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  1. #1
    Senior Member Koobazaur's Avatar
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    A small desert after a meal - a necessity?

    So working from home having my fridge next to me led me slowly to become one of the "eat more often in smaller quanitites" getting to the almost ridiculous place where I can eat a BIG meal and be hungry again in two hours (no exaggeration). I've been trying to get out of this system as it's just annoying having to eat/snack constantly but have been facing a problem - since I am used to eating small, even a normal sized meal instantly puts me in a food comma. And by the time I wake up from my nap, of course, I am hungry again. I've had days where I will literally eat, sleep, eat, sleep. Hnnngh...!

    But I think I just made a discovery and wanted to talk to the nutrition/blood sugar/GI experts of BikeForums. Basically I noticed if I eat a "desert" after my big meal, I tend not to get a food comma. First case was a few days ago when I had a MASSIVE dim sum brunch with a few friends, fully expecting a coma after. But we ended stopping by a cafe and getting chocolate-ladden ice creams after aand... no coma! Next day was another massive lunch, but without any desert at the end. ZZzzzz. Second case, yesterday I had a decent breakfast (2 eggs, 1 whole wheat english muffins, slice of cheese, veggies etc.) and food comma killed me until noon. Today I did a repeat of that, BUT I tacked an extra half of an english muffin slatherd in jam and honey (side-by side, not mixed, i am not uncivilized), and lo-behold, no food comma, and I've been motivated and energized as heck on top of that!

    My theory is that, since I eat "healthy" I tend to get lots of fruits, veggies and whole grains, with a bit of fat. All this stuff is great because it digests slowly. And it takes a lot of energy from a body to digest. So when I eat a lot, my body goes into a coma using up all its energy to convert all that. BUT if I tack on simple sugars (ice cream+chocolate, honey + jam) on top of that, it also gives my body instant-energy that offsets the energy lost to digestion = no coma! Aand while normally, after a sugar hike one would deplete it and crash, in my case by the time the sugar rush wears off the whole-grains, proteins and fats are starting to be digested and entering my bloodstream, thus giving me energy that offsets the crash. So it's basically a win-win.

    So am I right on the mark here, or is my theory completely bonkers?

  2. #2
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    Interesting theory. But I think it depends on the individual. For example I myself when I was younger, used to eat huge meals really quickly. I would then have the same problem of crashing or feeling hungry several hours later. For the past few months I have changed my eating diet and instead continued eating big meals but taken a longer time to eat them. In that way I space out my meals, and its also healthier on the body.
    In regards to sugar, just because sugar gives you energy, that energy is not sustained. It only lasts for a short period...like caffeine haha

  3. #3
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Interesting thread title. I suppose a small desert is the Atacama when compared with, say, the Sahara?

    As for desserts, I can't say I've ever noticed the effect you describe. And the problem with your theory seems to me to be that it involves a lot of extra calories. If your recipe for avoiding sleepiness after a heavy meal is to eat more sugar, you're going to end up pretty fat.

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    Senior Member shadoman's Avatar
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    Necessity ? No.
    Civility ? Quite.

    The problem is that MOST people have no concept of "small".
    The average dessert that you receive here in America is 2-3 times larger than it should be.
    ( Of course, our food portions are, also. )
    I'm not pokey, but I'm certainly not speedy... sorta half-fast, I guess...

  5. #5
    Senior Member Koobazaur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaragon View Post
    In regards to sugar, just because sugar gives you energy, that energy is not sustained. It only lasts for a short period...like caffeine haha
    Exactly, a short period.... like the length of a food coma. Kind of a "simple sugar for energy NOW, complex sugar/protein/fat for energy LATER" so they really compliment each other.

    And the problem with your theory seems to me to be that it involves a lot of extra calories. If your recipe for avoiding sleepiness after a heavy meal is to eat more sugar, you're going to end up pretty fat.
    Not if my current diet is lacking in sugar/calories (which is causing the food comas). And after a week of biking while having the massive meals + ice creams I described above, I actually lost like a pound, all the while my leg strength notably improved. So if anything, I can afford the extra sugar.

    And frankly, an extra small slice of bread with some jam or a scoop of ice cream is like an additional 10 minutes on a bike. As shadoman points out, I'm not talking about inhaling a whole apple pie here after each meal (albeit that would be a hilarious dietary experiment heh).

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    Desert =/= Dessert, as Chasm54 said, you got these two mixed up .

    That said, dessert has a lot of unnecessary, unhealthy calories just for some additional energy. I would focus on changing up what and when you eat, adding more natural sugars and other fast to digest foods (get those easy to break down carbs/sugars in your meal, not on the side). Be smart about your diet, tossing on some ice cream isn't exactly thinking things through.

