Have you ever wondered why experts recommend eating protein at every meal and snack? Protein is arguably the most important of the three macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbs)—but did you know a percentage of the protein you eat gets turned into glucose? It turns out that the process is labor-intensive (your liver does the conversion work), so the rise in your blood sugar is slow and hardly noticeable compared to blood-sugar-spiking carbs.
The other thing about protein: it’s filling and satisfying. “In my practice, I’ve noticed that when people consume healthy, protein-rich snacks like unsalted nuts or nut butters, they simply consume fewer carbs,” says dietitian Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDE, 2015 AADE Diabetes Educator of the Year and author of The Complete Diabetes Organizer (Spry, September 2013). Weiner likes to recommend high-protein snacks that aren’t thought of as snack foods: “For example, rolled-up fresh turkey dipped in hummus can be a great afternoon snack.”