Not all sal­ads sat­isfy hunger

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR HEALTH - WITH AU­THOR AND NU­TRI­TIONAL BIO­CHEMIST DR LIBBY Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­ Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered. Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional bio­chemist. The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is

I’m try­ing to lose weight and have been hav­ing sal­ads for the last 3weeks, but find my­self get­ting very hun­gry in the af­ter­noon. I’m typ­i­cally a sand­wich kind of guy. Any sug­ges­tions as to how I 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 now some 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).

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.


Wa­ter-based veg­eta­bles like let­tuce, tomato and cu­cum­ber have lit­tle nu­tri­tional value and will leave you hun­gry.

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