    Again, it is totally dependent on the individual, we all know different things work for different people. That being said, sugar is not a hard thing to get out of "healthy" foods. I personally would never try and justify my body needing icecream, cakes or even sugar enhanced jams. My body might need sugar/calories as you mentioned, but there are almost an unlimited better/healthier ways to go about this. Now when I want to enjoy a dessert, I do. But this has nothing to do with meeting my bodily needs, but rather indulging myself for the sheer enjoyment of delicious tasting food.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Koobazaur's Avatar
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    There is nothing unhealthy about whole wheat slice of bread with honey or organic jam, and the sugar in this case IS natural. Ice cream much less so, but having a scoop or two once a week wont exactly give me diabetes.

    I guess it's just typical mentality associating "dessert" with "unhealthy 800 calories of pure sugar and fat" since that's what it usually means. But as I said above, I am not talking about that, but sensible and adequately-portioned simple-sugar snacks to go alongside a bigger and complex meal that takes your body a while to digest.

    What are other good "fast energy" natural sources, besides honey, banana/dates/raisins/etc., organic jams, fruit smoothies etc? I love me some apples or pears after a meal, but apparently most of them have a low GI index and actually take long to digest as well?

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    Totally understand where your head is at and I have no confusion about the definition of dessert .

    The breakfast example is a good one, you can't go wrong with honey and/or organic all natural jams without additional sugars. My point is that while obviously bodies need sugar, there are healthier more natural ways to get them than ice cream or candy. I personally don't justify eating unhealthy food with anything other than I want some crazy tasting food/something to mix up my diet. I don''t like to lie to myself, because honestly in the end no one needs ice cream, or most modern day desserts for that matter.

    Certainly, almost all dietitians will tell you that eating a complete meal with different types of complex and simple foods is always the way to go, but usually they won't tell you to eat lots of ice cream... even if you are trying to bulk up .

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    Senior Member Koobazaur's Avatar
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    No, no one needs ice cream, or alcohol or tobacco, just as no one really needs bungee jumping, going to the movies or even biking. But its those things that make life actually worth living

    And I do tend to eat uber-healthy; as I said I do all whole grains bread/pasta, brown rice/lentils/barley, lots upon lots of fruits and veggies (raw, boiled or oven baked), chicken and turkey breasts, fat-free greek yogurt etc. etc. So basically all super-healthy, not-very-calorie-dense and long-time-to-digest type stuff. Hence why I think I may actually need more simple sugars in my diet; or at the very least, I can definitely afford to add them in without freaking out about gaining pounds

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    Yeah, I think we are on the same page Koob . Affording to eat the foods you want is the best way to go about it.

    If you like non-fat Greek yogurt, I'd recommend giving Siggi's Icelandic yogurt a try, really tasty stuff!


    Although, I do need biking

  11. #11
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    I found that by upping the amount of fat I eat and eliminating grains, I don't have the blood sugar swings that put me into the "food coma". If I don't have enough fat or have some toast with my eggs, I'm hungry 2 hours later.

    But if you can accomplish the same thing by having dessert, more power to you. I wish I could do that.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

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    Senior Member Koobazaur's Avatar
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    hmm, in restrospect, I guess better wording would have been: "have both complex AND simple sugars in your meal" rather than dessert.

    And chandtp, fat does take long time to digest so its a necessary element for feeeling "full." But I havent had much like with pinning my food commas to just one element, I tried big meals cutting one out and its all the same in my case

  13. #13
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    You're messing yourself up. I did that and it was not good. You are eating way too much carbs and not nearly enough fat and protein. That's the reason for your blood sugar swings. Keep that up, and you'll be pre-diabetic in short order. Eat only enough carbs to fuel your cycling habit. Get the rest of your daily calories from fat and protein. No more blood sugar swings. You're right about the dessert thing - but you should eat a piece of cheese! Or have 15g of whey protein. Or both. But not carbs before bed. Bingo, carb calories become fat in just a few minutes. You don't get a food coma except from carbs. So you get in a cycle where your blood sugar dives and you bring it back up with more carbs and it dives again. This is your pancreas talking to you. Don't do that. And it's a hard cycle to break because your body gets into it.

    That said, you do have to eat enough carbs! Figure it out - how much you burn - and make sure you get that much. Plus another 400 cal. for your brain, plus a little extra.

  14. #14
    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    There is nothing unhealthy about whole wheat slice of bread with honey or organic jam,
    Hey, that's one of my favorites too!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Koobazaur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    You're messing yourself up. I did that and it was not good. You are eating way too much carbs and not nearly enough fat and protein. That's the reason for your blood sugar swings.
    Interesting how you jump on me and criticize my diet even tho I have not divulged what it is... interesting because you may be spot on. I have started to suspect I may be too low on my protein and fats recently, particularly after calculating I'd need something like 5-6 chicken breasts a day to get the protein, or like 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil. That really seemed like "a lot" to me, which I guess is a surefire sign I am not getting enough if that's supposed to be the standard (based on the zone 40-30-30 diet at least; 50-25-25 would be a bit more managable). Tho, there's also some protein in the whole-grains, veggies (particularily bok choy, cauliflower etc.), greek yogurt / cottage cheese, lentils, etc. which I have a-plenty.

