You’ve likely noticed that some foods keep you feeling full longer? While others leave you feeling snacky an hour later? (snacky- that’s a real word)
This can make it difficult to "stop eating when you feel full.” It gets a bit tricky if you're picking foods that aren't filling.
This concept is a phenomenon called satiety. It's the feeling of fullness, of being satisfied and satiated. It's is the opposite of hunger and appetite.
The satiety index is a rating of foods that have been tested for the satiating effect in a 240 calorie (1,000 kJ) portion size. The scale scores foods based on whether people feel extremely hungry, hungry, semi-hungry, no feeling, semi-satisfied, satisfied, or extremely satisfied. Similarly to the glycemic index, the response to white bread was set to be 100. Foods that are more filling have numbers higher than 100. Foods that are less filling have numbers lower than 100.
Characteristics of foods with a high satiety index
There are a few common characteristics of highly satiating foods.
- Foods that are more filling (i.e., have a high satiety index) tend to have more protein. Protein is considered to be more filling than either carbohydrates or fats.
- They also tend to have more fiber. Because fiber is not digested, it provides bulk. This bulk tends to help you feel full longer because it slows down emptying of the stomach and digestion time.
- Highly satiating foods tend to have more volume for the same amount of calories; this means they tend to take up more space with water or air.
- They tend to have less fat.
- Highly satiating foods are also generally whole and less processed.
Eating foods that have a higher satiety index will make you feel full longer, and therefore can help you to eat less overall.
This is a great strategy to use if you feel hungry all the time, or if you don’t have continuous access to food throughout the day (say, you’re in meetings for several hours back to back). Eating whole foods that keep you full is a great way to keep your energy up, and no get distracted by hunger and be tempted by unhealthy snacks.
What foods keep you feeling full for longer?
Some foods that score higher than white bread (100) on the satiety index are:
That means these foods help you feel full longer than eating white bread.
- Boiled potatoes (323);
- Fish (225);
- Oatmeal/Porridge (209);
- Oranges (202);
- Apples (197);
- Brown rice pasta (188);
- Beef steak (176);
- Baked beans (168);
- Eggs (150);
Some foods that score lower than white bread (100) on the satiety index are:
That means these foods make you feel less full than eating white bread.
- Ice cream (96);
- Chips (91);
- Yogurt (88);
- Peanuts (84);
- Mars bar (70:
- Doughnuts (68);
- Cake (65);
- Croissant (47).
In general, it’s a good idea to eat whole foods that are high in nutrients (think fruit and veggies) because they score higher than 100 on the satiety index. Keep this in mind the next time you’re tempted by something on the list that scores lower than 100. These can be satisfying in the moment, but can lower your energy (and your mood) when they leave you feeling hungry a while later.
Tip: Pairing foods together can boost their rating and satiety level. For example, eating fresh fruit paired with nuts, seeds or hemp hearts adds protein and some healthy fat to keep you full longer.
If you want to feel full and more satiated, choose foods from the first list that score more than 100.
The satiety index is a measure of how filling and satisfying food makes you feel. The higher the score, the fuller you feel. Eating foods that score higher on the satiety index can help reduce food intake.
Foods that are very satisfying (satiating) tend to be protein-rich, fiber-rich, lower in fat, whole, less processed foods. Things like boiled potatoes, fish, oats, fruit, meat, and legumes.
Foods that are not very satiating tend to be higher in carbohydrates, fat, and are more processed; things like ice cream, chips, doughnuts, cakes, and croissants.
If you want to feel full longer, then choose more foods that are highly satiating and fewer foods that are not.
Recipe (Highly satiating): Not your average boiled potatoes
2 lbs. mini potatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp. fresh chives (or 1 tsp dried)
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
½ Tbsp. fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
In large pot place potatoes, garlic, stock, salt & pepper. Cover and bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Check by piercing gently with a fork. Add more water if needed.
When done toss with herbs and drizzle with olive oil.
Serve & enjoy!