29

May

Question: Low Carb-Diets & Late-Night Snacking

One of our followers, Leisel asked the following question: “my husband has embarked on a 12 week challenge and I am trying to be supportive and join him in his insane low carb high protein diet, but am finding (and I think he is too) that I get really peckish after eight in the evening and want to eat everything in sight. After a monster protein based meal I do not understand this. Do you have any suggestions for stopping us from consuming a days worth of kilo joules in 2 hours!”

Thanks for your question Leisel. Firstly, I am not a big fan of advocating low-carb, high protein diets. There have been numerous studies indicating that these diets can place additional stress on the kidneys (due to them having to process the excess protein), as well as causing low energy levels (from the lack of energy/glucose from the carbohydrates). Ensure that this 12 week programme has been regulated by a dietician/nutritionist and that it lasts no longer than 12 weeks.  I believe in an all-round diet including ALL food groups in moderation, which includes carbohydrates (which are important for energy release, epically if you are training. You wouldn’t for a long drive without putting petrol in the tank right? Carbs and training are the same principle!). Also these “no-carb: programmes can be effective in weight-loss, but the results are usually temporary (as the body needs fuel to survive, so may hold on to any future carbohydrates, which leads to excess glucose, which turns to fat over time). So keep an eye on this and ensure that your husband reintroduces complex carbs (whole-grain pasta and breads, sweet potatoes etc) to his diet over time.

The reason you are feeling pecking and want to eat everything in sight is simply that your body is not getting the fuel it needs and is telling you to re-fuel (never ignore cravings – they are your body’s warning signs that you are not getting what you need!). And suddenly those pototoe chips seem impossible to resist….

I would suggest the following:
– carbs are best eaten with protein. For dinner, add protein to a carbohydrate. Your body gets busy metabolising the protein AND the carbohydrate, thus the glucose release from the carb into the body is slower than if you just ate the carbs by themselves. By combining these two food groups together, you are ensuring that your blood sugar levels won’t spike, your body will slowly release the glucose and protein in your system and you will feel fuller for longer. Think about adding kidney beans to your mince when cooking, adding tuna to a sweet pototoe etc.

– if you are still hungry, a healthy snack is ok – try a low fat (and low sugar!) 100g yogurt (Parmalite and Danone Activa are low in fat and sugar); an apple or a table spoon of fat free cottage cheese (125g), low sugar and salt peanut butter (15g) or low fat hummus (40g).  My personal favourite snack is air-popped, no salt popcorn. Having a small snack before bed lets your metabolism know you are feeding it regularly and it will handle the 12 hour break from dinner to breakfast better.
Hope this helps? Let me know if you need more info! Good luck surviving the husband’s diet!

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