The main role of food is to satisfy hunger and to provide essential energy, nutrients and other substances for growth and the maintenance of health.
However hunger also works against us when we try to lose weight: the less that we eat or the longer we postpone eating, the hungrier we become. As a consequence, people dieting are more likely to overeat, consuming extra calories that can quickly slow or reverse their weight loss.
Much of what we choose to eat is influenced by the palatability of foods, including the taste, smell and texture, as well as the social setting. But do all of us know that some foods are better than others for satisfying our hunger?
Some foods can more easily contribute to the feeling of fullness (satiety) than others, and this is referred to as their "satiating power": these foods in fact fill the stomach faster and/or remain in the stomach longer, therefore do a better job of holding off hunger. The actual components of the meal and the temperature of the food can also influence how quickly the stomach empties and feelings of fullness.
Suzanna Holt and her fellow researchers at the University of Sydney (The Satiety Index of Common Foods) studied 38 common foods and their "fullness factor": during the study both men and women subjects consumed foods with equal calorie contents and their feelings of fullness were recorded every 15 minutes for 2 hours.
The results of Holt's study indicate 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, highest satiating power was found with high levels of protein, dietary fibre and water and low satiating power was related to higher fat foods.
Fruit and vegetables-especially boiled potatoes-proved to have high satiating values, whereas bakery products like cakes, croissants and biscuits were the least satiating foods.
Protein-rich foods (fish, meat, baked beans, lentils and eggs) and carbohydrate-rich foods (pasta, rice, wholegrain breads and cereals) were among the most satiating foods.
The Fullness Factor can also be calculated for liquids, including soups and drinks. Most liquid foods have above average Fullness Factors, because of their high water content. However low viscosity liquids (such as water, juice, or soft drinks) will empty from stomach quickly, and may leave one hungry again in a relatively short time.
So... will you choose a couple of cookies or a basket full of berries? I'll go for the second and I won't lose a very good flavor!!!
Fullness Factors (FF) for Common Foods
first in the list are more filling per calorie foods,the last less filling per calorie
Bean sprouts 4.6
Fish, broiled 3.4
Chicken breast, roasted 3.3
Sirloin steak, broiled 3.2
Popcorn without toppings, butter our sugar 2.9
Baked potato 2.5
Lowfat yogurt 2.5
Macaroni and cheese 2.5
Brown rice 2.3
White rice 2.1
Ice cream 1.8
White bread 1.8
Snickers Bar 1.5
Sugar (sucrose) 1.3
Potato chips 1.2
Sources: selfnutritiondata / eufic