Not all salads satisfy hunger
I’m trying to lose weight and have been having salads for the last 3 weeks, but find myself getting very hungry in the afternoon. I’m typically a sandwich kind of guy. Any suggestions as to howI can improve this?
A common issue when people have salad for lunch is they use vegetables that have little nutritional value and are largely made of water, such as a salad based on lettuce, tomato and cucumber. It is difficult to sustain energy when eating a salad like this. There is little from an energy/calorie perspective for the body to work with.
Having a salad for lunch can be a wonderful way to get in some additional servings of vegetables, but you’ll need more than just the water-based types to keep you going. When creating your salads, particularly when eaten for lunch, it’s important to include a variety of vegetables, plenty of fat from wholefoods such as avocado, nuts, or seeds. Then to that base, you will likely be fuelled for longer of you add a good source of protein such as pasture-fed meat or eggs (or nuts, seeds and lentils if you are vegetarian).
The more variety you can add the better, but the protein and good fats will contribute significantly to slowing down the energy release, helping you feel fuelled for longer. Having worked with people for almost two decades, I have also found that some people are more energised if they add a form of complex carbohydrate to a meal like the one above. Left over roast kumera can be a great choice.
It’s also important to remember that when most people go on a diet they often restrict their calories/kilojoules and are frightened to eat too much fat given its energy density. But as I explain in The Calorie Fallacy, fat is highly satiating, and particularly when consumed at lunchtime, it can help ward off sugar cravings, energy crashes and poor food choices at afternoon tea time. I’m gluten free as I have coeliac disease and want to know whether or not I can eat oats. I have seen there are nowsome available that say they are gluten free.
There’s a lot of confusion around oats and whether or not they are actually gluten free and therefore are able to be safely consumed by those with coeliac disease. ‘‘Gluten’’ is used to describe a prolamin protein fraction that affects those with coeliac disease. This gluten fraction is called gliadin in wheat, hordein in barley, secalin in rye and avenin in oats.
The term ‘‘gluten-free oats’’ is sometimes assigned to oats that have been grown and processed without coming into any contact with any wheat, barley or rye (which contain gliadin, hordein and secalin as mentioned above). Email your questions for Dr Libby to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note, only a selection of questions can be answered.
However, current laboratory tests can only test for the first three of those, as avenin is a slightly different form of protein. Oats naturally contain avenin and therefore are not ever truly ‘gluten free’. Even tiny traces of gluten depending on sensitivity can cause symptoms in those with coeliac disease. Avenin is an essential part of oats (as gliadin is with wheat). Oats can never be completely gluten (avenin) free.
However, research indicates that only about 20 per cent of people with coeliac disease react to pure uncontaminated oats eg. they react to oat avenin, but a biopsy done by a gastroenterologist is the only way you can have this tested. Unless you have been tested, it is best to avoid oats if you have coeliac disease.
Dr Libby is a nutritional biochemist. The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional.
Water-based vegetables like lettuce, tomato and cucumber have little nutritional value and will leave you hungry.