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Tip 304: Improve Body Composition With Strategic Eating: Solid Protein Is The Answer

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 9:01 AM
Improve body composition with strategic eating and drinking. Be aware of how different types of foods and beverages affect energy and desire to eat, and you will be leaner and feel better. Research shows that both mode of consumption and what you consume play a primary role in alleviating hunger and thirst.

A new study in the journal Obesity shows that eating a solid meal will alleviate hunger and keep you feeling satisfied much more than if you drank the same food in a liquefied state—yes, it sounds unappetizing but the liquefied version was made to seem like a normal food. For example, researchers compared a fruit salad served in a bowl, a fruit soup also served in a bowl, and a fruit soup served in a glass to drink (note that the method of delivery, bowl and spoon versus sipping from a glass varied) for a carbohydrate option. Using the same three modes, researchers also tested a protein option using a chicken breast or a chicken soup, and a fat option, using pork belly or a pork belly soup.

Results showed that when participants ate their meal in solid form with utensils, they were more satisfied and had less hunger two hours after eating than if they drank the same meal. The protein meal was most effective at alleviating hunger, raising energy levels, and sustaining feelings of satisfaction. Desire to continue eating was greater after eating the carb and fat meals. Also, after drinking all macronutrient options, desire to eat increased significantly. Hunger levels increased and 80 percent of participants expressed being hungry and having a substantial desire to eat two hours after drinking the meal compared to only 5 percent of the subjects who ate their meal.

Take away from this study the understanding that the structure and macronutrient content of food significantly influences your feeling of fullness and energy level after eating. You want to make the food you eat count, and high-quality protein sources will likely help you be satisfied.

Liquid meals can be convenient and essential after working out in order to take advantage of the immediate “window of opportunity” to feed the muscles and elevate protein and tissue synthesis. But, relying on protein shakes or other liquid meals may not be your best bet if fat loss is a goal. Perhaps eating a protein meal and supplementing with BCAA capsules is a better solution if you often feel hungry shortly after drinking a shake.

Naturally, everyone responds differently to various foods, drinks, and modes of consumption. For best results pay attention to how you respond when you drink rather than eat your meal. Take note of your hunger level if you drink water before or when eating. Drinking water or tea before eating has been shown to decrease the amount people eat, although drinking 250 to 500 ml of water in addition to the liquid and solid meals in this study did not have any influence on hunger or desire to eat.

You have complete control of what you choose to eat. By being aware of how your body responds, you will be able to use that control to your advantage and achieve the best body composition. Make eating a lifestyle habit that is pleasurable and keeps you feeling satisfied and energized.

Martens, M., Westerterp, M. Mode of Consumption Plays a Role in Alleviating Hunger and Thirst. Obesity. 2012. 20(3), 517-122.

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