Can you relate to this? You wake up, splash some water on your face, your stomach starts growling because you’ve fasted all through the night, and all you can think about is eating something to cure those hunger pangs.

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 do when you hear hunger pangs like that is just look straight forward with your eyes widened like you saw a ghost and say to yourself “I’m HANGRY.”

We all should be aware that satiety means to feel satiated aka feel full.

By accomplishing this feeling, one must eat throughout the day. But, unfortunately, with how society works now, there is a 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. So, the question becomes, how long can you stand being hungry before you start eating again? Well, only you can determine that.

Let’s delve into why it’s important to understand satiety, why we overeat, foods that are high in satiety indexes, and some practical applications you can use right away when you are dieting.

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.

What a lot of people don’t realize is when you diet down for a long period and lose a significant amount of body fat, your body starts to develop metabolic adaptations.

It’s a self-defense mechanism our bodies react to and it’s part of our biology.

The imperative thing we must understand is to mitigate these adaptations and not let them run loose like a wildfire.

One of those metabolic adaptations that can run like wildfire is your satiety signals (feeling full or not) being shot and your ghrelin levels (hunger hormone) being elevated and your leptin levels (feeling full hormone) being decreased.2

And in the real world, while dieting, what this leads to is the hungrier you are, the more likely it is that you’ll overeat, thus consuming extra calories and the possibility of binging and that can quickly inhibit or reverse your weight loss progress.

As we mentioned earlier, the only way to end hunger and feel more 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 standpoint.

However, there are some ways to manipulate not feeling satiated, but look at it like a band-aid and not a long-term fix.

Why We Overeat


Our bodies have these peptides and hormones located in the central hypothalamus (brain), peripheral gastrointestinal tract (stomach), pancreas, and fat cells, where all four of these regulate appetite.

Some of these we can control through strategies we will talk about at the end and some of these, you have no control over.

Here’s what we mean:

  1. Homeostatic Eating- Eating because of perceived energy (calorie) need for the body (circuits in the brain that regulate energy availability in body and circuits are activated when they think you have low energy stores and will drive hunger, interest in food, and thinking of foods)
  2. Non-Homeostatic Eating- Eating despite the fact that there’s no energy (calories) need by the body (eating just because you want it, food tastes good, dessert is there, social situation, soda or alcohol for pleasure, eating on weekends, eating because more food is around you, or anxiety)

The non-homeostatic pathways can override the homeostatic system very easily, increasing the desire to eating palatable energy-dense food (high fat, high sugar, and processed foods) even when energy stores and food supply are abundant.

This is especially important to understand the importance of satiety and to be able to have tools to manipulate hunger.

Are All Foods High in Satiation Levels?

Some foods are better than others for satisfying your hunger.

For example, a baked potato, 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 to lose weight. Funny thing is they never have any data or proven references to back up these bogus claims.

Quick story…If we can remember, we heard LL Cool J one time say on a talk show the magic to him getting a six pack was cutting out potatoes and bread. Imagine how many people ate that up without even questioning that bizarre claim and went out and cut those foods out of their diets.

Okay, back to why you shouldn’t cut out potatoes.

Chris Voigt, head of Washington State Potato Commission, went on a 60-day potato the 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.

Some foods fill your stomach faster and/or take longer to digest in the gut fully, and therefore do a better job of holding off hunger.

For example, simple carbs that are fast digesting, break down faster into the bloodstream and get stored faster as glycogen (stored carbs in muscle, liver, and brain) but get depleted quickly. As opposed to complex carbs that take longer to break down in the bloodstream, will take a bit longer to be stored as glycogen but will stay replenished longer, and will keep your satiety levels much higher throughout a day.

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.8

Having trouble figuring out how many calories you need? Use our IIFYM flexible dieting calculator to figure out how many calories and macronutrients your body need to help with satiety.

Can Satiety Be Predicted?

To answer the above question, sure it’s that popular hormone we mentioned earlier, called “Ghrelin” that many of us dislike and get in that HANGRY mode and need a snickers bar to snap back to reality.

All kidding aside, if there were 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 consuming foods with low caloric densities (foods that have the lowest total calories per gram).

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, such as:

  • Complex and starchy carbohydrates (Rice, beans, oats, potatoes)
  • Most vegetables
  • Fruits that contain a lot of water (oranges, watermelon, grapes)
  • Quality fat sources like nuts, almond/peanut butter, animal fats, not oils since they are not very filling
  • High-quality protein sources that take longer to digest (steak, eggs, chicken, dairy sources)

What Are the Best Food Options to Maximize Satiety Levels?


The following list of foods was adapted from a 1995 study by Holt and colleagues.

  • Potatoes, boiled
  • Ling Fish
  • Oatmeal/Porridge
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Brown Pasta
  • Beef
  • Baked Beans
  • Grapes
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Popcorn
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • White Rice
  • Brown Rice
  • All-Bran

As you can see it is quite the variety, and the list continues, but we feel you get the idea of which foods are more filling than others.

Practical Applications and 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.

Once you 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 or depriving yourself of certain foods you want.

Oh yea, and you won’t be that person where everyone can hear your stomach growling and in HANGRY mode.

Make sure to utilize the following practical applications when you are dieting and to be as satiated as possible:

  • Incorporate a lot of the more satiating food sources from the above list to your diet
  • Try having a full glass of water before, during, and after each of your meals
  • Try having a large salad before some of your daily meals to feel more satiated
  • Try chewing on gum or having coffee or tea in-between meals to curb your appetite
  • First thing in the morning when you wake up, have a scoop of whey protein, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese to hold you off for a couple of hours
  • If you can get away with it, try having 3 larger and evenly balanced meals per day instead of 5-6 smaller meals
  • If you feel you are going to binge due to being hungry and can’t tolerate it, have a high-quality protein snack such as beef jerky, egg whites, deli meat, a scoop of whey protein, yogurt, or cottage cheese


  1. Anderson, G.H., and Woodend, D., “Effect of glycemic carbohydrate on short-term satiety and food intake,” Nutr Rev 2003.
  2. Maclean et al. Biology’s response to dieting: the impetus for weight regain. 2011
  3. Sumithran, P. Proietto, J. The defense of bodyweight: A physiological basis for weigh regain after weight loss. 2013
  4. Sumithran, P. Proietto, J. The defense of bodyweight: A physiological basis for weigh regain after weight loss. 2013; Kenny, PJ. Reward mechanisms in obesity.  New insights and future directions. 2011
  5. Voight, Chris., “20 potatoes a day,” 1995. 
  6. Holt, SH., Miller, JC., Petocz, P., Farmakalidis, E., “A Satiety index of common foods,” Eur J Clin Nutr 1995.
  7. Whitney E, Rolfes S. Understanding Nutrition. 13th edition.  2013
  8. Holt, SH., Miller, JC., Petocz, P., Farmakalidis, E., “A Satiety index of common foods,” Eur J Clin Nutr 1995.
  9. Porrini, M., “Effects of physical and chemical characteristics of food on specific and general satiety,” Phys Behav 1995.
  10. Holt, SH., Miller, JC., Petocz, P., Farmakalidis, E., “A Satiety index of common foods,” Eur J Clin Nutr 1995.