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How to feel full

Trying to reach a healthy weight? Nutritionist Fiona Hunter suggests 10 ways to manage your appetite so you only eat as much as you need.

1. Start your meal with a salad or soup

They will help to fill your stomach and take the edge off your appetite, which means you’ll be less likely to overeat at the next course. In one study, participants were given meals with exactly the same number of calories either as solid food or as soup. When the calories were given in the form of soup, people said they felt fuller for longer. Researchers also found that after soup, participants went on to eat less at their next meal.

2. Be snack smart

The hungrier you are when you start to eat, the longer it takes your hunger to subside. So in other words, the hungrier you are, the more you need to eat before you feel full. The best way to avoid getting over-hungry is to eat every 3-4 hrs – three small meals with a couple of healthy snacks in between is perfect. Protein-rich snacks (like a yogurt or a boiled egg) or fibre-rich snacks (such as oatcakes or hummus with crudités) are the best choices to make you feel fuller longer.

3. Up the protein

Eat slightly larger portions of lean protein such as lean meat, fish, shellfish, eggs and dairy products (for example semi-skimmed milk, cottage cheese and yogurt). Studies suggest that when we eat protein foods, signals are sent to the brain about our energy intake and this helps to curb hunger.

4. Turn off the TV

If you’re distracted while eating, you’re more likely to miss the ‘I’m full’ signals that your stomach sends your brain when you’ve had enough to eat. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people listened to a detective story as they were eating, they ate 13 per cent more calories than they did without any distractions.

How to feel full

5. Fill up on fibre

One of the reasons why the F-plan diet was so popular was that fibre-rich foods are more filling. Choose wholemeal bread, and brown rice and pasta instead of white. And try adding beans and pulses to salads, stews and soups.Increase your fibre intake with our top recipe suggestions.

6. Choose foods that take time and effort to eat

Corn on the cob, a crunchy salad or fish with bones cannot be rushed, and will force you to eat more slowly and help you to feel full quicker.

7. Eat more fruit and veg

Their high water content will help fill you up. In fact, enjoying a healthy fruit snack, such as an apple, before you go shopping can help improve your choices in the supermarket – researchers found that those who ate an apple before they went food shopping purchased 25% more fruit and vegetables during the trip.

8. Drink before you eat

Drink a large glass of water 10 minutes before you’re due to sit down to eat. Many fear that drinking water before or whilst eating dilutes gastric juices, and as a result impacts the efficiency of their digestion. However, this assumes that your body is unable to adapt to the consistency of your meal, which research suggests is not to the case.

How to feel full

9. Take your time

Lay your knife and fork down on the table between each mouthful. Chew food thoroughly before taking a second mouthful and focus on what you’re eating – all of these things help slow down the pace at which you eat. When you eat slowly, you’ll feel full quicker.

10. Enjoy your food whole where possible

Studies suggest that the softer the texture of your food, the easier it is to eat and the more of it you are likely to eat! Try swapping mashed potatoes and creamed carrots for whole new potatoes in their skins and chunky carrot batons.

What are your tips for controlling appetite?

This article was last updated on 20 June 2019.

A qualified nutritionist (MBANT), Kerry Torrens is a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food magazine. Kerry is a member of The Royal Society of Medicine, the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), and the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT).

How to Eat for Satiety

Shift to simpler, more wholesome foods and become more conscious about how you eat, and you’re well on your way to mastering satiety and achieving everlasting weight control.

How to feel full

Struggling to cook healthy? We’ll help you prep.

Begin by choosing foods with short ingredient lists. Some packaged foods are engineered to sabotage you—delivering salt, sugar, fat, and different textures. Those contrasting flavors and textures light up your brain’s appetite center and encourage you to overeat.

Second: Stick to a single flavor profile. We’re not suggesting you eat a bland diet—that’s neither delicious nor sustainable. But we’re hardwired to crave the variety pack, in the same way that after a filling dinner, when the idea of dessert crosses your mind, poof—you magically have room for more. So to curb overeating, pair like flavors together at meals, such as Mexican mains with Mexican sides.

Lastly, set a scene when you eat. How you perceive your meals influences satiety, so serve and eat them in a way that will maximize enjoyment. In one study where people were fed a “supersized” lunch in the dark, they overate, then underestimated how much they actually ate and said they didn’t feel as satisfied as they “should” after such a large meal.

