Hunger can be one of your body’s strongest and most beneficial stimuli, it helps ensure that you consume enough calories for your needs. However, it also works against you when weight loss is your goal. You could easily lose weight just by eating less, but the less you eat or the longer you go without food, the hungrier you become, and the longer it takes your hunger to subside once you do begin to eat. This tends to lead to overeating, consuming extra calories and making weight loss very difficult.
As you know, the best way to end hunger is to eat. Eating provides satiety – a pleasant feeling of fullness and the corresponding reduction of hunger. But did you also know that some foods are better than others for satisfying your hunger? A baked potato, for example, will probably “fill you up” much better than a serving of chocolate or crisps that has the same number of calories.
Most people have heard of a thing called the glycemic index. This is the effect that a given food has on an individual’s blood glucose level. It is thought that lower GI foods will keep you fuller for longer as they are absorbed and dige
sted slower, have less of an impact upon blood glucose levels which may avoid the sharp rise and fall of blood glucose levels that are associated with large ‘hunger pangs’. The satiety index is a similar concept, however it is a direct measure of how long a particular food may keep you full for, thus might be a more relevant tool for weight loss. Conversely, if you are trying to gain weight i
t may also be a useless reference tool.
Foods that contain large amounts of fat, sugar, and/or starch have low Fullness Factors, and are much easier to overeat. Foods that contain large amounts of water, dietary fiber, and/or protein have the highest Fullness Factors. These high-FF foods, which include most vegetables, fruits such as oranges, apples and bananas, and lean meats such as steak, do a better job of satisfying your hunger.
By choosing foods that keep you fuller for longer, you’ll improve your chances of consuming fewer calories, minimise your hunger and increase the likelihood of shedding unwanted body fat.