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Use the satiety index to influence hunger and fullness


Satiety: the feeling or state of being sated. To satisfy (a desire or an appetite) to the full.

A study was conducted on the satiety factor of common foods (Holt, 1995). Researchers used white bread as a “control” food to compare other foods to and gave it the satiety index figure of 100.

The participants were fed fixed calorie portions of 38 different foods and their perceived hunger post feeding was recorded.

FIGURE 1. SATIETY INDEX (SI) SCORES based on the ratio of reported fullness 2 hours after a test meal as compared to the group average values after a meal of plain white bread (x axis). The differing lengths of the blue bars represent inter individual variations in fullness to the foods.

The results of the study indicated that satiety is most strongly related to the WEIGHT of the food consumed.

In other words, the foods that weigh the most, satisfy our hunger best, regardless of the number of calories they contain.

However, higher amounts of certain nutrients, such as protein and dietary fibre, also appeared to improve satiety.

Take note of some of the highest performing foods in each group such as popcorn, porridge oats, fish and potatoes. Potatoes being the highest of all tested.

These foods are all composed of a single ingredient and have a plainer taste.

We can use this information to help guide our food choices when entering a phase of intentional caloric deficit or surplus.

During caloric deficit we could opt to build our meals with more satiating foods and if needed during a surplus could minimise the inclusion of these foods.

From observing both graphs you will note that the foods that scored lowest on satiety were more processed and higher in salt, sugar, fat or a combination of these, adding to their palatability.

When dieting try choosing mostly single ingredient, plainer tasting foods.

Try choosing foods that are higher in protein and fibre.

Try choosing heavier foods that contain water or absorb water during cooking such as fruits, vegetables, potatoes, rice, lentils and pasta.

Try choosing foods that are less palatable and lower in sugar, salt and fat.

If trying to gain weight overtime and struggling with low appetite/ always feeling full flip these suggestions in reverse.

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