Satiety – The Feeling Full Factor
Satiety is somewhat of a holy grail when it comes to weight loss and maintenance.
We all know what it feels like to be satisfied by the food that we eat and after a good meal it should be some time before we start to think about eating again. But we all know the flipside of that as well, eating something and then feeling like heading back to the kitchen, for just a little something, not long afterwards. Feeling satisfied by our food will prevent us from overeating or making bad food choices, an essential factor in maintaining a healthy diet and weight.
Everybody at some stage or another has ignored the feeling of satiety and taken a plunge into gluttony. This is perfectly fine on an occasional basis, after all cake was put on this planet for a reason, but when it becomes uncontrolled problems arise. Not recognising when we’re full gives us ample time to overeat during meals and return to the biscuit tin time and time again in between them.
For many of us, knowing when we have had ample food and stopping eating is an ability that has been lost somewhere along the way. But there are plenty of ways that you can relearn it and get more satisfaction out of your food.
It won’t come as any surprise to you that certain foods make us feel full faster and for longer than others. As a general rule, the more fibre, water or protein a food contains the more satisfied you will feel from it and the opposite is true of fat. For example, if you eat an apple, it will put a dent in your hunger but if you drink a glass of apple juice, it won’t make much of a difference. Protein foods such as meat and eggs are harder to digest so will keep you from nibbling or overeating. A study showed that people who had eggs for breakfast felt fuller and ate less for lunch than people who ate the same amount of calories in the form of bagels instead.
Research has shown that when you reduce the portion size of your food, you naturally eat less without feeling any hungrier. The opposite of this is also true, if you increase the portion size, you will eat more, but not feel any fuller. Obviously there are extremes in this. If you were to eat significantly more or less than normal you would expect to notice some difference; however we can make small adjustments to the amount of food we eat without going hungry. Research suggests that we can reduce our portions by as much as 25% without it affecting our appetite.
How often do you eat in front of the telly or while working on a computer? Tempting though this is, being distracted during meals makes us overeat. It seems when we are distracted by the world around us while we’re eating, we don’t notice when we’ve had enough and our inner pig takes over.
Women in one study were given Jaffa cakes and left in silence or distracted by a computer game while they ate them. Unlike the women who were left alone, the women who were distracted by the game reported feeling less satisfied by the biscuits and that they still wanted to eat the other foods which were on offer.
Other research showed that when watching television, people ate more and faster. This resulted in them eating 36% more calories in the form of pizza and 71% more in macaroni and cheese.
Think about it
Thinking about what you had for lunch can make you eat less for dinner. Researchers found that when people were told to think about what they had eaten for lunch earlier that day, even though their hunger or feeling of fullness didn’t change, they ate less than the people who weren’t given any specific instructions.
Stay in the dark
This might cause some puzzled looks at your next dinner party but being blind folded also improves our satiety level. When researchers blind folded obese participants, they found that they ate 24% less without feeling any less full.