By Elizabeth Daly
In today’s society, we are constantly tempted by food. Whether we are commuting to work, out with friends or watching TV at home, we are influenced by messages encouraging us to eat more. Living in an environment surrounded by food can make it challenging for people to make healthy choices, lose weight and manage their diabetes. There are many different weight-loss diets advertised in the media, but dieting often leaves us feeling hungry, deprived and ultimately defeated. How can we better control our intake without feeling the need to eat all the time?
Satiety is the feeling of fullness that comes after eating. If we feel satiated after a meal, we are less likely to snack between meals or eat large portions the next time we sit down to eat. Learning how to feel more satiated after a meal may help us better control how much we eat, aid in weight loss and better control blood sugar levels.
Feeling satiated takes time, often up to 20 minutes after eating a meal. It is controlled by a number of factors that begin once we take our first bite of food. When we eat, our stomach expands, we begin absorbing and digesting nutrients and the brain receives signals that lead to feelings of being full.
Not all foods produce the same level of satiety. Here are a few tips to help you feel fit and full:
- Add lean protein to meals and snacks
Adding protein to meals or snacks helps keep you full for longer and control blood sugar levels. Meals that only contain simple carbohydrates are digested quickly, spike blood sugar, and make you feel hungry again soon after.
~Ex. 1 oz low fat cheese or ¼ cup hummus or 1-2 tablespoons peanut butter or 1 oz nuts
- Add fruit and vegetables to meals
Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and water. Both of these help you feel full. They are also good sources of important nutrients and contribute to overall good health.
~Ex. Add a side salad with meals, add berries to cereal or yogurt, add vegetables in soup
- Limit sugary beverages
Sweetened beverages are high in sugar and calories but low in nutrients. They do not cause your body to feel as full as solid foods do, and can lead to spikes in blood sugar and weight gain.
~Try swapping sugar sweetened beverages with water at meals to curb your hunger!