THE key to losing weight isn’t feeling hungry all the time – it’s actually feeling full.
The fuller you are, the less likely you are to snack on rubbish or binge on really calorific meals.
But which foods should we be stocking up on?
Scientists from Laval University in Quebec, Canada, say that the best weight-loss diet involves filling our plates with foods proven to be highly satisfying.
They said we should be eating lots of:
- spicy peppers
- water-packed fruits and veggies (melon/cucumber etc)
- fibre-filled whole grains
- healthy fats (avocados, nuts)
So far, so standard.
But registered dietitian Dr Wendy Bazilian said that this list of foods all had the ability to keep us satisfied.
The study got a group of overweight men in their 40s to start eating healthy diets.
Half of the men ate according to Canada’s Food Guide (which is a standard recommended plan) while the others ate meals designed to satiate.
Dr Angelo Tremblay said that the goal was to “promote a decrease in energy intake (calories) without restriction”.
The men who ate to feel satisfied lost more weight than the others and were less likely to drop out of the study than those following the government guidelines.
Although the satiety group got 50 per cent of their calories from carbs, 20 per cent from protein, and 30 per cent from fats – a pretty typical breakdown – researchers concluded that it was prioritising satisfaction that made participants so successful in their weight loss.
In fact, when they were given the option of carbonara or stir fry, those who ate the stir fry thought it was even tastier than the creamy pasta and went on to eat less throughout the day.
The scientists recommended adding the following to your daily diet:
The study emphasised that spicy peppers were especially good for making us feel satisfied.
It found that when participants had the option of a starter made with 6g of Korean red pepper or a plain red salsa, those eating the Korean pepper dish went on to eat 200kcals fewer over the course of the meal.
And chillis are also supposed to increase your metabolism and fat burning abilities.
Capsaicin is what gives peppers their spiciness – and what makes us start to turn into red, sweaty messes when we bite into them.
Scientists from the University of Aarhus, Denmark, found that capsaicin can increase metabolism and body temperature by altering the activity of a muscle protein called SERCA, which was forced to burn energy rather than storing it.
Whole grain carbs
Steer clear of refined carbs and load up on the fibrous wholegrain alternatives.
Things like oats can help you to feel full because they soak up water to become thicker – expanding in you to literally fill you up.
And seeing as a massive 90 per cent of Brits don’t get enough fibre – and a half of us are overweight or obese, it makes sense that more of us should be trying to eat wholegrain carbs whenever we can.
Yoghurt is both full of protein and water, and Dr Bazilian told The Post that water can help make you feel satisfied.
Chuck some whole oats, seeds and berries on top for added vitamins and minerals.
Avocados and nuts
Good fats make us feel fuller for longer because the help to slow down the release of sugar into the blood.
“As protein, fibre and fat all take far longer to break down in the digestive system, having a meal that includes these elements can lead to longer lasting energy,” explained nutritional consultant Ian Marber.
So add nut butters to your toasts, avocados to your salads and go for olive oil as an alternative to the more sugary options.
But don’t confuse feeling satisfied with feeling full
Dr Bazilian told the New York Post that some filling foods “impact the chemistry of satiety through hormones and compounds that are released in response to those foods.”
Others use “physical factors, like thickness and volume, to help stimulate stretch receptors in the stomach and give us the feeling of being satisfied.”
And that results in us feeling more satisfied and eating less without having to really try.
It’s actually not good to feel really full after a meal – you want to feel like you’ve eaten enough without feeling uncomfortable.
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Dr Bazilian recommends taking time to focus and enjoy the food you’re eating.
Enjoy the taste, flavour, smell, look.
Get away from screens and make time to turn your meals into an event.
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