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Can increasing protein stave off hunger?



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MCDAVIS2000
Posts: 29
5/3/13 3:22 P

Thanks for all the advice! I do eat meat, but since we as a family don't, I don't tend to keep any in the house. I do eat tons of fiber (feeding a vegetarian Ironman triathlete husband requires a LOT of vegetables and whole grains!). And, I'm not totally new to the increased hunger that comes with increased training - I've trained for several half and full marathons. However, this seems to be an order of magnitude bigger. I find myself buying and eating things I normally don't even like (like mint ice cream). And, the quantities are just out of control.

At first, I started beating myself up about lack of discipline and willpower. But then it occurred to me that maybe my protein intake was simply way too low. When I'm good about tracking, my protein levels just barely reach the minimum.

Anyway, I'm going to try consciously incorporating more animal proteins consistently throughout my day. I'll keep you posted on how it goes!



SIMPLELIFE2
Posts: 698
5/3/13 12:48 P

I was a strict vegetarian for 10 years and then started training really hard as well. Not only was I so hungry, I also started losing hair from the front of my hairline. Since I ate dairy, I tried to up my protein intake there through cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, low-fat cheese and ended up gaining belly fat. Since I am vegetarian primarily for health reasons, I decided I had to adjust.

I started eating fish (mostly tuna and salmon) and cut out the dairy, except for occasional treats. I also eat a lot of eggs and one protein smoothie a day. It made a big difference in how I feel and I saw my hairline coming back within about 6 weeks. And even though I usually eat 2 egg yolks a day, in addition to more whites, my total cholesterol is its lowest ever at 155.

I make sure I eat protein with every meal and snack, like apples and walnuts, banana and peanut butter, veggies and hummus, and that helps keep my blood sugar and energy levels steady. Everybody is different, but this is what worked for me. Even if you don't want to add fish, you may want to really focus on upping your protein through nuts, seeds, hemp powder, tofu, soy products, etc.



BRITTTURTLE
Posts: 236
5/3/13 12:23 P

Fiber is what keeps us full. Add more veggies!



JLOVEHIIT
Posts: 17
5/3/13 11:41 A

You may find a difference by increasing your protein intake. Try increasing your fiber intake as well if that tends to be low, as well as healthy fats. (Think almonds, cashews, omega oils, natural nut butters, etc)

Proteins by default take much longer for the body to break down than say, a simple carbohydrate like a piece of white bread. It's because of that long breakdown time that it helps you avoid spikes in blood sugar as well. I find it varies person to person however in how they stay full, but a good mix of fiber / lean protein / healthy fat tends to work best for everyone.



RENATARUNS
SparkPoints: (3,536)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,098
5/3/13 7:19 A

Worth a try, why not? It doesn't work that way for me, but a lot of people seem to think there's something to it.

The increased appetite may settle down over time, anyway, as you adjust to the change in activity level, and to some extent you will need to eat more than before in order to meet your energy needs. It's just a matter of getting your body to accept an amount that doesn't make you gain weight. Are you tracking, and are the exercise changes recent? If so, it's entirely possible the weight gain is just water and temporary and/or meaningless regardless. If not, then probably you do need to do something to keep your calories in line.



SLIMMERKIWI
SparkPoints: (121,005)
Fitness Minutes: (32,374)
Posts: 21,018
5/3/13 3:20 A

It is only natural that your appetite (hunger) will increase as you do more exercise. Training for a triathlon is no light-weight work-out.

Do YOU eat meat? If so, if you increase that or eat fish on a regular basis you will get more protein. You can get it from lentils, quinoa etc, too. I was actually with my Dietitian yesterday and mentioned that I often just make the grade with minimum protein. I said that I had increased my meat consumption and dropped the amount of lentils, because my Feijoas (a fruit) are in season and they are very low calorie but very high fibre, so I don't need the lentils as much. I also said that the meat protein keeps me fuller than from other sources, even tho' the calories haven't gone up, and in fact, at times are less. She said that this was not uncommon with some people.

Do you use the Nutrition Tracker? If not, it would be a great idea to do so because then you will be able to tweak. I keep a spreadsheet with calories, exercise and general comments, etc., so it is easy to discover a pattern if one develops.

Kris



MCDAVIS2000
Posts: 29
5/3/13 2:39 A

Hi, I'm training for a triathlon (my first) and my exercise has gone way up. Along with it, so has my appetite - and I've gained 5 pounds. My family is (mostly) vegetarian and, as a result, my daily protein intake is low by SparkPeople standards. I've been really struggling with the overwhelming urge to eat everything in sight and I started to wonder if I would do better to drastically increase my protein.

What do y'all think?



 
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