You go for lunch with your colleagues and return to the office. An hour later, your tummy grumbles loudly, so loud that the whole office hears it. You are embarrassed but more than that, you are confused. You just had lunch! How could you still be hungry?
What did you have to eat? Was it Roasted Chicken Rice? Was it Minced Pork Noodles? Nasi Biryani with Chicken? The fact is that a typical hawker dish three times a day does not provide the recommended daily fibre intake recommended by the Health Promotion Board. Fibre is an important part of our daily diet. The Health Promotion Board recommends a daily intake of 20g for women and 26g for men. The dishes mentioned above contain 2g, 4.9g and 8.4g of fibre respectively.
What’s fibre good for? It takes longer to digest, thereby helping you to feel full for a longer time. It also reduces cholesterol levels, helps makes trips to the bathroom smoother and assists in regulating your blood sugar. So if you’re constantly hungry but have no idea why, it could very well be lack of fibre!
Now that you know this, it’s time to supplement your diet with some fibre-rich foods. When topping up on your salad, ask for lentils, chickpeas and edamame. At the cai fan stall, look for sides that come with carrots or broccoli. Snap peas are also a great option. Thinking of snacking after your lunch or breakfast? Why not a pear or some pistachios? Both are fibre rich, although you’d want to remember to keep the skin on the pear, because that’s where the good stuff’s at!
Another reason is contributing to your constant gnawing hunger could very well be high fructose corn syrup. This cheap sweetener is everywhere, including canned soda, fast food and even ketchup. Although fructose is also present in sugar, it is present in lower amounts. You are more likely to feel fuller after downing a drink sweetened with regular sugar rather than fructose. When you eat, your body produces chemicals that tell your body that all is good, you don’t need more food. The problem with fructose-laden products is they interrupt that signal, so your body literally doesn’t know it’s full.
It’s a well-documented phenomenon, so much so that the likes of McDonald’s removed high fructose corn syrup from their sandwich buns. However, take their commitment to the cause to our collect health with a grain of salt because… high fructose corn syrup is still in the sauce they put in their burgers. That means ketchup and mustard! In 2016, The Consumerist broke the news that high fructose corn syrup is literally at the heart of McDonald’s – it’s part of the special blend that is the Big Mac’s sauce.
So the next time you go out for lunch with your colleagues, or go to brunch with your pals during the weekend, look at the ingredients on your canned drink. Does it contain any high fructose corn syrup, or make any references to fructose? Also don’t forget about your fibre intake – your tummy will thank you for it.
What’s your favourite go-to place for lunch? How about weekend brunch? If you’re thinking of changing up your orders for a healthier you, check out SingHealth’s HealthXChange blog for nutritional information regarding hawker food here, here and here.