What to Eat for Satiety

With food options at our fingertips 24/7 (hello, candy in the pharmacy checkout aisle), it’s hard to differentiate between want and need and fullness and satisfaction. To achieve satiety, not just fullness, look to these food groups for big staying power.

FRUITS AND VEGGIES
Produce is big on volume and low in calories, with veggies typically having the least amount of calories. Foods that deliver on volume but are low-cal (a bowl of strawberries instead of strawberry jam) are key in achieving satiety.

WHOLE GRAINS
Whole grains are high in fiber and low on the glycemic index (GI), so they raise and lower your blood sugar slowly. The opposite—a quick spike and resulting crash from a high-GI food, such as a doughnut—causes hunger to return quickly.

LEAN PROTEIN
We’re talking fish, white meat poultry, and eggs, which all boast high-quality protein and keep calories in check better than darker and red meats. Protein is important because it sits firmly at the top of the list as the most satiating nutrient.

BEANS AND LENTILS
Both are low on the glycemic index and high in fiber. Fiber is key because it fills your stomach, slows digestion, and positively influences your hormones. Beans and lentils also soak up water when cooked for pumped-up volume.

NUTS AND SEEDS
These are incredibly satisfying thanks to their trifecta of fiber, protein, and fat (another fairly satisfying nutrient), and nuts and seeds are low on the glycemic index. But mind your portions—they can pack quite the calorie punch.

Our Own Satiety Study

We put staffers to the test (in a very informal experiment) to see which foods were most satiating. Participants ate 250 calories of each food at 9 a.m. (over the course of a few weeks) and reported back how satiated they felt after five minutes and then after one, two, three, and four hours.

EGGS
After eating 3.6 hard-boiled eggs, participants said they had enough to eat and their energy levels stayed strong for about 3 hours.

BLACK BEANS
As with eggs, eating 1.7 cups (10.5 ounces) of beans left people feeling as if they’d had enough to eat for almost 3 hours.

SWEET POTATO
Staffers were the most satisfied after 5 minutes than when they’d eaten any of the other foods. But after an hour, satiety leveled off.

APPLES
These were the second-highest most satisfying food at the 5-minute mark. But satisfaction dropped after 1 hour and plummeted after 2.

SALMON
Salmon, avocado, striped bass, and chicken all left participants feeling similarly—they had enough to eat, with their energy levels up and staying strong, for about 2 hours.

WHITE BREAD
Participants reported getting enough to eat and staying satisfied for about an hour. After 2 hours, they wanted to eat soon, and by 3 hours, their stomachs felt empty.

WHOLE-GRAIN SPAGHETTI
Whole-grain spaghetti and steel-cut oatmeal were both, unexpectedly, only marginally more satiating than white bread. Two hours after eating, people said they wanted to eat soon.

WALNUTS
These were, surprisingly, the least satisfying. Perhaps that’s in part because 250 calories equals only 18 nuts—a paltry-looking volume, which can make you think it isn’t satisfying.

When you’re trying to lose weight, it can be hard to stick to a lower-calorie menu if you’re feeling ravenous the whole time. Find out what to eat to feel full while still staying slim.

How to feel full

Fortunately, some of the best foods for weight loss also happen to be the ones that help to fill you up. Three of the key ingredients that help you feel full are fiber, protein and water content. Here are foods that have one or all of those keys to fullness:

Beans:
Beans are one of the best sources of fiber and they’re also considered a lean protein, making them an excellent choice for feeling satisfied. Start your morning with an egg-and-bean taco, or start a meal with a cup of bean soup for instant satisfaction.

Soup: If you start your meal with soup, you’re likely to eat fewer calories at your meal, according to research. All that brothy goodness of soup fills you up . and if it’s a veggie-packed soup, it’ll be high in fiber too.

Greek yogurt:
Greek yogurt is way high in protein — just 6 ounces delivers 17 grams. Whether you have it for breakfast or a snack, it’s sure to give you staying power. Top it with berries for an added fiber boost.

Raspberries: Raspberries are studded with seeds, which bump up their fiber content. Not only that, they’re relatively low in sugar, which also makes them low in calories. Win-win.

Eggs: Eggs are a good source of protein, so it’s no wonder they’re satisfying. Pack a shelled hard-boiled egg in water and store it in the fridge. When hunger strikes, it’ll be ready to satisfy, along with some crunchy sliced veggies.

Pears: Boasting fiber and water, pears are a satisfying snack that clock in at about 100 calories. In addition to eating out of hand, try adding chopped pear to your oatmeal or putting them in a salad, as in Ina’s Roasted Pears With Blue Cheese.

Oatmeal: The soluble fiber in oatmeal holds on to water so it stays in your stomach longer; make it with milk for an extra dose of protein and top with fruit for a breakfast that will keep you full all morning. Try Ina’s Sunday Morning Oatmeal for a healthy breakfast that tastes decadent.

How to feel full

  • Keto is a high-fat, low-carb diet.
  • Without the carbs, you might worry about feeling full.
  • We talked to registered dietitians to learn ways to ensure you feel full on the keto diet.

Achieving satiety on the keto diet may seem challenging at first. And while this diet may seem a bit restrictive, expert dietitians suggest that’s actually quite easy to feel full on this eating plan, as high-fat foods and fulfilling proteins can keep those hunger pangs at pay.

To help you feel full on a keto eating plan, we spoke to a handful of experts about all the important dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you begin to prep your meals.

Make sure you follow the plan correctly

“When you are in a state of ketosis, one of the classic signs is feeling full,” said board-certified sports dietitian Kylene Bogden, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN, CLT . If you do happen to feel hungry, she suggested that you may not be following the plan correctly.

You should try to eat less

“When beginning keto, most people will actually realize that the amount of food needed to achieve fullness is far less than a typical diet,” said registered dietitian Jenn Fillenworth, MS . This is because fat, the main macronutrient component of the diet, is the most calorically dense per gram, she said, and it takes a very small amount of keto-friendly foods to achieve fullness when compared to carbohydrates.

Add low-carb vegetables to your plate

“For those that like to fill up on large portions, I always recommend adding low carbohydrate vegetables into your meals,” Fillenworth told INSIDER. This includes zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, or mushrooms, she said, and you can eat fairly large portions of these items as they provide very little carbohydrates.

Make sure you eat whole foods

“If a person wants to feel full on a keto diet, their meals should mostly be composed of whole foods,” suggested registered dietitian Summer Yule, MS, RDN . It’s best to avoid keto snack foods like pork rinds and treats filled with non-nutritive sweeteners, she added.

Make sure you get enough protein

“Aim to get enough protein and non-starchy vegetables in your diet to help you feel full,” Yule told INSIDER. Oily fish like salmon and tuna are a great choice because you get the filling protein plus heart-healthy fats, she said. In addition, she added that whole eggs provide filling protein and an assortment of nutrients that are critical for good health, including choline.

Eat some leafy greens

“Leafy greens are a really great option for keto dieters (and nearly all dietary patterns) because they provide some nutrients like vitamin C and folate that are harder to come by in meats,” Yule explained. They are also high in volume and extremely low in calories and carbohydrates, she added.

Fill up on fats

“Each meal should contain a substantial amount of healthy fats to keep you full,” said registered dietitian Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN . For example, for breakfast enjoy an egg with sliced avocado for healthy fats and a bit of protein, she suggested.

Drink plenty of fluids

“Like with any healthy lifestyle, it’s important to drink plenty of fluid to keep your body running smoothly,” Gulbin explained. Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces, she advised.

The Calorie Deficit is an incredible tool when it comes to weight loss.

In fact…it’s the only tool.

So if you want to lose weight…you need to understand how to make a calorie deficit as easy as possible for you.

That being said…it isn’t an easy thing to do.

One of the quandaries that dieters are in is how to eat fewer calories overall….and not get stupendously hungry in the process.

And that is the aim of this article. To teach you how to figure out this conundrum – to keep hunger low and intake as high as possible – whilst still being in a Calorie Deficit.

Added to that I am going to share some recipes with you that are from the Recipe Manuals in The Fitness Collective – my exclusive Members website.

The recipes are all:

As much food volume for as few calories as possible

Have MyFitness Pal Barcodes for you to track

Tasty as hell

For example…one thing that directly affects your caloric expenditure is indeed your caloric intake.

The simple adage: “Eat Less, Move More” is not only stupid but more and more it’s becoming clearer that you just can’t simplify the energy balance equation to something so base.

Firstly, let me say thank you to you for being here. What I am hoping by the end of this article is that you comprehend more about what a Calorie Deficit looks like in terms of the foods that will make it as easy as possible for you and help reduce your hunger.

Secondly, it would be awesome if we became friends by way of you joining my mailing list.

