What is the Satiety Index?
Satiety is the state of being satisfied - in this case, eating enough to satisfy your hunger.
Different foods have different effects on satiety. This means some foods will give you a greater feeling of fullness.
It's also much easier to overeat on some foods than others.
For example, it may be quite easy to eat 500 calories or more of ice cream, while you'd have to force feed yourself to eat 500 calories of eggs or broccoli. This is a key example of how the food choices you make can have a huge impact on the total calories you end up consuming.
There are many factors that determine the satiety value of different foods, which is measured on a scale called the satiety index. The satiety index is a measure of the ability of foods to reduce hunger, increase feelings of fullness and reduce calorie intake for the next few hours.
If you eat foods that are low on the satiety index, then you will be hungrier and end up eating more. If you choose foods that are high on the satiety index, you will end up eating less and losing weight.
Examples of foods that are high on the satiety index are boiled potatoes, beef, eggs, beans and fruits. Foods that are low on the index include donuts and cakes.
In short, eating foods that score higher on the satiety index can help you eat fewer calories overall. However, keep in mind that just because something keeps you fuller for longer doesn't mean it's more nutrient-dense.
Characteristics of filling foods
- High in protein. Studies show that protein is the most filling macronutrient. It changes the levels of several satiety hormones - the ones that signal that you have eaten enough.
- High in fibre. Fibre provides bulk and helps you feel full for longer. It may slow stomach emptying and increase digestion time.
- High in volume. Some foods contain a lot of water, which may help promote satiety.
- Low in energy density. This means that a food is low in calories for its weight. Foods with a low energy density are very filling. They typically contain a lot of water and fibre but are low in fat.
Whole, unprocessed foods are also generally more filling than processed foods and offer added health benefits.