One piece of advice often given to dieters is to eat until you reach satiety — that is, until you feel full. The problem is that different foods can have vastly different effects on hunger and satiety. For example, 200 calories of chicken breast may make you feel full, but it could take 500 calories of cake to have the same effect.
Thus, weight loss isn’t just about eating until you feel full. It’s about choosing the right foods that make you feel full for the least amount of calories.
What Makes a Food Filling?
Many factors determine a food’s satiety value, or how filling it is relative to its calorie content. The calorie/satiety ratio is measured on a scale called the satiety index. The satiety index also measures a food’s ability to make you feel full, reduce your hunger and lower your calorie intake over the course of the day. Some foods simply do a better job at satisfying hunger and preventing overeating than others.
Filling foods tend to have the following qualities:
- High volume: Studies indicate that the volume of food consumed strongly influences satiety. When foods contain a lot of water or air, the volume is increased without adding calories.
- High protein: Studies show protein is more filling than carbs and fat. Diets higher in protein increase satiety and lead to lower overall calorie intake than lower-protein diets do.
- High fiber: Fiber provides bulk and helps you feel full. It also slows the movement of food through your digestive tract, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
- Low energy density: This means that a food is low in calories for its weight. Foods with low energy density can help you feel full for fewer calories.
So if you eat foods with the above characteristics, then you can usually eat them until fullness without getting in too many calories.
Here are 12 filling foods you can eat a lot of without getting fat.