How to Feel Full

Written By Elisabetta Politi, RD, MPH, LDN, CDE - Nutrition Director

Ever wondered how the breakfast that keeps you satisfied until lunch most days, did not work this morning and you feel hungry by 10:00 am?  There is no doubt that what drives us to eat is a complex process, entangled with hormones, their receptors and our brain.  Based on the latest research, here are some tips to halt your hunger:


Fullness versus Satiety

Fullness is transient, while satiety lasts.  To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, it is important to achieve satiation, not just fullness.  It doesn’t help to leave the table completely full at lunch, if by 3pm you are hungry again.  

 How to Feel Full

Eat on a Schedule

Eat on schedule helps prevent swings in appetite hormones so you don’t get overly hungry. When you eat more during the day, you tend to eat less in the evening, which is when the great majority of people (~90%) report overeating


Nutrients by Themselves

High-quality animal proteins, such as skinless poultry, lean beef, fish, eggs, and Greek yogurt are at the top of the most satiating nutrients because they suppress ghrelin, the “hunger” hormone.  Carbohydrates, when consumed alone, leave our stomach empty after 2 to 3 hours.  To read more about an informal experiment on satiety:


Nutrients Combined

While protein are best at stimulating the release of certain satiety hormones such as leptin, carbohydrates and fat have been shown to help release others, such as the GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 (glucacon-peptide 1).  How about trying baked salmon with braised fennel and fresh herb and lemon bulgur pilaf?


Low Density Counts

Our eyes contribute to the sensation of being full.  Meals need to be visually filling in terms of volume; therefore make sure that you fill out your plate with vegetables, which are the best example of low-energy dense food.


Beware of Processed Foods

High in sugar, fat and sodium most packaged foods are more likely to turn on your appetite brain centers and cause you to overeat.


How to Eat, not only What to Eat

Not surprisingly, a meal eaten in a way that will maximize enjoyment (company, light, scenery) has been shown to positively affect satiety.


…And with all of this in mind:     Buon Appetito!







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