Satiety is the feeling of fullness after eating that suppresses the urge to eat for a period of time after a meal. If we feel full or ‘satiated’ after a meal, then we are likely to go much longer before we feel hungry and may eat less at the next meal. Below I provide useful dietary tips that will help make you feel fuller for longer. This especially will be beneficial to those wanting to lose weight.
Slow paced eating has been proven to improve satiety. For example, one study found that slow spaced eating increased fullness and decreased hunger ratings in overweight and obese participants¹.
Consume foods high in protein
- Foods high in protein include meats such as chicken, ham or beef, fish, eggs, beans, pulses and fish especially white fish.
- One proposed mechanism as to why protein increases satiety is due to its effects on food modulation. There are receptors called mu-opioid receptors found in the portal vein (which drains blood from the gut), that when stimulated, encourages us to eat more. Digested protein i.e. peptides are believed to block the MORs, which in turn blocks appetite.
Avoid liquid carbohydrate and foods high in fat
- It is especially important to avoid liquid carbohydrates such as sugar sweetened beverages as consuming carbohydrates in this form has been shown to be less satiating.
- The effects of fat on satiety are complicated. In a controlled environment, fats can have actually been found to cause satiety, especially medium chain fatty acids which are found in coconut and dairy products. However, in free living conditions, the presence of highly palatable foods, a characteristic of high-fat foods, could chronically activate the hedonic system which would promote higher appetite and more energy intake².
Consume high fibre foods
- Dietary fibre consists of nondigestible carbohydrates and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants. Such fibres have different physiological effects and provide a variety of health benefits, including satiety. They are thought to impact on satiation because of their properties of adding bulk (satiation) and producing viscosity (satiety).
- In addition, due to the chewy texture of fibre, more time spent chewing will also increase satiety.
- Not all dietary fibre has the same impact on satiety. Viscous fibres such as pectin (e.g. berries and apples), B-Glucan (e.g. oats and barley), have been found to be more satiating. This is because, they prolong the intestinal phase of nutrient digestion and absorption.
The figure below gives some simple food swaps to enhance satiety with fibre containing foods.
The power of Lycopene
- Lycopene makes tomatoes red and gives other orangey fruits and vegetables their colour. Processed tomatoes have the highest amounts of lycopene, but watermelon, pink grapefruit, and fresh tomatoes are also good sources.
- Lycopene may help people lower appetite hormones such as ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating peptide that plays a key role in the regulation of energy balance.
- Furthermore, a study by found that lycopene significantly decreased ghrelin levels, which in turn enhanced satiety³. However, much more research trials are needed to confirm the effectiveness of lycopene on satiety.