“Satiety closely follows the greatest pleasures.” - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Satiety is a wonderful concept to lead your nutritional choices. Instead of selecting foods based on caloric content, consider what will make you feel full and satisfied. You also want food that makes you feel good—confident and well nourished. Eating for satiety avoids the extreme restrictions of most fad diets, making it easy to enact a long-lasting lifestyle change. That also means it is easier to lose or maintain weight. This is what makes satiety so empowering for those who have struggled with weight issues in the past.
There is one aspect of satiety that may take a little time to master, and that is the concept of comfortable fullness. Too often “fullness” is confused with a bloated belly that feels like it’s about to burst—the opposite of comfort. Other times, we restrict our calories so much that we actually slow our metabolism and trigger binge eating later in the day. Satiety allows more consistent balance by respecting your body’s natural hunger cues.
“While traditional diet culture often overlooks satiety, getting in touch with your body's own cues is a great way to establish healthier eating habits for life,” says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute (Health Topical, 2019). Becoming more mindful and checking in with ourselves can go a long way in learning to eat to satiety and not beyond.
Many things affect your satiety, not just food volume. For example, which foods you choose to consume, how fast you eat, certain hormones, and your overall mood can all affect how you feel after a meal. On a typical diet, you might just count calories. Perhaps you can tally up the same number of calories in a small sandwich and a handful of chips compared to a large serving of salmon with steamed broccoli and a whole baked potato. You might be tempted to go with that first option, but which will leave you feeling satisfied until your next meal?
Satiety throws counting out the window and reaches for quality. To boost satiety, focus on eating whole vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains, and lean protein in each meal. Legumes are also a smart choice. Consume regular, filling meals to limit between-meal snacking. Protein, fats, and fiber allow that sense of fullness and satiety to last longer.
Speaking of time, slow down and enjoy your food. When we eat in a rush or feel stressed at meal time, we tend to eat too much and end up with digestion discomforts. Rushing also slows your metabolism. Your gut works best when relaxed! So be mindful and take a nice break for each meal. It’s better for your emotional wellbeing too.
One more great tip is to flavor your food with a bit of spice or hot pepper. Studies show that we eat spicy foods more slowly, allowing time for satiation to register. After all, it takes your brain about 20 minutes to receive a message that your stomach is full.
Early research on satiety suggests that eating this way increases the efficiency of a hormone called leptin—which is responsible for signaling fullness. When leptin levels remain high over time, you are less likely to engage in bad habits like snacking out of boredom. That means it becomes even easier to stay on track throughout the day.
So, the goal is to leave each meal feeling comfortably full, well-nourished and energized. This is satiety. Choose your meals based on these three goals. It will help you maintain a healthy diet long term, aiding weight loss and weight management without the typical feelings of restriction. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
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What To Remember:Satiety is the key to easy weight loss and long-term weight management.Become more mindful of your natural hunger cues.Choose whole foods that leave you feeling well-nourished and satisfied.
Sources:Rebello, Greenway & Dhurandhar. (November, 2014). Functional foods to promote weight loss and satiety. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25159561/
Schmidt, Darren. (April, 2020). Video: Satiety is Key!... For Long Term Healthy Weight Loss. https://youtu.be/wUV2vPvwe4E
Skarnulis, Leanna. (2018). Satiety: The New Diet Weapon. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/satiety-new-diet-weapon
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