Many people want to lose weight, but since most diets leave you feeling so hungry very few actually reach their goals. How do those that lose weight and keep it off get there?
Do they just suffer all the time or is there a secret that you can use to keep hunger under control when you are dieting?
The answer is actually pretty easy:
Even though what matters, in the end, is a constant calorie deficit, there are foods that are better for this than others. Better, because they will leave you feeling less hungry and make it easier to stick to a diet long term.
So, what are these foods and what makes them more filling?
The Satiety Index Explained
The best place to start is by looking at the so-called satiety index. The index was developed at the University of Sydney in the 90s to answer what foods would keep people full the longest after consuming the same amount of calories.
For their index the researchers gave out 240 calorie servings of 38 different foods. Afterwards, the students were asked how full they felt every 15 minutes for two hours.
With this data the researchers were able to rank the foods in regards to their ability to satisfy hunger. Their baseline was 100, which was equated to the satisfying effect of white bread.
Foods that scored higher than 100 were more filling and foods that scored were considered less filling. I will now show you a list of the top 10 of the satiety index to give you an idea of what the highest ranked foods are.
TOP 10 Satiety Index
Potatoes, boiled 323%
Ling fish 225%
Brown pasta 188%
Baked beans 168%
Whole meal bread 157%
On the other hand, the lowest rated foods were:
Bottom 5 Satiety Index
Mars candy bar 70%
With this in mind, does that mean your diet should only include foods that are high on the satiety index and avoid all others?
No, of course not!
Keep in mind that the index measured a limited number of foods (only 38) and is not supposed to be taken as a grocery list. You will most likely not consume the foods in the same quantities in your everyday life.
For example, people consider a normal serving of grapes to be a lot smaller than a normal serving of beef.
Also, while the index gives us a rough idea of foods to choose from when you are hungry, more important are the studies underlying results.
What The Most Filling Foods Look Like
Along with other studies on the subject we know that filling foods usually look like this:
– They are high in protein. Studies show that protein is the most filling macronutrient, followed by unrefined carbs, followed by fat
– They are high in fiber, which slows down digestion and increases digestion time
– They are high in volume, meaning that they are low in calories for the space they occupy in your stomach (vegetables and fruits are a good example)
– And lastly, they are low in energy density. This means that a food is low in calories for its weight. These foods usually contain a lot of water and fiber but are low in fat.
Foods that fulfill these requirements are proteins like meat, fish, eggs, beans or unrefined carbs like vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
At this point you might think that fat should be avoided at all cost because it provides little fullness while being full of calories.
Even though this is true for most processed foods like croissants, healthy natural fats have their place in a well-rounded diet.
Because fat slows down digestion and can enhance the satiety effect of certain foods.
For example, the combination of protein and fat in a steak makes you feel full for quite some time because the protein provides a lot of satiety while the fat slows down digestion.
So to end this post, if you want to design a weight loss diet that will keep you full longer, go with the food categories I mentioned before.
Pretty much all of them are whole, single-ingredient foods instead of refined and processed junk.
Focusing on them will fill you up with fewer calories, which leads to faster results and makes it a lot easier to stick to your meal plan.