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7 Dinner Tips for How to Stop Sugar Cravings at Night

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What you eat for dinner has a huge impact on your feeling of fullness right afterwards.

Credit: d3sign / Moment / GettyImages

It’s like clockwork: every night your sweet tooth is looking for something sweet before going to bed.

Biology is to blame for this. A small study from March 2013 published in the journal Obesity found that the body’s internal clock increases hunger and cravings for sweet foods (including starchy and salty) in the evening.

While you can’t change your circadian system, you don’t have to be tied to your sugar cravings. In fact, what you do over dinner can help reduce cravings for desserts and other sweets.

Here, dietitians share seven simple dinner hacks to help stop sugar cravings at night.

1. Skip the lemonade (and other sugary drinks)

A large glass of lemonade with dinner could be the culprit for your nighttime sugar cravings.

Sweetened drinks increase your blood sugar levels instantly. “It’s almost like injecting glucose into your veins,” said Lisa Moskovitz, RDN, founder and CEO of NY Nutrition Group.

But here’s the problem: “The faster your blood sugar rises, the more insulin you produce and the more your blood sugar collapses,” explains Moskovitz.

This glucose roller coaster is a recipe for those with a gnawing sweet tooth no matter how much you ate for dinner, she says.

And drinking sugary drinks on a regular basis can even alter your brain. Animal studies show that sugar intake leads to chemical changes in the brain – similar to addiction – that increase candy cravings, says Kylie Gearhart, RD, a collaborator with NY Nutrition Group.

Takeout: Ditch the lemonade and other sweet drinks at dinner (and from your overall diet).

“If you’re an avid lemonade drinker, I wouldn’t suggest drinking cold turkey, which could lead to even more intense cravings, but instead gradually reduce your intake by mixing half soda with half seltzer water or juice with water,” says Gearhart .

2. Go for low glycemic foods

While a heaping bowl of white pasta sounds like a delicious dinner, you might crave candy in the wee hours of the morning. That’s because certain foods – like refined carbohydrates – have a high glycemic index (GI).

The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods raise blood sugar levels, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

High GI foods quickly release glucose into your bloodstream, causing blood sugar spikes. “But what goes up has to go down quickly, and the rapid rise and fall in glucose levels puts you in a vicious circle that leads to a burst of energy and increased cravings for sweets,” explains Gearhart.

That is why “stabilizing blood sugar levels is the key to avoiding the need for sugar before going to bed,” says Moskovitz.

And eating low glycemic foods – which release glucose slowly and evenly – can help you with that. Stock up on green vegetables, legumes, and nuts to keep your blood sugar levels balanced and stable throughout the night.

3. Pack your plate with protein

Curbing nocturnal sugar cravings can result in getting a decent amount of protein at dinner.

Your body digests protein more slowly than fat and carbohydrates. “That means that eating a higher-protein meal will generally make you feel full longer and reduce the urge to spike in sugar after dinner,” says Moskovitz.

In fact, protein has been shown to reduce the “hunger hormone” ghrelin and increase hormones like glucagon-like peptide-1 and cholecystokinin, which contribute to feeling full of satiety, Gearhart says.

“Protein also has a minimal impact on blood sugar,” adds Moskovitz. And that’s important because foods that raise blood sugar quickly often lead to rapid blood sugar crashes and, as a result, increased sugar cravings.

So make sure your dinner plate is getting an adequate serving of protein. Fortunately, there are a variety of protein options that are perfect for the dining table. From chicken, turkey, and fish to eggs, tofu, and legumes, you can find a healthy source of protein regardless of your diet.

Chances are you may not be getting enough fiber at dinner (or in general). In fact, most Americans – a staggering 95 percent – don’t get enough fiber each day, according to a July 2016 article in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.

But if you’re looking to reduce sugar cravings, fiber is your friend. “One of the greatest benefits of fiber is that it slows digestion and the absorption of fat, which can keep you full and satisfied longer, and reduce cravings,” says Gearhart.

The 2015-2020 American Diet Guidelines recommend between 25 and 34 grams of fiber per day if you’re a person under 50, or 22 to 28 grams if you’re older.

