What's the best way to avoid becoming overweight? To start with, we need to understand how being overweight develops. In the following sections, we've provided a brief, evidence-based insight into scientific models that explain how people become overweight – and how this can be avoided. We'll look at three questions: - What role do carbohydrates and proteins play in becoming overweight? - Does protein really have a positive impact? - What is the ideal protein intake?
Insulin is a hormone made by our bodies that fulfils various functions, i.e. it is released in greater quantities by our pancreas as soon as our blood sugar level (or more accurately, our blood glucose level) rises. Insulin removes glucose from the blood and enables it to be absorbed by our body's cells. In simple terms, the hormone keeps blood sugar levels in check and gives cells energy in the form of glucose.
One explanation behind why people become overweight is the carbohydrate-insulin model (CIM), which runs counter to the 'traditional' energy balance model. This model says that the only thing that matters, if someone is overweight, is the amount of calories consumed. This approach has obvious weaknesses. CIM, conversely, says that it's not about the calories per se, but the type of calories. It links a diet high in refined – and by extension, quickly digestible – carbohydrates with being overweight. Put simply, this involves the following mechanism taking place in the body: if we eat lots of quickly digestible carbohydrates multiple times a day, we will have a chronically high blood insulin level because the insulin needs to reduce the high blood sugar level (or actually, the glucose level). Some of the glucose is stored in the liver and muscle as a carbohydrate reserve. As these stores are limited, excess glucose is converted into fat. Normally, full fat cells send a signal to the brain that there's enough energy available, which, in turn, leads to you feeling full. However, insulin blocks this signal, i.e. we keep feeling hungry – and we continue to eat more. This is exacerbated by the fact that sugar triggers our reward centre. Instead of using up our fat reserves, they're topped up even more. It's a vicious circle.
Now, what about protein? How does this impact being overweight? After extensive research, two biologists David Raubenheimer and Stephen Simpson performed a study in 2003 that explored a hypothesis relating to the role of protein. They called their work 'The Power of Protein'.
In this study, participants were able to eat from various rich buffets until they felt full, over a period of several days. The buffets differed in terms of the proportion of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat) they contained. One buffet had foods full of protein but low in carbohydrates and fat, while the other had lots of low-protein, high-carbohydrate, high-fat foods. They noticed that participants ate much more when the buffet had lots of low-protein, high-carbohydrate and high-fat foods than when the buffet was primarily composed of protein-rich foods. This led to the hypothesis that protein governs macronutrient consumption – a theory that has since been confirmed multiple times and is now referred to as 'protein leverage'. In simple terms, we eat until we've consumed our target amount of protein. Only then are we satisfied. As a result, we automatically ingest less energy when we eat food with a higher protein content – reducing the risk of becoming overweight. As a result, the carbohydrate-insulin model and the protein leverage hypothesis don't contradict each other: they're two sides of the same coin.
You'd be wrong to think 'the more protein, the better', though. Rather, it's about getting the ideal quantity and quality of protein in our diet. The reference values for our daily intake are currently 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight. Taking into account modern research, though, the optimum quantity is actually 1.2 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilo, per day. Just two small 50-gram portions of our High Protein Low Sugar Strawberry Vanilla Crunchy Müesli provide a third of the ideal daily protein intake for a person weighing 60 to 70 kg.
Have you heard of our new pure balance Ancient Grains & Apple Crunchy Müesli? In this product, we use three ancient Swiss Knospe-certified organic grains: emmer, perennial rye and einkorn. Find out more about these native ancient grains.
Emmer (also known as 'hulled wheat') is one of the oldest grain varieties and is a predecessor to wheat and spelt. Its well-known wild form has only been re-cultivated in Switzerland, in small quantities, since 2016. Emmer grains have a strong, full-flavoured taste. They have a higher protein concentration than wheat and contain more fibre. They also provide precious carotenoids such as beta carotene, for instance, which functions as an antioxidant.
