B-fuller longer with Fibre and Protein

Does your stomach start grumbling a few hours after a meal and have you wondering “I just ate!”. The culprit may be in the quality, not the quantity of your meals and snacks. Foods that are laden with simple carbohydrates (e.g. white bread, most baked goods, white rice) are rapidly digested, leaving you feeling hungry and on the hunt for your next meal. By focusing on increasing the fibre and protein content of your meals and snacks you may be able to ward off hunger, and therefore decrease your daily caloric intake while increasing the overall quality of your diet. Let’s the benefits of fibre and protein and how they can work together to leave you feeling fuller longer.


Fibre is the part of plants that humans are unable to digest or absorb. There are two types of fibre; insoluble and soluble. Soluble fibre forms a gel when mixed with water, while insoluble fibre does not and passes through our digestive tract in tact (Dietitians of Canada, 2016). Soluble fibre has been associated with lowering cholesterol levels and aids in controlling blood sugar levels. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to the diet and helps to prevent constipation (Dietitians of Canada, 2016). Most high fibre foods have both soluble and insoluble fibre, so it is more important to focus on overall fibre rather than seeking out soluble or insoluble fibre.

Fibre can help you feel fuller longer because it slows down digestion, promotes feelings of fullness and satiety as well as provides bulk to your meal without adding calories. Fibre also has been associated with a long list of positive health benefits including reduced risk of colorectal cancer, heart disease, stoke, high blood pressure, and obesity to name a few (Aune, et al., 2011) (Anderson, et al., 2014).

Given the whole host of health benefits to fibre, it is important to make sure that we are getting enough and current research shows that over 50% of Canadians are not reaching the recommended amount of fibre per day. The recommendations for fibre are:

Age in Years Aim for an intake of grams(g)/day Stay below
Men 19-50 38 There is no upper limit for fibre
Men 51 and older 30
Women 19-50 25
Women 51 and older 21
Pregnant Women 19 and older 28
Breastfeeding Women 19 and older 29

Source: Dietitians of Canada, 2016

When upping your fibre intake, it is important to ensure that you are upping your water intake as well to ensure that the fibre has enough moisture to swell and move through your digestive tract.

Although there is no health risk associated with consuming too much fibre, consuming too much fibre in one sitting can cause gastrointestinal discomfort (beans, beans, the magical fruit… you know what I am eluting to here).


Protein is one of the three macronutrients (four if you include alcohol!), and is essential for life as it is the building blocks for enzymes, hormones, muscle, cartilage, skin, and bone, among with many other functions. Protein requirements vary on age, level of physical activity, weight and height and overall health status. Dietitians of Canada recommends 10-35% of your total energy (a.k.a. calories) from protein. Studies are starting to suggest that staying towards the higher percentage for protein may be beneficial for those who are trying to lose weight (Leidy, Clifton, Astrup, Wycherley, & Westerterp-Plantenge, 2015).

When most people think of protein, they usually think of animal products like meat, chicken and fish, but the truth is, protein is found in many vegetarian friendly foods as well. Tofu, legumes, yogurt, milk, nuts and cottage cheese are all good sources vegetarian protein. A common criticism of the vegetarian diet is that it lacks in protein, but this is not necessarily true. Both Dietitians of Canada and the American Dietetic Association promote vegetarian diets and if well planned, they can meet, and often exceed the nutritional needs throughout the lifespan (The American Dietetic Association, 2009).

Although there is no concrete consensus in the scientific community as to exactly why protein rich foods result in increased feelings of fullness or satiety, researchers have suggested that the hormones released while eating high protein foods may be the culprit (Belza, et al., 2013). Protein has also been associated with a longer time spent in the stomach when compared to carbohydrates (but less than fats), which could also be a contributing factor to satiety.

Given the health-benefits and satisfying properties of both protein and fibre, it is helpful to search out snacks and meals that are high in both. Check out the tips below for ideas on how to increase the protein and fibre content of your diet.


  • Sprinkle bran, flaxseeds, chia seeds or psyllium husk on yogurt, cereal or salads
  • Add lentil/beans to your salads/soups
  • Switch to whole grain product
  • Eat the fruit, not the juice!
  • Snack on raw vegetables
  • Swap potato chips for air popped popcorn


  • Double your dairy protein by switching regular yogurt to greek yogurt
  • Switch out sugary jam for protein packed nut butter
  • Snack on protein rich foods like a hard boiled egg, cottage cheese, nuts.
  • Include a high protein food item with each meal (chicken, fish, tofu)
  • Top your salads with lean animal protein like chicken breast, or tofu/edemame for vegetarians


High fibre + protein snack ideas

  • Greek yogurt topped with fruit + bran, chia, flaxseeds: You can also opt for a store bought or homemade granola. If you are purchasing your granola be sure to read the nutritional information and try and choose a brand with lower amount of added sugar.
  • Simply protein bars: high fibre, only 1 gram of sugar and 15 grams of protein! Impressive.
  • Hummus and whole wheat pitas or cut up vegetables
  • Pumpkin yogurt dip: mix equal ratio of pumpkin puree (not pie mix) with vanilla or plain Greek yogurt and add cinnamon, and a touch of maple syrup if you are using plain yogurt. You can you use this as a dip for apple slices (or just eat it by the spoon!)
  • Apple + 1 tbsp nut butter – note you can also follow the same instructions as the pumpkin yogurt dip and mix with yogurt.