Cutting through the noise of the health and wellness industry can be difficult. Most fad diets are based on repression and deprivation, which are unsustainable for the long run. That’s why I resonated with Kelly LeVeque’s Fab Four, an approach I’ve been living by for the past four years. It’s completely changed my relationship with food and health.
Keep reading to learn how to use Kelly LeVeque’s Fab Four as a practical approach to nutrition. Whether you’re vegan, paleo, or keto – this light-structured approach will help you feel satiated for longer and elongate your blood sugar curve. Regardless of your lifestyle, it will makeover your approach to food.
*cue Queer Eye theme music*
Meet Your Personal Fab Four
Protein, Fat, Fiber, and Greens. Not quite the Fab Five, but close to it! Coined by holistic nutritionist and wellness expert Kelly LeVeque, the Fab Four provides light-structure to your meals so you can ditch the diet drama and give a makeover to the way you approach food.
Let’s break down each component and their specific roles.
Proteins are broken down into amino acids, which are the building blocks to our cells. They are the most satisfying macronutrient and are essential to our biological processes.
There are 20 amino acids that make up proteins. Out of these, there are 9 that our bodies cannot make – they must come from our diet. These 9 are considered essential amino acids, and necessary to our biological processes. They make our hormones, neurotransmitters — everything that keeps us feeling mentally well (amongst many other important functions).
Protein in your diet will help support your metabolic rate, keep you satiated for longer, and support your blood sugar balance.
A study from the University of Missouri found that a group of 20-year-old women who started their day off with a high-protein breakfast increased daily fullness and calmed hunger hormones when compared to a normal-protein breakfast (with high protein at 35g, and normal protein at 13g).¹
Like protein, fat is also essential. There are 2 that are considered essential fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid).
Fat is an important macronutrient for brain function, hormone production, and cell development. They support our immune system, reduce the risk of disease, increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (D, K, E, A) and phytochemicals.
When fat is eaten with a meal, it can slow down the absorption of nutrients and help regulate blood sugar. Leptin, a satiety hormone produced by fat cells, signals to the brain that there is enough fat storage and prevents overeating.
In addition to being necessary for regular digestion, fiber slows down the rate of glucose absorption2, supports nutrient absorption, and fuels our microbiome by feeding the ‘healthy’ gut bacteria.
Fiber also physically stretches your stomach lining, which pacifies the release of ghrelin, a strong hormone that intensifies hunger.
The average American gets 15 grams of dietary fiber per day³, which is only about half the recommended daily amount⁴. For adults, the recommended daily amount by the USDA is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. For adults over age 50, the recommended amount is 21 grams for women and 30 grams daily for men.⁵
Leafy greens and veggies are a great source of fiber and nutrients. They’re nature’s gift to us that provides us with vitamins, minerals, powerful antioxidants, and phytochemicals that work to strengthen our immune system and prevent inflammation.
Using the Fab Four Approach
Next time you’re preparing your meal, run through the Fab Four checklist above to see if that you’re hitting your marks and creating a balanced, nourishing plate.
Check out the posts below for ideas on how you can apply the Fab Four to your meals!
- Leidy, Heather J et al. “Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 97,4 (2013): 677-88. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.053116
- Lattimer, James M, and Mark D Haub. “Effects of dietary fiber and its components on metabolic health.” Nutrients vol. 2,12 (2010): 1266-89. doi:10.3390/nu2121266
- Slavin, Joanne L. “Position of the American Dietetic Association: health implications of dietary fiber.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association vol. 108,10 (2008): 1716-31. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2008.08.007