    I've already started upping my protein (i.e. put an extra egg in my scrambles, have a big chicken breast / whole can of tuna for dinner, even if it feels like too much), and healthy fats (use more oil in my stir fries / eggs / cheese / almonds / almond PB etc.) So far it hasnt really changed my food comma/hunger patterns but it may take a bit for my body to re-adjust, and in any case, it is better for me. Funny, I used to make a sandwich full of veggies and a measly slice of deli turkey, thinking I was being healthy; but now I realize actually doubling the meet and adding the "unhealthy" cheese or even mayo is actually the healthier choice!

    As I said, the extra bit of honey or jam is working well to weed off the commas for the time being, and with my current calorie intake and exercise level, I need more calorie dense foods in any case.

  16. #16
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koobazaur View Post
    As I said, the extra bit of honey or jam is working well to weed off the commas for the time being, and with my current calorie intake and exercise level, I need more calorie dense foods in any case.
    If your desserts were high fat, I could understand why it helps your hunger swings. I don't understand bread and honey helping, unless you're simply not consuming as many calories as you think you are and just upping your calorie intake is helping.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

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    Senior Member Koobazaur's Avatar
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    Well I didn't say it helps hunger swings, it helps with post-meal sleepiness; I explained my theory in the OP (basically honey = instant energy = offsets energy lost due to digesting complex carbs/proteins/fats my meals are full of). But I do need to eat more in general as well, which is why I am not concerned about the extra 50 calories from honey or jam.

    Basically, lately my biking performance has been crap (thighs getting really sore and hurting on subsequent rides, even with rest days) and I never see much improvement when I hit the gym. My weight stays about the same (~130lbs at 5'5). I finally decided to do a test-week where I literally let myself go and be a glutton, including 3 massive brunches with friends, roommates BBQ (it was the 4th!), big ice cream on one occasion, and even pre-sleep (healthy) snacks if I was hungry. I did bike a decent amount (usually right before the massive meals) and my legs were getting really sore, so I took the weekend off to rest.

    I dreaded stepping on the scale knowing I'd be gaining weight, but more-so I dreaded the bike ride I'd have to do after, knowing from past experience my legs would still be sore despite the rest days.

    I lost a pound. I blazed up hills with no drop in gears or speed. I could even tackle rides first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, something I simply could NOT do beforehand.

    Yea, I definitely needed more food. So, as my research and Carbonfiberboy pointed out, I am good with carbs, so I started packing on extra protein and fat, which inadvertedly led to food comma after food comma. The extra bit of simple sugars, tho, would prevent it, hence this thread was born.

  18. #18
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Yes, I suppose I did jump on you. Been there, done that, and don't like to see people hurt themselves. Just a little tough love. I still don't think the sugar dessert thing is a good idea. Yes, it helps momentarily, but then it hurts you later on. I'd rather see you experiment with various healthy foods that might not have that effect on you.

    FWIW, I've been taking a nap after lunch for many years. I don't need it after breakfast or dinner, but for some reason I get really noddy after lunch. That's what I do in lieu of further system stimulation. Although it's been many years since I originally screwed up my blood sugar, I can still get swings if I'm not careful.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Koobazaur's Avatar
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    Well I already clarified several times that dessert snacks are small and of healthy variety (i.e. whole wheat + honey, fruit, etc.), and my initial wording was poor; I rather mean one should include some simple-sugars in his meal in additions to complex ones.
    Last edited by Koobazaur; 07-09-12 at 06:31 PM. Reason: eh, no need for the spite

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    I can only speak from personal experiences but while I eat frequently I tend to eat small amounts of filling foods. I will go into a food coma if I eat too many carbs (especially simple carbs).
    Sugary foods tend to make me hungrier after a bit. I believe I read that this has something to do with an insulin response of some sort and ones blood sugar levels.
    What works best for me is a diet with more fat and protein in it and fewer simple sugars. I have never had good luck with a small dessert after dinner.
    However, it sure is tasty.

  22. #22
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
    I have never had good luck with a small dessert after dinner.
    Yea, I've never been satisfied with a small ​dessert after dinner either.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Koobazaur's Avatar
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    Carbonfiberboy, please check your PMs

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    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    Yea, I've never been satisfied with a small ​dessert after dinner either.

    A large dessert makes me even hungrier. Add beer and things are even more amusing.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Koobazaur's Avatar
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    Aye, snacking especially on certain foods (high sugar or high salt) tends to get my appetite running as well; I avoid having sweets when Im really full cause I know it will just artificially create a sense of hunger for like the next 10 mins

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