Satiety – Do You Feel Full Yet?
~ April 2011 No.238 ~
The human body is a complex machine which needs food to keep it running. The food we eat is used to produce energy that is used to keep us warm and also drives all of our metabolic functions. But how much should we eat each day?
There is a very sophisticated communication between our digestive system and our brains that tell us that we are empty, and we need to eat. We “feel hungry”. As we start eating, and our stomach starts to fill up, the amount and composition of the food in the stomach is quickly sensed and the information sent to the brain. At some point, we “feel full” or satiated; the urge to eat goes down and we normally stop eating. For a period of time after eating, we lose the urge to eat. So, are there foods that feel more filling, or foods that fill us up longer?
The study of the effects of foods or food ingredients on satiety is complex, because you are measuring someone’s feelings. In spite of these challenges, a satiety index has been reported that gives a numerical score to how full you feel after eating various foods. The index sets a slice of white bread at an index score of 100. The higher the index number the more full the subjects felt up to 120 minutes after eating the test food. Examining the index of foods tested showed that protein has an important satiety effect. Fat in foods, because of the way and the time it takes to be digested, does not satisfy satiety as well, but foods high in fiber do.
The traditional “Western” type diet contains highly palatable, low fiber, high fat and high sugar foods which are less satiating than less processed traditional plant foods. Adding satiating foods to the diet may be a way to control total calorie intake. But people who are depending on the satiety effect of foods to cut down on the amount they eat may be disappointed, because the urge to eat is controlled by other things besides the stomach – brain satiety messages. How often have you had a second slice of pie – just to please the cook?
|Red delicious apple:||197|
|whole wheat pasta:||188|
|Vanilla ce cream:||96||Less filling|
|strawberry fruit yogurt:||88|
|iced chocolate cake:||65|
|1 240-calorie portions|
A satiety index of common foods
Eur J Clin Nutr 1995,49:675-90