Many factors determine a food’s satiety value, or how filling it is relative to its calorie content. The calorie/satiety ratio is measured on a scale called the satiety index.
The satiety index also measures a food’s ability to make you feel full, reduce your hunger and lower your calorie intake over the course of the day.
Some foods simply do a better job at satisfying hunger and preventing overeating than others.
Here are 5 filling foods you can eat a lot of without getting fat.
Popcorn is a whole grain and contains more fiber than many other popular snack foods.
It is also high in volume, so it takes up a lot of space in your stomach, despite being relatively low in calories.
Studies have found that popcorn will fill you up more than other popular snacks such as potato chips.
Air-popped popcorn is the healthiest. Commercially-prepared or microwave popcorn can be extremely high in calories and contain unhealthy ingredients.
To keep your popcorn low in calories, avoid adding a lot of fat to it.
2. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is low in calories but very high in protein.
It is also packed with healthy nutrients, including B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and selenium.
These characteristics make cottage cheese a weight loss friendly food.
One study found that its effect on fullness is similar to that of eggs.
Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids may increase satiety in people who are overweight or obese.
They’re also loaded with high-quality protein, which is known to be very filling.
In fact, fish scores higher than all other protein-rich foods on the satiety index and ranks second of all foods tested.
One study found the effect of fish on satiety was significantly greater than that of chicken and beef.
Another study found participants who ate fish consumed 11% fewer calories at their next meal than those who ate beef.
Oatmeal is a type of porridge, or hot cereal, that is often consumed for breakfast.
It’s incredibly filling and ranks third on the satiety index.
This is mainly due to its high fiber content and ability to soak up water.
Oats are a good source of a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which helps slow down digestion and the absorption of carbs.
When compared to ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, oatmeal was better at suppressing appetite, increasing satiety and reducing calorie intake throughout the day.
5. Boiled Potatoes
Due to their higher carb content, many people avoid potatoes when trying to lose weight, but they shouldn’t.
Whole potatoes are loaded with vitamins, fiber and other important nutrients. They also contain a certain type of starch called resistant starch.
Resistant starch contains half the calories of regular starch (2 instead of 4 calories per gram). In your digestive system, it acts a lot like soluble fiber, helping you feel full.
Because adding resistant starch to meals helps satisfy hunger, it causes people to eat fewer calories.
Interestingly, cooling potatoes after they’re cooked increases their resistant starch content. In fact, studies show that cooling and reheating potatoes multiple times continues to increase their hunger-suppressing effect.
In a study that measured the ability of 38 foods to satisfy hunger, boiled potatoes ranked the highest.
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