Unexpected Benefits Of Food Sequencing

Nowadays, there are so many diets to choose from. There's Noom, Weight Watchers, intermittent fasting, the paleo diet — the list goes on. So, when a new diet arises, it's tempting to see if that diet will help you reach your health goals. If you find yourself screaming "yes, that's me!", meet food sequencing. This dietary approach recently went viral and is growing in popularity as it focuses on adjusting the order in which you eat your food.

For those who are unfamiliar with food sequencing, it is recommended by biochemist and author Jessie Inchauspe (via The Science Times). The theory is that when you follow a certain order when eating — first high-fiber foods, proteins, and then starchy carbohydrates — your blood glucose levels won't spike.

Eating fiber-rich foods first (e.g. leafy greens and other veggies) prevents cravings and helps slow the digestion system down. In particular, veggies are "virtually non-digestible and can help slow the rate at which food is converted into sugar," points out registered dietitian nutritionist Lisa Moskovitz to Livestrong.

On a similar note, consuming proteins and fat before carbohydrates also slows down digestion. But how? According to Nutrients, eating proteins or fats stimulates the secretion of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). This hormone slows down gastric emptying and also signals the pancreas to clean up glucose levels in the blood (per The Conversation). It does this by releasing insulin.

What are other benefits of food sequencing?

Beyond regulating glucose levels, there are other health benefits of food sequencing. Meal sequencing also supports weight loss and weight maintenance, points out Livestrong.

One 2019 study reports that meal sequencing can boost satiety. This can lead to feelings of satisfaction, and the high fiber content may ward off cravings. So if you're prioritizing your meal in the following order: veggies, protein and fat, then a carbohydrate, this will naturally increase fullness.

If you're looking for weight loss benefits of sequencing, Moskovitz suggests "starting off your meals with plenty of fibrous and voluminous veggies [like broccoli and cauliflower], followed by lean protein and fats, may offer the satisfaction and fulfillment you need to feel energized — and not deprived — even if you're eating less" (via Livestrong). This will also help limit your calories.

Adding veggies, proteins, and fats before carbs may allow more flexibility since your glucose spikes are curbed. For instance, a study published in Diabetes Care found that post-meal insulin and glucose levels were significantly lower when participants ate veggies and protein before carbs compared to the reverse order.

Besides, eating your veggies and proteins first also helps you obtain many essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals you need daily, shares Moskovitz (per Livestrong). Just be sure to rotate your veggies and proteins for a more well-balanced meal.