You can help achieve your daily goal by piling your plate on high fiber foods like vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. For quick and easy dinners, Moskovitz recommends opting for a pre-made source of high-fiber whole grains like Seeds of Change Organic Quinoa & Brown Rice.

Tip

As you add more fiber to your diet, you should drink enough fluids to prevent constipation, Gearhart says.

The desire to have candy after dinner can actually mean that you are thirsty.

“We can often mistake thirst for hunger,” says Moskovitz. You might experience excessive thirst masquerading as sugar cravings, especially if your dinner was a little salty than usual, she adds.

To quench your thirst, drink 1 to 2 cups of water before dinner and then drink more during your meal, says Moskovitz.

Having dinner in front of the subway: we are all guilty. But when you’re tuned to the TV, don’t pay attention to your plate. “It’s hard to be fully aware and present when you’re surrounded by distractions, especially television,” says Moskovitz.

Not only do you run the risk of overeating (because you ignore your feelings of fullness), you may also crave nightly sweets.

Case in point: Eating while watching TV is linked to higher consumption of high-sugar foods and sweetened beverages in children, according to a systematic review in October 2017 in Maternal and Child Nutrition.

The simple solution is to turn off the screen. “You will feel much happier after dinner if you take your time and enjoy the food instead of mindlessly shoveling food into your mouth while being distracted by social media or television,” says Gearhart.

And practice mindful eating over dinner: chew your food slowly, enjoy every bite, and use all of your senses, Gearhart says.

Sometimes nighttime sugar cravings signals that you are not eating enough during dinner.

“If you pay attention to calories, carbohydrates, or servings in general, you can step back too far,” says Moskovitz. But that can backfire later.

If you do not eat enough food (especially carbohydrates) with meals, your body will let you know, often in the form of sugar cravings.

To combat this, always eat a balanced dinner (including breakfast and lunch) with all three macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein), Gearhart says.

And if you’re still craving sweets after dinner …

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we just can’t shake our sweet tooth after dinner. And that’s fine. This is how you deal with your night longings in a healthy way.

Stop to see if the pining is over.“Sometimes the craving only lasts a few minutes,” says Gearhart.

“When you feel like you’ve really eaten enough and had a reasonably balanced, well-balanced dinner throughout the day, try to distract your mind a little by going for a walk, tidying up your room, tidying your closet, or one Call my girlfriend, ”she says.

But if you still feel like it, iDon’t fight the desire.“Work with them instead,” says Moskovitz. “If it really feels like an urge to eat rather than an emotional one, then combine a little bit of what you want with something you know your body needs.”

For example, fill half a bowl with ice and the other half with fresh fruit and nuts. “You will still feel like you are getting a satisfying serving, but adding foods high in fiber or high in protein will keep your blood sugar stable and nourishing at the same time,” she says.

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MOV Parent: Time for the lunch bell | News, Sports, Jobs

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The summer months are coming to an end and school is getting closer and closer. When you go back to school it can be difficult to start or continue a healthy lifestyle. It’s easy to choose unhealthy lunch and snack ideas. However, I want to share with you the importance of packing a healthy lunch and preparing a healthy snack when your kids go back to school.

1. Eating a healthy diet can improve your health today and for years to come. Think about how your food choices will be made up throughout the day or week to help you create a healthy eating routine.

2. It is important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, as well as dairy and fortified soy alternatives. Choose options for meals, drinks, and snacks with limited added sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.

Some of the negative effects that unhealthy school lunches have on children are mental and physical problems. Eating the wrong diet can lead to obesity or other weight problems. A child with poor diet is more likely to develop diabetes, kidney stones, and heart disease. Without proper nutrition, a child’s academic performance will decline. Sleep behavior is also affected when children do not eat enough nutritious foods. These children may also exhibit more aggressive behavior and lower attention spans.

When I was in school I packed my own lunch. Most of the time I just tossed everything I could find into a bag and called it lunch. I would wrap anything from cookies to leftover pizza. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I understood why I should choose healthier options. I decided to work on a healthier lifestyle and now cucumber and melon are my favorite food when I wrap lunch.

