1. Are You “Satisfied” During Dieting?
“In all pleasure there is satiety.” – George Hakewill
Satiety means to feel satiated, or, in simple terms, full or satisfied. So, with that in mind, can you relate to the above quote? We sure hope you’re nodding and saying yes. When you think about it, isn’t life more enjoyable when you feel full instead of hungry? Who wants to be that guy or gal with their stomach growling like there’s a volcano about to erupt?
To feel satisfied, you actually have to eat throughout the day! It can be hard to find time to eat and eat well during the day. We get it, life can be stressful, we’re all on the go, we don’t have time to cook, we may not know what to eat, etc. These are really just excuses. By not eating throughout the day you’re doing your entire body, especially your brain a disservice. So, how long can you stand being hungry before you start eating again? Well, only you can really determine that.
2. Understanding Hunger and Satiety While in a Calorie Deficit
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 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! It’s one of the most enjoyable things in life and pretty important from a physiological stand point. So, it’s essential to eat and cure those hunger pangs and give your body the nutrients it needs to operate and function properly throughout the day. Being in a caloric deficit is already bad enough, why make it more difficult and feel hungry all day long?
3. 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’ve often heard people claim that you have to give up potatoes to lose weight. Funny thing is they never have any data or proven references to back up these claims. Think about this, 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 Glycemic Index (GI) carbs that are fast-digesting breakdown faster in the blood stream and store as glycogen more quickly. 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.
Also, make sure to get whole protein sources instead of liquid. Protein is the food with the highest Thermic Effect (TEF) of all the macronutrients. It’s energetically costly, so make sure to ditch the protein shakes and load up on high quality lean animal sources for your protein so your satiety levels are elevated throughout the day.
“A study 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)
4. Can Satiety Be predicted?
Sure it’s that popular hormone we call Ghrelin that many of us dislike. Ghrelin is known as the “hunger hormone” because it stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage. If we could predict satiety, we’d select foods that satisfy our hunger and contain fewer calories. These foods would greatly improve our ability to create meals that are effective for weight loss. Some research studies have recommended consuming 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 great additions to your diet. We don’t suggest cutting out certain food groups or foods that you enjoy. This is a recipe for disaster including 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 in protein. Whole foods such as complex carbs, veggies, fruits, quality fat sources and lean meats do a better job of satisfying hunger, especially while in a caloric deficit trying to get lean and ripped.
5. Best Food Options to Maximize Satiety Levels While in a Caloric Deficit
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
• Brown Pasta
• Baked Beans
• Whole Wheat Bread
• White Rice
• Brown Rice
As you can see it has quite the variety and the list still continues, but you get the idea of which foods are more filling than others.
6. Wrapping This All Up
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 foods and see which foods are more filling for you. We’re not telling you to splurge and down a bunch of chocolate or candy. We’re simply saying do this experiment while hitting your macronutrient ranges and micronutrients, and enjoy life. Once you really figure out what foods keep you full throughout the day, it’s a thing of beauty. You won’t always be thinking about your next meal, you’e less likely to pick at foods which hinder weight loss progress, and you’ stop depriving yourself of foods you love. Being in a caloric deficit doesn’t have to be torture. Be smart about the choices you make on a daily basis to elevate satiety and enjoy the caloric deficit as best as possible while getting lean and ripped!
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.https://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2010/12/interview-with-chris-voigt-of-20.html
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, CSCS, CPT, BA, also known as the “Dynamic Duo” operate a world class online training and nutrition consulting business “Dynamic Duo Training.” They’re also fitness and nutrition writers, Diet Doc permanent weight loss coaches, and exclusive Team K Peaking Directors that love helping people reach their goals. Their philosophy is “No excuses, only solutions.”