Meals with High Satiety Levels
Think back to lazy Sunday afternoons, festivals and visits to Grandma. What was common in all these that make you recall them with fondness? The answer is that apart from great times with family, each occasion contained a delicious and fulfilling meal that filled not just your stomach but also your heart with joy. What is that feeling of fullness you get after a meal? It’s called satiety and it has very important implications for your health.
Our ancestors very rarely experienced satiety. Certainly, they could not expect it at every meal. The amount of food available to them was dependent on the quality of the harvest, and whatever they could hunt or forage. In stark contrast, we live in a food-rich environment. Today, a large section of the world’s population not only has food security but a blinding variety of food items to choose from. In addition, with the overproduction and marketing of packaged foods, it is very difficult to avoid unhealthy food choices. No one can be blamed for being attracted to packaged foods which are deliberately processed to make them delicious and addictive. We are overconsuming calories at every opportunity and this has led to rising levels of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. These illnesses can be avoided only if we take back control of what we eat and how much we eat. This brings us to the concepts of hunger and appetite, satiety and satiation. Although the two are used interchangeably, they are very different.
Hunger – When we are hungry, our stomachs growl, we feel faint and restless, and want something to eat immediately. Hunger is the sign that our body needs food. The feeling of hunger can be triggered by what you ate previously, how long ago you ate, and your level of physical activity and whether your body is craving certain nutrients.
Appetite – How many times have you seen an advertisement in which food played a part, or cooking videos on YouTube, and felt that you just had to eat them too? That is your appetite being triggered. Your body does not necessarily need the food, but the taste, aroma, and sight of food will tempt you to eat anyway. Also, other triggers like your emotional state, stress, social situations, etc. may compel you to eat whether or not you are hungry. As you guessed it, this might cause your body to intake more calories than required, with the result that you put on the flab.
Satiety – Satiety is the signal your stomach sends to your brain while eating, saying “do not eat again”. When you start eating to satisfy your hunger, after a point you will start feeling full. This is when you stop eating because you just cannot take another bite. That is satiety.
Satiation – Satiation helps to decide when to end your meal and prevents binge eating. It depends on how effective whatever you are eating is in suppressing your hunger for a period of time.
Why is satiety important?
Diet control is not the only way to control weight gain or reduce weight. Blind dieting can actually cause you to put on weight because the body receives signals that the next meal is uncertain. This causes it to load up on energy sources at every meal. A healthier alternative is to consume meals which have high satiety levels. If you have a meal that leaves you feeling full for longer periods of time, you are less likely to snack on unhealthy alternatives in the meantime. It also means you consume less food overall, and that keeps your weight in control. This is the science behind a high satiety meal.
How to ensure satiety at mealtimes?
- Eat slowly – Take your time at a meal. This gives time for signals to reach your brain from your stomach and prevents you from overeating.
- Be aware while eating – Note down foods that satisfy your hunger for longer periods of time and incorporate them in future meals too.
- Choose foods based on their energy density – You can eat large portions of foods that have very low or low energy density such as soups, most fruits, and vegetables, skim milk, salads, beans, legumes, and low-fat meat. Energy-dense foods should be minimized from the diet such as packaged snacks, red meat, cheese, full cream milk, and high fat desserts.
- Choose hunger, not emotions – Consciously eat only when you are hungry. Resist the tendency to have a snack when you are under stress. Also, be alert as to how much more you eat in social gatherings or mindlessly in front of the TV.
- Pick the right nutrients – Protein and fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, whole grains, salads, and fruits are high on the satiety scale. The body takes a long while to break down these nutrients, and they are also absorbed in a slower rate into the bloodstream. This means that you feel fuller for longer and feel hungry much later.
Which foods promote satiety?
- Boiled potatoes
- Cottage cheese
- Coconut/olive oil
- Plain yogurt
The concept of satiety has been around for ages. However, like all good things we recklessly abandoned in the name of the modern living, we only now understand its benefits. Satiety has been proven to be more effective than dieting. Hence, foods rich high Satiety content may promote weight-loss and help you gain lean mass. Hope you will incorporate satiety into your meals.
Good luck and healthy and happy living to you!