The health benefits of eating your vegetables before anything else on your plate has been laid out by scientists, who say that eating food in a certain order can have the same effect as a ‘mini Ozempic’.

Researchers have found that tucking into fibre-rich vegetables before meat, rice or pasta helps to regulate blood sugar levels. It also slows down gastric emptying, which is when food leaves the stomach and moves into the digestive tract.

This can help people to feel fuller for longer and reduce the desire for dessert.

A recent Japanese study looked at the effect of meal sequencing on 18 young, healthy women. Some ate their vegetables first while the remainder consumed carbohydrates first.

The researchers found that those who ate their vegetables first had lower insulin and blood sugar levels after their meal (postprandial blood sugar), even if they ate their meal faster.

The study team commented: “It is important to ‘eat vegetables first and carbohydrate last’ to ameliorate postprandial blood glucose and insulin even in fast eating.”

It is believed that fibre counteracts blood sugar spikes that occur after eating food such as pasta and white rice.

Registered dietician Carolyn Williams said: “We can’t discount that starting with veggies and getting that fibre in may cause you to eat overall less carbohydrates at the meal.

“It’s not necessarily the veggies themselves, but I think it’s the fibre in them that is probably making a difference.”

Another study in 2011 revealed that eating vegetables before carbohydrates at each meal helped people with type 2 diabetes improve their long-term blood sugar control.

In addition, a 2016 study found that this same order of eating delayed participants’ gastric emptying and boosted incretin secretion, which is the hormone that lets the body know when it is full.

Ms Williams said: “You could almost say your vegetables are like your own small form of Ozempic.

“They increased that GLP-1, and that’s part of what slows digestion and slows gastric emptying. When you slow gastric emptying, your carbohydrates aren’t going to be digested quite as quickly and aren’t going to rush into the bloodstream as quickly.”

Along with vegetables, whole grain pasta, nuts like almonds, beans, and legumes are also fibre-rich.

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