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FAT, FIBER and PROTEIN

Updated: Sep 6, 2022









If you know us, you know this is our favorite mantra . . . fat/fiber/protein. In order to balance blood sugar, provide satiety (feeling full after a meal), and balance energy throughout the day, try to aim for a mix of these key factors at each meal and snack.


Snacks and meals that contain a mix of fat, fiber and protein are more slowly digested than those containing only or mostly carbohydrates (including sugar). This slower digestion leads to a more even absorption of glucose (which all carbohydrates are broken down into), which in turn keeps your blood sugar levels balanced as well as helping you feel full longer.Feeling full longer will help eliminate those energy highs and lows (ie. crashes) that send you running for your next sugar fix (which then perpetuates the cycle).


The exact mix of fat, fiber and protein is different for each person. There is no secret recipe other than to experiment with different combinations and tune in to how you feel to see what works best for you!


FAT:


Don’t be afraid of fat! Every cell in our body uses fatty acids for construction and maintenance. Fat is important for the proper functioning of the nervous system and the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.

Consumption of essential fatty acids (i.e. Omega-3 fats) are especially critical as we must consume these from food sources because the body cannot make them. Some other important functions of fatty acids include:


  • aids in hormone balance and supports healthy endocrine function

  • aids in the formation and fluidity of the cell membranes

  • helps with blood sugar regulation and regularity

  • important for the process of creating energy in the cell and helps to burn fat

  • important for brain function, influences mental clarity, mental cognition and focus

  • Fat takes the longest time for our bodies to digest, so including some in your meal or snack will aid in keeping your blood sugar balanced and keep your feeling full longer.


Examples of healthy sources of fat include:

  • avocados

  • olives and olive oil

  • flaxseed oil (never heat)

  • nuts, seeds and their butters

  • coconut, coconut oil and coconut butter

  • organic or pasture raised butter/ghee

  • grass-fed meats, poultry, eggs and cold water fish


FIBER


Ah, fiber! We’ve all heard about the importance of having enough fiber in our diet. It seems like you can’t walk down the grocery store aisle without at least ten different products, from crackers to yogurt, displaying the claim that it contains fiber.


Including fiber in your diet from whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, vegetables and fruits (as opposed to an add-on in a processed food), are critical for proper functioning of your gut. Some important functions of fiber are:


  • makes stool soft and bulky (easier to pass)

  • speeds transit time through the colon

  • dilutes the effects of any toxic compounds in the intestine by moving them along and out of the system

  • helps to remove bad bacteria in the colon

  • feeds the good bacteria in the colon to allow for the production of vital nutrients such as B vitamins (essential for good brain health) and vitamin K (essential for bodily functions such as clotting)


There are different kinds of fiber (soluble and insoluble), and we each react differently to fiber in our diet. Always go slowly when making a dietary change, including one that increases fiber, and tune in to what works for you and your digestive system. If at first it doesn’t feel great (hello bigger, better elimination!) then back down on the amount of fiber you’re consuming and work your way up.


PROTEIN


Protein comes from both animal and plant sources. Protein is critical for our ability to thrive and survive allowing for maximal physiological repair and efficiency. The protein we consume provides the amino acids our bodies need for a variety of critical functions. Protein is important because amino acids are a component in every cell and almost every fluid in our body and they provide the building blocks for bones,muscles, cartilage, blood and skin.


Animal sources of protein include (organic and grass fed whenever possible):

  • beef

  • chicken

  • fish

  • eggs

  • bone broths

  • Plant sources include (organic and even sprouted whenever possible):

  • nuts and nut butters

  • seeds and seed butters

  • soy (whole, fermented forms such as tempeh are what we prefer)


Go ahead, try the trifecta! Each time you eat, consider if what you’re about to consume has “balance.”

Article adopted from Functional Nutrition Lab

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