Becoming more aware of what to give your child for lunch, what your child is packing for lunch, and what groceries you bring around the house can help them feel better, be better, and be healthier.

As a parent, you can help your child choose healthier options by:

1. Regular family meals

2. Serving a wide variety of healthy foods and snacks

3. Be a role model by eating healthily yourself

4. Avoid fighting over food

5. Include children in the process

Figuring out the best lunch options for your child can be difficult. You could try some of these options:

* Turkey + cheddar roll-up, fresh berries, yogurt and trail mix

* Cheese quesadilla, guacamole, salsa, tortilla chips and strawberries

* Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, graham crackers, cheese spread and a peach cup

* Turkey slices, cheese cubes, pita wedges, hummus, baby carrots and celery

To make lunch more attractive to your child, try different foods. Some ideas include:

* Make potato salad or pasta salad multi-colored. Use fun noodles or add hard boiled eggs, beans, peas or small cubes of meat for extra protein.

* Cut raw vegetables like carrots, celery, green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and cucumbers. Send them with a small container of low-fat dip.

* Add a piece of fruit for dessert, washed and ready to eat, or a packet of fruit salad.

* Try reduced-fat cheese cubes or cheese spreads with whole grain crackers.

* Few children can resist yogurt, a good source of protein and calcium that is now available in many different flavors and shapes.

* Choose healthy snacks. Pack pretzels, popcorn, rice cakes, whole grain crackers, dried flakes, or trail mix.

After a long day at school, your children will be hungry. Having healthy snacks for your children after school is important. You can have a snack ready and waiting for them or allow them to choose from the healthy options you have around the house.

The American Heart Association has a list of healthy snack options divided into categories based on cravings. Some of these snacks are:

* Apples and pears

* Bell pepper slices

* Popcorn

* Nuts and seeds

* Carrots and celery sticks

Make sure you find the right ones that suit your family’s needs.

While I was in grades 3-12, I got involved in post-school sports. It was important to have a healthy snack before training and games. The snacks I always chose were apples and peanut butter or bananas and peanut butter.

I also enjoyed applesauce. My parents bought the sugar-free version and I added cinnamon. These were simple and healthy snacks that I could grab on my own.

“There is nothing unhealthy about educating young people about nutrition.” – Pierre Dukan

***

Megan Zwick is a program assistant in Family and Consumer Sciences at Ohio State University Extension, Washington County. She can be reached at zwick.54@osu.edu.

***

resources

* Stadler, M. (2018, August). Back to School Kids Lunch Ideas. (2018, August 14).

* Hopkins, A. (2019 August 15). 15 Healthy After School Snacks Your Kids Will Actually Eat

* What is MyPlate?

* Dukan, P. (n.d.). Healthy eating quote. 34 Best Quotes About Healthy Eating For You And Your Children.

* Schuna, C. (no year). The Effects of Children Eating Unhealthy School Lunches. LIVESTRONG.COM.

* Ben-Joseph, EP (Ed.). (2018, June). Healthy nutrition (for parents) – nemours kidshealth. Children’s health.

* School lunches. Harvard Health. (2015, July 16).

* Healthy snacking. www.herz.org. (nd).

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7 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health

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When your stomach is fine, you never think about it – but when you don’t, it’s hard to think about anything else. The group of microorganisms that live in and make up your gastrointestinal tract play a role in almost every aspect of your health, from preventing chronic disease to maintaining your immune system. So it’s no wonder that you feel lousy when things get out of hand.

But what exactly is your gut feeling? And is it possible to improve your gut health? Here is everything you need to know.

What is the intestine?

The human intestine is much more complex than even experts once realized – it comprises a multitude of internal organs that are involved in the digestive process to absorb nutrients from food and excrete waste, explains Rushabh Modi, MD, a certified physician in both internal medicine and Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. “Typically, this refers to the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon, with the pancreas and liver being crucial as supporting organs that help make digestive enzymes,” he says.

