Can You Fill Up and Stay Satisfied? Protein, Fiber, Flavor May be Key

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • There seems to be increasing evidence that consuming lean proteins may help to increase thermogenesis (burning calories) and provide satiation.  There also seems to be evidence that when you eat adequate protein at one meal, you may eat less at the next meal.  Diets higher in protein may lead to weight loss and specifically, fat loss.  Still researchers caution that more studies are needed to clarify these findings.  And the types of proteins you choose is of significance – red meat at most meals will not support these current research findings.  Lean and plant-based protein consumption is the goal.

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    When you eat fiber and fiber-rich foods, the fiber seems to stimulate gut satiety hormones, which signal a feeling of fullness to the brain.  It’s important to note that not all fibers are created equal, and some of the fibers currently being added to foods may not instigate this phenomenon.  Again, more research is needed, but certainly foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds may have the kind of fiber that fills you up.  Fat can also be satiating, but it doesn’t act as quickly as fiber, so you may overeat high fat foods before finally receiving the signal of fullness.  Not a good practice if your goal is weight loss or simply maintaining your current weight.  Combining sweet and fat ingredients will not rival fiber-rich foods, when it comes to stimulating fullness.


    Researchers now know that there is also a phenomenon called “sensory-specific” satiety, which comes from the pleasure you receive as you begin to feel and chew foods in your mouth.  There’s no doubt that the pleasure you perceive when eating certain foods begins in the mouth, and leads to feeling fullness sooner.  But a lot of that perception may have to do with early childhood feedings and the particular memories associated with the eating of certain foods from a young age.  Most of us can’t tolerate eating too large a portion of pungently flavored foods, so flavor may also have an impact on satiety.


    Bottom line: Freshly cooked or prepared foods that are fresh and tasty, and contain a fair amount of lean protein and fiber may help you to maintain a balanced diet and assist in weight control.




    Amy Hendel is a health professional, journalist and host of Food Rescue, Simple Smoothies and What’s for Lunch? 

    Author of Fat Families, Thin Families and The 4 Habits of Healthy Families, she tweets health headlines daily #HealthGal1103.  Catch her guest appearances on Marie! on Hallmark and other local and national news and talk shows.




Published On: March 25, 2013