Foods That Make You Feel Fuller Longer

Foods That Make You Feel Fuller Longer
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Foods That Make You Feel Fuller Longer

Already deciding whether to get pizza or Mexican for lunch, even though you’re still chewing the last remnants of breakfast? Don’t worry; this is actually quite normal. There are good reasons why you may be getting ravenously hungry only minutes after your last meal...

Black Beans and Pinto Beans

“Legumes such as black beans and pinto beans, in my mind, are such an underrated food. Not only are they packed with plant-based protein, fiber and phytochemicals, they’re also really easy on the wallet. A 2008 study in the FASEB Journal found that eating at least ½ cup of legumes per day may assist with weight loss and weight maintenance, perhaps due to increased sense of fullness.”

McKenzie Hall, registered dietician and co-founder of Nourish, which aids with recipe or menu development, nutritional analysis, social media, research briefings and consumer information.

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Chia Seeds

“These tiny nutrition powerhouses contain about 10 grams of fiber per two tablespoons and are an excellent source of important omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a good source of essential nutrients like iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. In addition, chia seeds have hydrophilic properties. This allows them to swell into a gel when combined with liquid. The combination of high fiber (which digests more slowly in the GI tract and keeps blood sugar levels stable) and the hydrophilic properties (which result in them expanding in the stomach to give the feeling of fullness) make this a top-pick food to keep you full. Try them on yogurt, soups, baked goods, in smoothies or make your own chia gel.”

Deborah Orlick Levy, registered dietician and Carrington Farms Health and Nutrition Consultant

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“Eggs, in particular, are an ideal breakfast food. A recent study found that obese persons who ate eggs for breakfast feel full for a longer period of time and thus take more time to get hungry. The research participants had lower levels of ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone that tells the brain to eat, and higher levels of PPY, a hormone that helps stomachs feel full.”

— Dr. Robert Glatter

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High-Fiber Cereal

“Cereal is incredibly versatile as a meal, snack or ingredient in recipes. For a filling cereal, go with one that contains at minimum five grams of fiber per serving. A bowl of Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds contains 10 grams of belly-filling fiber, making it satisfying breakfast. Think outside the bowl and enjoy high-fiber cereal as a base for your favorite DIY trail mix, sprinkled on yogurt, mixed in with fresh fruit cups and salads, or as a crunchy, satisfying coating for baked chicken or fish.”

— Tanya Zuckerbrot

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Lean protein

“Foods like salmon, white meat chicken or turkey are excellent sources of lean protein and have small amounts of fat. This combination takes longer for the body to digest. This means you feel full longer when your diet includes these foods. In fact, studies have shown that people who don’t consume enough lean protein tend to overeat and weigh more.”

— Deborah Orlick Levy

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“Lentils are doubly satisfying because they are rich in both fiber and protein, and since these digest slowly, a meal containing lentils is bound to keep you feeling full longer. Among all legumes and nuts, lentils rank the third-highest in protein, which makes them a satisfying, low-fat meat alternative. Lentil soup is extra filling because its watery broth adds volume, and adding cooked lentils to salads and vegetable side dishes makes them all the more tasty, satisfying and nutritious.”

— Tanya Zuckerbrot

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“Steel-cut oats are the least-processed of all oats on the market. They have five grams of protein per ¼ cup serving, are high in soluble fiber, and are low in fat. This combination will keep blood sugar levels stable for longer, which keeps you from feeling hungry (make sure you buy your oats with no added sugars, flavorings, or preservatives). For additional holding power, I like to add a tablespoon of chia seeds to my oatmeal and some fresh raspberries or a teaspoon of almond butter.”

— Deborah Orlick-Levy

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Peanut Butter

“Packed with satiating protein, fat and fiber, peanut butter may help to curb cravings and help moderate a hearty appetite. A study conducted by Harvard researchers found that, when compared to a low-fat diet, a moderate-fat diet including peanut butter is much easier to stick with and results in more sustained weight loss”

— McKenzie Hall

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Pumpkin Seeds

“Next time you’re craving something crunchy, grab some dry-roasted pumpkin seeds instead of chips. A generous one-ounce serving packs eight grams of hunger-satisfying protein, plus each little seed is a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids.”

