With increasing exposure to eating opportunities and postprandial conditions becoming dominant states, acute effects of meals are garnering interest. In this narrative review, meal components, combinations and course sequence were questioned vis-à-vis resultant postprandial responses, including satiety, glycemic, oxidative and inflammatory risks/outcomes vs. protective principles, with reference to the Mediterranean diet. Representative scientific literature was reviewed and explained, and corresponding recommendations discussed and illustrated. Starting meals with foods, courses and/or preloads high in innate/added/incorporated water and/or fibre, followed by protein-based courses, delaying carbohydrates and fatty foods and minimizing highly-processed/sweetened hedonic foods, would increase satiety-per-calorie vs. obesogenic passive overconsumption. Similarly, starting with high-water/fibre dishes, followed by high-protein foods, oils/fats, and delayed/reduced slowly-digested whole/complex carbohydrate sources, optionally closing with simpler carbohydrates/sugars, would reduce glycaemic response. Likewise, starting with foods high in innate/added/incorporated water/fibre/antioxidants, high monounsaturated fatty acid foods/oils, light proteins and whole/complex carbohydrate foods, with foods/oils low in n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and n-6:n-3 PUFA ratios, and minimal-to-no red meat and highly/ultra-processed foods/lipids, would reduce oxidative/inflammatory response. Pyramids illustrating representative meal sequences, from most-to-least protective foods, visually communicate similarities between axes, suggesting potential unification for optimal meal sequence, consistent with anti-inflammatory nutrition and Mediterranean diet/meal principles, warranting application and outcome evaluation.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited