibre you eat and increasing it is a big step towards improving your health.  Then, once you get into the habit of eating more fibre, you can be more selective about adding more beta-glucan.

You should be careful, however, because many processed foods that claim to include fibre add fibre that may not be providing you with the benefits you expect.


Foods Rich in Beta-glucans that Don't Affect Your Blood Sugar

Barley grass

The nutritional benefits of barley and its unique composition of protein, carbohydrates, fibre (such as beta-glucan, which can lower cholesterol), vitamins and minerals.

Because of its antioxidant properties, barley may help control blood sugar levels.  It has anti-tumour properties by regulating the immune system and limiting the proliferation and spread of cancer cells. In addition, barley possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics, which may contribute to its anti-cancer potential. (article)

Medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi, Maitake, Shiitake and Chaga

Beta-glucans, specifically (1-3) (1-6) beta-D-glucans, are water-soluble polysaccharides found in the cell walls of mushrooms and are the main immunomodulatory components of medicinal mushrooms.  This makes them support mucosal immunity of the gastrointestinal tract and immunity of the whole organism. Although beta-glucans primarily activate macrophages and dendritic cells, they also enhance the activity of natural killer (NK) cells, T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes. 

Shiitake mushrooms

These mushrooms are sometimes recommended during cancer treatment because of their anti-tumour effects. They have also been found to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Nutritional yeast

Rich in beta-glucan, nutritional yeast also contains a specific type of beta-glucan found in yeast that has immune-supporting effects, according to an article in the Consumer's Medical Journal.

Nutritional yeast is also an excellent source of many B vitamins, including vitamins B6 and B12, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. Nutritional yeast provides a cheesy taste, a delicious addition to salads, soups, and other preparations.


Seaweed snacks can be a good source of beta-glucan and iodine.  They are also quite nutritious and rich in beta-glucan, especially brown seaweed such as kelp. Beta-glucan extracted from brown algae has been shown to have anti-tumour and immune-boosting properties.

Kelp is also one of the best food sources of iodine. About 1 tablespoon (10 grams) of nori, which you find in sushi, the Japanese preparation.

Glucomannan or Konjac root

Glucomannan comes from the root of Amorphophallus konjac (konjac plant or elephant yam), which is native to warm, tropical Asia. Glucomannan from the konjac plant is a glucose-mannose polysaccharide in which 5-10% of the sugars are acetylated. The molecule is structurally related to guar gum glucomannan.

Macroscopically, konjac glucomannan is a soluble, fermentable, highly viscous fibre, which is also traditionally used for culinary purposes in Japan and China.

Some fruits and vegetables

Other fermentable fibres include oligosaccharides from beans, peas and lentils, and pectin from apples, pears, and green bananas. Beans, broccoli, sweet potatoes, aubergines, apples, strawberries, and prunes are particularly rich in immune-boosting and cholesterol-lowering beta-glucans.


Possible Risks and Side Effects of Eating Too Much Fibre

If you are prone to diarrhoea or have a condition that causes you to pass loose stools, you may have inflammatory bowel disease.  In such cases, eating too much insoluble fibre may cause discomfort and worsen symptoms. In this case, immediately reduce the amount of fibre you eat and consult your doctor.

Also, if you have coeliac disease or are gluten intolerant, when increasing your intake of insoluble fibre, do so with caution.

It is imperative to make sure you drink plenty of water when following a fibre-rich diet, as water helps the fibre to perform its function properly and to be eliminated effectively in due course.


Don't be fooled by what the packaging says!

You will find on the packaging of bakery, confectionery, and processed products in general, the nutritional information table where they indicate the total carbohydrate, sugars, and fibre content. 

If you pay attention, you will see that animal products as well as bottled oils contain zero fibre.  Similarly, sugar, white flour and other refined products will contain little or none.

Along these lines, when considering buying a bagged product, the ratio of grams of carbohydrates to grams of fibre should be 5:1 or less!  In other words, one serving of Müesli contains 63.7 grams of total carbohydrate.  Where 6.5 grams correspond to fibre.  So, 63.7/6.5 = 9.8, which is much more than 5.

A slice of almond protein bread contains 13 grams of total carbohydrate where 5 grams are fibre.  13/5=3,which is within the acceptable range of the ratio.

To be successful in eating a high-fibre diet and to achieve balance in all areas of health, the key is to focus primarily on a fresh plant-based diet.  This is my suggestion.

Our modern society has a serious immune problem resulting from poor gut flora.  We live exposed to antibacterial products; we solve the slightest ailment with antibiotics and our diet is destroying the good bacteria in our body leaving it vulnerable to many pathogens.

Again, much of the solution is in your hands: the key, again, is your diet.  As much as you can, focus on whole foods, especially vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fermented foods.  Eat good quality, complete protein, and cut out refined sugar, processed foods, poor quality animal protein and alcohol.

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