5 nutritional tips to help you stay lean over the festive period…

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Bio-Synergy ambassador and BSc Hons James Rutherford shares his top 5 tips to staying lean over the festive period.

So take the mince pie out of your mouth and read the below

1.Fill up on fibre – Fibre helps to increase satiety and combat feelings of hunger as fibrous foods generally take longer to chew; this therefore automatically slows down the speed at which you eat; as a result, giving your brain more time to register feelings of fullness so that you’re less like to overeat with each meal. Fibre also absorbs and holds on to water; therefore, fibre-rich foods swell up in your stomach, helping to fill you up. But because fibre takes longer to digest, it stays in your stomach for longer and keeping you feeling fuller for longer periods, so you’re less likely to reach for those mince pies in between meals!

2.Choose low GI (Glycaemic Index) carbs – Select low GI carbs over those sugary Christmas treats as your main source of energy. Low GI carbs are digested slower than high GI carbs and therefore slowly release glucose into the bloodstream to be used for energy. As a result, they provide a steady supply of energy rather than a quick and short lived burst of energy provided by high GI carbs, which soon leaves you feeling lethargic and reaching for another similar high GI snack, which will only have the same affect. Low GI carbs help to stabilise blood sugar levels and control appetite.

3.Snack on protein – Eating small amounts of high protein foods may help to increase satiety and keep hunger at bay. Research has indicated that protein packed foods may have the ability to suppress ghrelin (the ‘I’m hungry’ hormone) and therefore make you feel fuller for longer. So snacking on some fish, lean red meat, chicken breast or some Christmas turkey mid-afternoon for example, will provide a much better chance of controlling hunger levels than snacking on a few biscuits, and also help to preserve lean muscle tissue.

4.Don’t rush when eating – The brain requires about 20 minutes before it recognises that you are full and sends signals to fat cells within the stomach to release leptin (the ‘I’m full’ hormone). Regardless of how much food consume within this 20 minute period, the brain can’t signal that you’re full any quicker. Consequently, it’s a good idea to slow down your eating pace so that it gives your brain an adequate amount of time to sense when you are getting full and hence will ensure that you don’t overindulge and consume unnecessary calories.

5.Stay hydrated – The feeling of being thirsty can sometimes be masked by feelings of hunger. It’s an easy mistake to confuse thirst with hunger and it leaves you grabbing a quick snack rather than a drink of water which can only intensify the confused hunger feelings, especially if the snack is dry food e.g. biscuits. Instead grab a bottle of water and consume the whole bottle before deciding to reach for that snack as this may well have satisfied those masked feelings of hunger. Plus water will not just help in filling you up, it’s also a necessity for every chemical reaction within the body, and has even been linked to an improved ability to oxidise stored fat. So the day after the office Christmas party, make sure you’ve got plenty of water within reach to help curb that urge to grab an unneeded sugary snack.