Perennial rye, also known as wild rye, is another ancient, robust species. It can grow more than two metres tall, is highly winter-resistant and has a nutty, aromatic, full-flavoured taste. As an ancient variety of rye, perennial rye contains 50% more dietary fibre than regular rye. However, perennial rye also boasts a sizeable concentration of protein, trace elements and B vitamins, making it a valuable ingredient in our three-grain flakes. Plus, perennial rye also loosens up the soil, thereby providing a good basis for vegetable cultivation.
Like emmer, einkorn is one of the oldest types of grain in the world and played a highly significant role as far back as the Neolithic period. Einkorn is a robust and undemanding plant, but has only been re-cultivated in Switzerland – in tiny quantities – since 2016. Einkorn also has a higher protein concentration and lots of valuable carotenoids, along with dietary fibre and minerals. Einkorn has a slightly yellow hue due to its high concentration of beta carotene.
Protein is a biological nutrient made up of a chain of organic compounds called amino acids, with a wide range of functions that are vital for life in human organisms. For instance, proteins provide structure for the muscles and heart, they are important for healthy nails and hair, and for transporting red blood cells and hormones around the body. Proteins are therefore also very important for muscle development, especially in athletes.
Amino acids are the smallest components of proteins. You can think of a protein as a chain of pearls tangled up in a ball, where the individual pearls are the amino acids. There are a total of 20 amino acids, which are responsible for the composition of proteins in living beings. Of these, nine are considered essential amino acids. Essential in this context means that they must be provided in our diets and cannot be produced by the body on its own. The nine essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
The protein in our High Protein low sugar crunchy Müesli comes from the grains, pulses, nuts and seeds it contains – specifically oats, wheat, pea, almonds, flaxseed, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
A bowl of High Protein low sugar with or without milk provides a balanced protein composition: all nine essential amino acids are included (see amino acid profile, figure 1 [with milk] and figure 2 [without milk]). Essential in this context means that the amino acids must be provided in our diets and cannot be produced by the body on its own. The amino acid lysine is present in the lowest amount in High Protein low sugar, which is typical for a cereal product. The best way to meet your daily protein needs is therefore to opt for lysine-rich foods in other meals, or add lysine-rich ingredients to your High Protein low sugar crunchy Müesli. Examples of lysine-rich plant-based foods include a wide range of nuts, seeds and pulses. You can find the perfect recipe here.
The Mindful Crunchy Müesli is packed with superfoods. In addition to whole grains, this includes a wide variety of different nuts and seeds such as cashews, almonds, chia seeds, linseed, amaranth, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. These crunchy nutrient bombs provide valuable omega 3 fatty acids and iron, both of which are beneficial to our mental fitness. Just one 50g serving provides you with enough iron to promote normal cognitive function.
If you are going through a demanding time (e.g. studying or prepping for final exams) and you want to have optimal concentration, you should try to include as many brain foods as possible in your diet. In addition to vegetables, these include nuts and seeds, as well as fatty fish and pulses. Evidence suggests that these foods provide you with essential nutrients that your brain needs to function at its best. A cup of coffee or tea or a piece of dark chocolate can also have a positive effect on your cognitive abilities in the short term. If you want to be in good mental shape in the long term, we can give you the following five tips:
Getting enough iron is essential for maintaining optimal oxygen supply, which in turn is essential for unrestricted cognitive performance. Just one 50 g portion of Mindful will give you around 30% of your daily iron requirements. However, since the iron in cereals cannot be fully absorbed by the body, it is best to include other iron-rich foods such as meat and pulses in your diet.
Make sure you eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day, in a wide range of different colours. These plant foods contain a large number of plant secondary compounds, which can help to protect our body from oxidative stress. A number of these bioactive plant compounds, such as polyphenols, are currently being investigated in clinical trials as a possible therapy for Alzheimer's disease.
