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Significance of food order often a personal matter

What gives you delight?

What is it in life that really does it for you?

You know, puts a hop in your step. Allows you to brush off the bad stuff. Gets you up ahead of the alarm clock.

As you ponder that question, consider the answer emperor Marcus Aurelius gave centuries ago during the Golden Age of Rome. To keep a clear and untroubled mind.

When I first read that, I knew that would delight me, too, so achieving it became a goal.

While I’ve found attaining it can be elusive as tackling Jalen Hurts scrambling outside the pocket, it’s indeed a delight when I do. As it is, I’m sure, for you.

I’m pretty sure we don’t align when it comes to another delight of mine, though.

I get a real kick (almost the equivalent to booting a 50-yard field goal with the game on the line) out of comprehending medical studies written not for the public but medical professionals. Reading with a dictionary by my side and figuring out that an orexigenic is some sort of an appetite stimulant or that a postprandial affect occurs after a meal, I must admit, really tickles my fancy.

But after working a full day, washing the supper dishes, and putting the kids to bed, I can see why it might not tickle yours.

So to keep your fancy fit and maybe even tickle it a bit, read what’s here every week. Even if our reading preferences aren’t quite the same, I’d wager what Jalen Hurts makes in a week (at least until his current contract runs out) that our health goals are.

To wit: I bet you want what I want from a meal.

To enjoy the taste and satisfy your appetite. To increase your energy level and not just temporarily. And not to have the meal create unwanted weight gain.

With those ends in mind, consider the question that serves as today’s title: Does food order matter?

Jessie Inchauspé, biochemist and author of the current number-two best seller on Amazon’s list of Type 2 Diabetes Health books, Glucose Revolution, says yes. Other researchers may say no because there’s ample research to support either answer.

I would say - not as a cop-out but as a proponent of a theory of eating often called Nutrient Partitioning - that the correct answer for you is a personal matter. One based on the physiologically unique way your digestive system and the bacteria inside it react to different foods.

If that’s true, what you then need to do is what I consistently advise you to do: Frequently experiment to find out what foods both delight your insides and really do it for you. And to experiment effectively, what follows next is good to know.

In Glucose Revolution, Inchauspé tells readers the right order of eating is “fiber first, protein and fat second, starches and sugars last.” Eating a greens-only salad as an appetizer before a meat-based entree, and saving your starchy carbohydrate (like rice, corn, or potatoes) for consumption only after that but before your desert (if you choose to have one) is one way to accomplish that.

All in the dietary field know this pattern minimizes the blood sugar increase that occurs after any meal and that minimizing that blood sugar increase is a solid dietary strategy. They also know your body reacts to a large increase of it - regardless of the total amount of food or number of calories consumed - by secreting extra insulin.

But unless this increase in insulin comes after a long and intense workout to help restore muscle glycogen and build or repair muscle, little good comes from it. A large secretion typically removes too much blood sugar, with one of the adverse outcomes being a sense of hunger 90 minutes or so later.

The hunger makes you eat despite just having done so. Weight gain occurs because the extra energy offered to the muscle cells gets rejected, so the insulin takes what’s rejected to the fat stores for eventual use.

And immediate love handles.

If this pattern continues long term, it creates more than a blubbery belly. The muscle cells stop accepting the energy even when energy is needed. Your liver and fat cells become insulin resistant as well.

Your blood sugar levels remain high well after eating, and you develop type 2 diabetes.

But according to a study published in the September 2009 issue of Diabetes Care, a journal produced by the American Diabetes Association, this scenario can be somewhat ameliorated by proper food ordering.

In the study, eight type 2 diabetics consumed added protein in the form of whey during two meals. Once it was added to a beef soup appetizer consumed 30 minutes before the main entree featuring potatoes, and once it was added to the entree.

The researchers found a “marked reduction” in after-meal blood sugar levels when the whey was added to the appetizer instead of the entree, as well as when the same meal was eaten without any added whey whatsoever.