Understanding the Importance of Satiety
I guess some people took my comment that I don’t include nearly enough nutrition content on this site to heart. The “Dynamic Duo” (Chris and Eric Martinez) are back, and with some quality information concerning the topic of satiety.
We’ve all been around someone who’s been “hangry” before. You know… hungry and angry. And it’s not pleasant. Borderline dangerous if you ask me.
How can we combat this phenomena? Read on to find out!
“In all pleasure there is satiety.” –George Hakewill
In all honesty how many of you can relate to the above quote?
We sure hope many of you are nodding your heads and saying yes. When you stop and think about it, isn’t life more enjoyable when you feel satiated and not hungry? Who wants to be that guy or gal with their stomach growling like there is a volcano about to erupt? We certainly do not; all you can really do when you hear hunger pangs like that is just look straight forward with your eyes widened like you saw a ghost.
We all should be aware that satiety means to feel satiated (aka feel full).
By accomplishing this feeling, one must actually eat throughout the day!
With how society works now there is quote on quote no time to eat right? We get it, life can be stressful, we are all on the go, we don’t have time to cook, we don’t know what to eat, etc.
These are just excuses at the end of the day. By not eating throughout the day you are just doing your entire body and brain a disservice. So, the question becomes, how long can you stand being hungry before you start eating again? Well, only you can really determine that.
Understanding Hunger and Satiety
Hunger is one of your body’s strongest and most beneficial stimuli, it helps ensure you consume enough calories for your needs. It also works against you when you’re trying to lose weight. You could easily lose weight just by eating less, but the less that you eat or the longer you postpone eating, the hungrier you become, and the longer it takes your hunger to subside once you do begin to eat. (1)
Typically the hungrier you are, the more likely it is that you’ll overeat, consuming extra calories that can quickly inhibit or reverse your weight loss progress.
As we mentioned earlier, the only way to end hunger and feel satiated is to eat. Yes eat, which is one of the most enjoyable things to do in life and pretty important from a human physiological stand point. With that said, our main point here is eat and cure those awful hunger pangs and give your body the nutrients it needs to operate and function properly throughout the day.
Are All Foods High in Satiation Levels?
Some foods are better than others for satisfying your hunger. A baked potato, for example, will most likely “fill you up” much more than a serving of candy that has the same number of calories.
We have often heard people claim that you have to cut potatoes out in order to lose weight. Funny thing is they never have any data or proven references to back up these narrow minded claims.
For example, Chris Voigt, head of Washington State Potato Commission, went on a 60 day potato only diet and lost 21 lbs while improving his blood lipid profile and reducing his fasting glucose levels. Still think you can’t lose weight while eating potatoes? Another study found that potatoes were far more satiating than all 38 common foods tested, including protein dominant foods. (2)
Some foods fill your stomach faster and/or remain in your stomach longer, and therefore do a better job of holding off hunger. For example, Higher GI carbs, which are fast digesting breakdown faster into the blood stream and store faster in your glycogen levels. As opposed to complex carbs that take longer to break down will keep your satiety levels much higher throughout the course of a day along with keeping your blood sugar levels stable.
In another study which was conducted by Suzanna Holt of the University of Sydney, fed human test subjects fixed calorie portions of 38 different foods, and then recorded the subject’s perceived hunger following each feeding.
The results of Holt’s study, like many similar studies, indicate that satiety is most strongly related to the weight of the food consumed. In other words, the foods that weigh the most satisfy our hunger best, regardless of the number of calories they contain.
However, higher amounts of certain nutrients, such as protein and dietary fiber, also appear to improve satiety. (3)
Can Satiety Be Predicted?
Sure it’s that popular hormone we call “Ghrelin” that many of us dislike.
All kidding aside, if there was a way of predicting satiety, we would be able to select foods that satisfied our hunger, but contained fewer calories. These foods would greatly improve our ability to create meals that were effective for weight loss. Some research studies have mentioned to consume foods with low caloric densities (foods that have the lowest total calories per gram). (4)
We feel caloric density alone is not a reliable predictor of satiety, and it overlooks many enjoyable foods that would make awesome additions to your diet. The last thing we would ever suggest is to cut out certain food groups or foods that people enjoy. This is a recipe for disaster, possible binge eating occurrences, eating disorders, and more.
The best way to predict satiety is to have foods that contain large amounts of water, dietary fiber, and are high and rich in protein. Whole foods such as complex carbs, veggies, fruits, quality fat sources, and lean meats do a better job of satisfying your hunger.
Best Food Options to Maximize Satiety Levels are?
This list of foods was adapted from Holt et al. (5) The foods are listed from most filling to least filling:
- Potatoes, boiled
- Ling Fish
- Oatmeal/Porridge (<—- Tony’s personal fav!)
- Brown Pasta
- Baked Beans
- Whole Wheat Bread
- White Rice
- Brown Rice
As you can see it is quite the variety and the list still continues, but we feel you get the idea of which foods are more filling than others.
Wrapping This All Up
As we mentioned earlier, isn’t life more enjoyable when you feel satiated and not hungry and deprived of food?
We hope this article cleared up some confusion about satiety and what foods are more satiating than others.
The bottom line here is pretty much trial and error. Experiment with different food sources and see what foods are more filling for you. Of course we are not saying to go out and splurge and try a bunch of chocolate or candy. We are simply saying do this experiment all while hitting your macronutrient ranges and micronutrients and enjoy life. If you are confused about macronutrients, we suggest you read this very informative article on FLEXIBLE DIETING.
Once you really figure out what food sources keep you full throughout the day, it is a thing of beauty because you are not always thinking about when your next meal is, you are less likely to pick at foods which will hinder weight loss progress, and depriving yourself from certain foods you want.
Oh yea, and you won’t be that person everyone can hear your stomach growling.
1.) Anderson, G.H., and Woodend, D., “Effect of glycemic carbohydrate on short-term satiety and food intake,” Nutr Rev 2003.
2.) Voight, Chris., “20 potatoes a day,” 1995. http://20potatoesaday.com/
3.) Holt, SH., Miller, JC., Petocz, P., Farmakalidis, E., “A Satiety index of common foods,” Eur J Clin Nutr 1995.
4.) Porrini, M., “Effects of physical and chemical characteristics of food on specific and general satiety,” Phys Behav 1995.
5.) Holt, SH., Miller, JC., Petocz, P., Farmakalidis, E., “A Satiety index of common foods,” Eur J Clin Nutr 1995.
About the Authors
Chris and Eric Martinez, CISSN, CPT, BA, also known as the “Dynamic Duo” operate a world class personal training and online training business “Dynamic Duo Training,” They’re also fitness and nutrition writers, fitness models, and coaches that love helping people reach their goals. Their philosophy is “No excuses, only solutions.”
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