I used to feel hunger All. The. Time. It was so frustrating, because I was trying to lose weight and watch how much I ate. There were days when I’d eat a good lunch (or so I thought) and be hungry within minutes of finishing. Ever felt like that? Well, if you’re in the same boat but want to feel full longer, I have some amazing tips for you!
The Blood Sugar Story
Really, to feel full longer, it ALL boils down to blood sugar. When you eat foods that don’t pack a punch (and I’ll talk about this later), you will be hungry all the time. You will get the munchies mid-afternoon. You will be unable to control yourself around food.
Because certain foods spike your blood sugar, which causes insulin secretion. Insulin moves as much of that blood sugar out into cells (muscles, brain, liver, fat) to keep the blood sugar stable. The only problem is that this spike in blood sugar also causes a really fast decrease in energy. And your body is left feeling hunger and cravings soon after eating.
Satiety is the term used to describe your fullness after a meal. It’s how satisfied your body is, how happy and comfortable it feels.
To feel full longer, you should choose foods that are rated high for satiety!
This index is a rating of foods that have been tested for satiety in a 240 calorie portion size. Kind of like the glycemic index, this satiety index is a scale measuring how full or not full people feel after eating foods. And there is, of course, a baseline food. In this case, it’s 240 calories worth of white bread, which has a satiety index of 100.
Foods on the index higher than 100 are considered more satiating. Foods lower than 100 are, of course, going to make you feel hungry faster.
This isn’t the most scientific scale, though, so you always need to listen to your body. But, essentially it was developed by asking a bunch of people to rate how full they felt after eating certain foods.
Feel Full Longer Using the SI
Most satiating foods have common characteristics.
You already know that protein is one food to include in every meal and snack to feel full longer. Protein takes a long time to digest and is considered more filling than carbohydrates or fat.
Fibre is also common in highly satiating foods. Fibre provides bulk and slows down digestion through the intestinal tract.
Most satiating foods are low in unhealthy fats. Keep in mind that eating healthy fats can help you feel full longer if your body has become adapted to that type of diet. Healthy fats help improve blood sugar balance.
And, of course, most foods the help you feel full longer are whole, unprocessed ones!
Where to Start?
If you’re still not sure what foods to eat to feel full longer, I’ve got you covered!
Fish, gluten-free unprocessed oats, oranges, apples, steak, beans and legumes, brown rice pasta and eggs are great choices.
Avoid chips, candy, most chocolate, processed grains and snacks, and soft drinks. Even pastries, bagels, doughnuts, muffins and cereals are really bad choices if you want to feel full longer. Yogurt is also a food that tends to be low on the satiety index too.
If you’re trying to feel full longer, ditch the processed and sugary foods first. As many as you can.
Add more protein and fibre to your diet from lean animal protein, legumes, and low-carb vegetables.
Avoid just piling on the protein though! Too much protein can lead to fat gain. The average woman needs 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. That works out to about 20% of you daily calories coming from protein.
And, as always, experiment! Try new types of protein, vary your diet regularly, and see what works best for you!