All foods are not created equal when it comes to keeping you feeling full and satisfied. Maybe you’ve noticed that some foods, like white bread or chips, only leave you craving more food, while other foods, like eggs, leave you feeling full longer.
The difference between foods that leave you wanting more and foods that fill you is about protein and fiber. Protein triggers the release of appetite-suppressing hormones and, in addition to building muscle and other tissue, is considered the nutrient that satisfies hunger best. Fiber comes in second. It slows down digestion and helps stabilize blood sugar levels to help you feel full longer.
Many people — especially vegetarians — use plant-based foods containing whole legumes, whole grains and vegetables, to help manage and maintain their weight. But are these meal alternatives as satisfying as meals containing beef? A new study says yes. The findings may help more people find a way to cut back on red meat and increase the amount of fiber in their diets.
A meal that leaves you feeling satisfied will reduce the amount you eat at later meals and reduce overall calorie intake. Over time, this can lead to weight loss, or at least prevent weight gain.
After three hours the participants rated their appetites the same, regardless of which “meatloaf” they consumed. Proof of this came at their next meal where members of each group ate the same number of calories, suggesting that they were equally satisfied with their earlier meals, whether meat-based or legume-based.
Plant-based meals are popular. Roughly eight million Americans eat a vegetarian-based diet, and about 1 million are strict vegans, meaning they eat no animal products at all. On top of that, about a third of people in the US eat at least one vegetarian meal every week.
Recent research has focused on satisfying hunger and how well a meal keeps a person feeling full. The thinking is that a meal that leaves you feeling satisfied will reduce the amount you eat at later meals and reduce overall calorie intake. Over time, this can lead to weight loss, or at least prevent weight gain.
These findings suggest that plant-based proteins combined with fiber work just as well as animal protein to produce feelings of fullness.
The study is published in the Journal of Food Science.