— Tanya Zuckerbrot

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“Boasting a whopping eight grams of fiber per one-cup serving, these sweet, juicy morsels top the list of high-fiber fruits. Plus, with only 65 calories per cup, they are a light and tasty way to make smoothies, hot or cold cereal or Greek yogurt, even more tasty and filling. Raspberries are nutrition-packed, with vitamins C and B-complex, manganese, copper, magnesium and iron, and disease-fighting, anti-aging phyto-antioxidants.”

— Tanya Zuckerbrot

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Turkey Jerky

“Want a chewy, savory, waist-friendly snack that’s plenty filling, too? Turkey jerky can be a great choice because a one-ounce serving has only 70 calories and provides 11 grams of protein — not to mention essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron and zinc. When choosing jerky, avoid unnecessary fat by going with brands made with white meat.”

— Tanya Zuckerbrot

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Already deciding whether to get pizza or Mexican for lunch, even though you're still chewing the last remnants of breakfast? Don't worry; this is actually quite normal. There are good reasons why you may be getting ravenously hungry only minutes after your last meal.

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First, it's important to understand that if you fill your stomach too quickly, your body won't have time to recognize and comprehend messages from specific hormones that help control appetite. "Hormones such as insulin, leptin, cortisol, and ghrelin send signals between the stomach and the brain indicating hunger, but also indicating satiety," explains Dr. Robert Glatter, attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, New York. Although you may feel your stomach filling up when you eat, it typically takes around 15-20 minutes to digest food to the point that glucose (sugar) gets into the bloodstream and the hormones begin functioning. "As a result, if you have already eaten most of a meal in about 20 minutes, your brain will not be able to slow your eating because it will receive satiety signals too late," says Glatter.

What are the best foods to keep us satiated and not ransacking the fridge? "Fiber-rich carbs and lean protein foods are satisfying because they digest slowly, so they remain in the stomach longer and stabilize blood sugar levels, which help reduce sugar cravings," says Tanya Zuckerbrot, registered dietician and the creator of the renowned F-Factor Diet.

Of course, it's tempting to opt for a convenient quick-fix solution such as a muffin or bag of chips, but foods containing fat aren't actually satiating. "Fat tastes good, but does not fill you up. Satiation is actually more defined physiologically," says Glatter.

"The ideal meal to promote satiety should include a small amount of fat, a lean source of protein and a variety of fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains."

Of the three food groups — protein, carbohydrates and fats — protein is the most satiating. About 25 to 35 percent of protein calories are used as the body converts protein to energy; only five to 15 percent are used when carbohydrates are converted. "Researchers aren't quite sure, but a specific component in protein serves as a signal to stop eating," says Glatter. "The mechanism is likely related to protein's high thermic effect, which is the rate at which these calories are consumed as part of the digestion. It turns out that the digestion and absorption of protein takes more work or calories than the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and fat."

Carbohydrates are the next most satiating foods. The satiating effect of carbohydrates depends on the type of carbohydrate being consumed. Whole grains (e.g. barley, brown rice, and whole wheat bread) are more satisfying than refined sugars and refined white flour. "Whole grains are more filling because they contain higher amounts of fiber. Unlike other foods, fiber is not digestible. Fiber adds bulk to foods, which helps fill the stomach, slowing the rate at which food is digested. As a result, you feel fuller sooner," says Dr. Glatter.

Fruits and vegetables contain high percentages of water, air and fiber, and generally have a lower energy density (the number of calories per gram) than meats, dairy items and sweets. In other words, you get to eat more of them without the consequences that high-calorie foods can bring. "A number of studies have demonstrated that eating salads can help people eat less without feeling deprived," explains Glatter. "Eating a salad prior to a meal can increase satiety such that some people will eat up to 10 percent less food during a meal."

Check out our expert-recommended suggestions for foods to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Check out the slideshow above for the best foods that will fill you up.

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