How your gut keeps your body healthy

In addition to absorbing and transporting nutrients to all tissues in the body, the intestine is critical to maintaining fluid and salt levels and eliminating waste, explains Dr. Modes. “Many vital nutrients and vitamins such as B12 and iron have special transporters that only exist in the intestine,” he adds. Iron, for example, needs stomach acid to be absorbed effectively – and B12 also needs certain receptors in the stomach and middle intestines to be absorbed. “These nutrients are difficult to obtain in any other way and they are essential for normal physiological function,” adds Dr. Modes added.

The gut is also one of the body’s most important disease control systems. “The acid in the stomach kills the bacteria and viruses that can inadvertently be ingested through food, and the digestive tract is an important way of introducing antigens to boost immune function and protection in the body,” says Christine Lee, MD . Gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “The digestive tract also digests the foods ingested and extracts the essential nutrients that the body can absorb for vital use.”

New research has even uncovered a link between poor gut health and several neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, autism, and depression. One such study from the Université de Genève found that people with Alzheimer’s have different types of bacteria in their gut than those who do not have the disease.

8 signs your gut is suffering

If your gut is unhealthy, you are likely to have one or more of the following symptoms, even if it’s mild or rare:

  1. gas
  2. Flatulence
  3. Acid reflux
  4. heartburn
  5. diarrhea
  6. constipation
  7. Changes in stool
  8. Inexplicable weight loss
    1. “Since food digestion and waste production are the two most important functions of the intestine, if there are problems in these areas, the intestine can often be the cause of the problem,” explains Dr. Modes. Acid reflux and heartburn have also been linked to the gut, although you may feel the pain further from the core of the problem. Flatulence is also becoming more common, so Dr. Modi notes that patients view them as almost a normal reaction to eating certain foods.

      If you experience unexplained weight loss despite eating regular meals, it may indicate that your body is unable to digest or absorb the nutrients in the foods you eat and that there is a problem in your digestive system, according to Dr. Lee.

      How to improve your gut health

      The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to support your gut health. Here are some of the strategies doctors recommend.

      Eat a wide variety of healthy foods

      A diet made up of several different food types can result in a more diverse microbiome made up of more types, according to a report published in the journal Molecular Metabolism. This, explains Dr. Lee, strengthens our microbiome and increases its resilience.

      The best foods for gut health are fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, especially those with the highest fiber content that help your digestive tract function properly. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day and men 38 grams per day.

      And cut down on unhealthy foods. “The more fat, fat, and salt you eat, the worse your gut health gets,” said Scott David Lippe, MD, chief of gastroenterology at Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus, NJ and assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers Medical School. This is especially important to keep in mind at dinner, as restaurants tend to consume salt, fat, and fat because they taste good.

      Try to leave out dairy products

      If you experience gas, gas, or loose bowel movements after drinking milk or eating cheese, you may be lactose intolerant. “This affects many adults, especially those who have no Northern European ancestry,” says Dr. Lip. “A quick and easy test is to drink a glass of regular milk – if you feel unwell, you are lactose intolerant.” If you are not ready to give up dairy products, you can also try taking lactose tablets before consuming dairy foods take.

      Consider a probiotic

      These tiny little microorganisms aid your metabolism and help rebalance your microbiota, says Douglas A. Drossman, MD, gastroenterologist and Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Psychiatry, UNC Division of Gastroenterology at the UNC School of Medicine. He recommends taking them when you have symptoms of an unhealthy bowel; however, there can be no other benefit. In fact, there isn’t a lot of research to prove the benefits of probiotics for the gut.

      For example, a review published in Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology found that probiotics positively affect the gut microbiota of people with certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes, but do little to improve the gut microbiota of healthy people. “If you are taking antibiotics or have diarrhea, taking probiotics can be very helpful,” adds Dr. Lip. However, he recommends trying to get your fair share of probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi first.

      Include more prebiotics in your diet

      “Prebiotics are not bacteria, they are foods that good bacteria like to eat,” explains Dr. Milstein. “We have to feed the good bacteria and starve the bad bacteria.” He recommends eating foods rich in bacteria such as walnuts, berries, bananas, flax seeds, legumes, artichokes, onions, garlic, chicory, dandelion greens, asparagus, leeks and whole grain products. “The diet is personalized, but putting some fruits and vegetables and fiber on our plate with every meal helps keep gut and brain health,” adds Dr. Milstein added.