Make sure you are getting enough omega 3 fatty acids. The body cannot make enough of the two essential omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA by itself from alpha-linolenic acid (found, for example, in flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts). We need to get the rest through our diet. One valuable source is fatty fish. Vegans should take a food supplement.
Move for at least 30 minutes every day. This strengthens your immune system and helps your body protect itself against oxidative stress in the long term.
And last but not least: take pleasure in the little things in life. According to scientific findings from Alzheimer's research, a positive attitude is the best way to keep your brain strong and healthy for life.
You can find an ideal recipe for focused brain power here: Brainpower Balls.
The Youthful Crunchy Müesli contains the superfoods pomegranate, currants, cocoa and amaranth as well as important whole grains. Superfoods are naturally rich in nutrients. Pomegranate seeds and berries in particular contain valuable plant secondary compounds. In addition, the zinc contained in Müesli can protect our cells (including skin and hair) from oxidative stress. When combined with vitamin D, this supports the immune system even more. This ensures enhanced vitality and glow.
If you want to literally glow from within, the most important thing is to eat a balanced diet that has a rich variety of fresh vegetables and fruits. The best way to enjoy your fruits and vegetables is to 'eat the rainbow'! That's because each colour represents a different plant secondary compound, which in turn fulfils a different function. Plant secondary compounds are defensive compounds that protect the plant from external influences. Have you ever wondered how it is that an apple, an aubergine or a tomato has such an intense colour and evenly plump skin despite stressful environmental influences? In addition to the high water content and cell-protecting micronutrients such as zinc and vitamins, this is also due to the plant secondary compounds.
Plant secondary compounds include flavonoids, phenolic acids, carotenoids, phytoestrogens, glucosinolates, sulphides, monoterpenes, saponins and phytosterols. Below you will find a brief overview of the plant secondary compounds that can also be found in our Müesli, depending on the ingredients. The possible health effects were mainly observed in pre-clinical animal trials and in-vitro tests.
Found in e.g: apples, pomegranates, berries, plums, various vegetables, black and green tea Importance for the plant: red, light yellow, blue and violet pigments Possible health effects: antioxidant, antithrombotic, blood pressure lowering, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antibiotic.
Found in e.g: whole grain products, nuts, cocoa, coffee, tea Importance for the plant: defence compounds against predators Possible health effects: antioxidant
Found in e.g: carrots, oranges, apricots, tomatoes, peppers, green vegetables Importance for the plant: pigments (yellow, orange, red) Possible health effects: antioxidant, immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory.
Found in e.g: cereals and pulses (e.g.: soybeans), linseed Importance for the plant: plant hormones.
Found in e.g: legumes, soy, oats Importance for the plant: bitter compounds. As you can see, what is good for the plant is very likely to be good for us. So create your own rainbow of different-coloured fruits and vegetables every day and discover new radiance!
Dietary fibre is perhaps just as important for glowing from within. From a chemical point of view, dietary fibres are many sugar molecules strung together. The sugars in fibre can only be used by our bodies to a small extent, which means that their effect on the body is very different to other sugars. Dietary fibres enter the large intestine in a mainly undigested state, where they are broken down by our intestinal bacteria into short-chain fatty acids and other health-promoting compounds. These compounds have an anti-inflammatory effect on various processes in the body and also lay the foundation for the development of healthy intestinal flora.
A healthy intestinal environment creates the best conditions for a strong immune system and balanced skin. The gut also uses the 'gut-brain axis' to signal to our brain that it is healthy and happy. The result: we feel good and this is visible in our radiant appearance. It is not for nothing that the skin is often called the mirror of the soul.
Good sources of dietary fibre are whole grains such as whole oats, nuts, seeds, legumes and of course fruits and vegetables. So let's get going: enjoy a bowl of the nutrient-rich Youthful Crunchy Müesli plain, or try adding fresh berries and pomegranate seeds. You can find a recipe for a Youthful Berry Bowl in the Recipes section.