      Monitor your vitamin D levels

      Recent research in Nature Communications has examined the relationship between gut bacteria and vitamin D levels and found that deficiency in the nutrient plays a key role in increasing the risk of certain diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer, plays. Any form of disruption of the GI barrier, according to Dr. Drossman commonly referred to as “leaky gut,” which can increase a person’s risk of developing infectious, inflammatory, and functional GI diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. “Most people with leaky gut have very low levels of vitamin D and very low levels of the two most important omega-3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA,” he says. He recommends that most people consume at least 5,000 IU (125 µg) of vitamin D3 daily and consume sufficient fish oil (or the vegan equivalent) of 1,000 mg DHA per day. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.

      Manage your stress level

      Stress not only puts a strain on your mental health, but also on your physical well-being. Chronic high stress can, according to Dr. Drossman directly affect your gut health. While removing stressors from your life isn’t always possible, stress management strategies like diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, or yoga can help, says Dr. Drossman. “It’s also a smart idea to see a psychologist to see if brain and gut therapies (cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis, mindfulness) can be used,” he adds.

      Get a good night’s sleep every night

      When you don’t get enough sleep, your whole body is affected, including your intestines. In fact, new research shows how closely your gut microbiome and the quality of your sleep really are. A study by Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida found that poor sleep, for reasons as yet unknown, can negatively affect your gut microbiome, which can then manifest itself in a variety of other health problems, including autoimmune diseases and mental illnesses. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.


      Jenn Sinrich is a veteran writer, digital and social editor, and content strategist specializing in health, fitness, beauty, and relationships.

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    YOUR HEALTH: When heart health is a matter of race

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    PITTSBURGH – Up to 1 in 500 American adults have cardiomyopathy.

    Their hearts have enlarged, thickened, or stiffened, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood around the body.

    Now, new research examines racial differences in the outcomes of these heart patients.

    “If we don’t give patients good medicines and the like over time, they will develop into what is known as clinical heart failure, where they develop symptoms of shortness of breath and leg swelling,” said Dr. Shazli Khan. Internal Medicine Physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

    People with cardiomyopathy may not have any symptoms at all, or their symptoms may be very mild to begin with.

    Dr. Khan examines racial differences in cardiomyopathy outcomes.

    She and her colleagues looked at data from 18,000 patients over a period of six years.

    “What we actually found was that black patients in our cohort had a much higher prevalence of many chronic diseases,” said Dr. Khan.

    “So more chronic kidney disease, higher blood pressure, higher diabetes rates.”

    If black patients are on optimized heart failure therapy and continue to have symptoms, they can get additional benefit from taking hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate, known under the brand name BiDil.

    Previous research suggested that black patients had a much higher prevalence of chronic illnesses, including chronic kidney disease, higher blood pressure, and higher rates of diabetes.

    “In fact, they died more than the white cardiomyopathy patients,” said Dr. Khan.

    Researchers found that black patients diagnosed with cardiomyopathy were 15% more likely to die than white patients.

    Dr. Khan says the study results suggest that providers should emphasize earlier interventions.

    “That they come in to fill their medication, make appointments, give them resources, and educate them about the long-term effects of certain medical conditions.”

    Patients are advised to focus on eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like chicken or fish.

    Also, focus on maintaining a healthy weight by balancing caloric intake with physical activity to reduce the risk of heart disease.

    Doctors will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your personal and family medical history.

    You will also be asked when your symptoms are occurring, such as whether exercise is causing your symptoms.

    If your doctor thinks you have cardiomyopathy, several tests may be done to help confirm the diagnosis, including an X-ray test to see if your heart is enlarged.

    Several blood tests may be done, including those to check your kidney, thyroid, and liver function, and to measure your iron levels, and a treadmill test to see your heart rhythm, blood pressure, and breathing while you run on a treadmill.

    Your doctor may recommend this test to evaluate symptoms, determine your physical fitness, and see if exercise is causing an abnormal heart rhythm.

    If this story affects your life or has caused you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.

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