I will, of course, email you things. Sometimes they will be educational, sometimes they will be inappropriate, sometimes I might just want to know how you are; either way…it would be delightful to connect with you more.

Just send me a friend request by filling out the form below…

Oh, and I will also send you some free fitness goodies to help start our new friendship off on the best foot possible.

Thirdly, please bear in mind that the body is clever…and it has what we call a “Set Point”. This Set Point in terms of your weight is where your body is happiest, and it’s very hard to change….but it can be changed.

Your body loves to be exactly where it is….and moving it away from that point, whether you want to gain weight or lose weight, the body will fight you.

Fight you every step of the way.

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(Side Note: Sir Ian McKellen is actually one of the nicest actors I have ever met)

The body won’t fight you because it hates you, or because you are broken.

Your Metabolism is not broken (unless diagnosed by a Doctor and even then…it can still be affected to work for your Fat Loss in nearly all situations)

Your body fights you, and everybody’s body fights them because of something called Homeostasis – which is your body being in balance hormonally. It likes who you are. Your body just loves being cozy and warm and loves to snuggle you exactly where you are.

Personally, I have been trying to gain weight for about six months now. My body is comfortable and really happy at 80kgs – it’s where I feel best. I feel strong, I feel happy in my clothes and my belly feels normal.

In February I weighed in at 83.5kg. I remember going to a Birthday Party for a 1-year-old and I felt so out of sorts. My body didn’t feel right, my belly felt bloated and although I was at 83.5kg it felt like I was a lot higher weight than that.

It was an abnormal spike, I weigh myself every day, and I knew it was a spike. But I personally felt very uncomfortable. I was bloated and I felt awful for the whole day.

But if I look at my average weight over the last 90 days it is 82kgs – and I feel exactly the same now as I did at 80kgs.

I don’t feel bloated and uncomfortable. I feel exactly the same. I have changed my Set-Point. My Metabolism, Muscle Mass and Diet have all fallen into line with where I am at the moment.

And this happens both in weight gain and weight loss.

And there are ups and downs.

You can change that set point.

This is why Dieting is hard. This is why you might feel incredibly hungry when you are in a Calorie Deficit.

And this is why I have written this article.

Tricks to turn down your appetite

1. Bulk up your meals. There’s a lot of evidence that bulk — that is, fiber — reduces appetite. So turn up the volume with higher-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. These foods also tend to have a high water content, which helps you feel full.

2. Cool off your appetite with soup. Have a bowl of broth or vegetable-based soup (hot or cold) for a first course, and you’ll probably end up eating fewer total calories at that meal. Creamy or high-fat soups need not apply for this job — stick to the low-cal, high-fiber choices like minestrone or vegetable-bean type soups.

3. Crunch your appetite away with a big salad. One study found that when people had a large (3 cups), low-calorie (100 calories) salad before lunch, they ate 12% fewer calories during the meal. When they had a smaller salad (1 1/2 cups and 50 calories), they ate 7% fewer calories overall. You can make the same salads used in the study: Toss romaine lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, celery, and cucumbers together, and top with fat-free or low-fat dressing. But beware the fatty salad! Eating a high-calorie salad, even a small one, can encourage us to eat more calories at the meal than if we ate no salad at all.

4. Stay on course. A little bit of variety in our meals is good and even healthful. But having several courses during a meal can lead you down the wrong path. Adding an extra course to your meal (unless it’s a low-calorie salad or broth-type soup) usually increases the total calories you consume for that meal.

5. An orange or grapefruit a day helps keep appetite away. Research suggests that low-calorie plant foods that are rich in soluble fiber — like oranges and grapefruit — help us feel fuller faster and keep blood sugars steady. This can translate into better appetite control. Of the 20 most popular fruits and vegetables, oranges and grapefruits are highest in fiber!

6. Get milk (or other low-fat dairy foods). Increasing your intake of low-fat dairy foods is a great way to get more of two proteins that are thought to be appetite suppressors — whey and casein. And drinking milk may be especially effective. A recent study found that whey — the liquid part of milk — was better at reducing appetite than casein.

7. Have some fat with your carbs — but not too much! When we eat fat, a hormone called leptin is released from our fat cells. This is a good thing when we’re talking about moderate amounts of fat. Studies have shown that a lack of leptin (due to a very low-fat diet) can trigger a voracious appetite. Obviously, we want to do the opposite of that. But that doesn’t mean we should opt for a high-fat meal. Research has found a higher frequency of obesity among people who eat a high-fat diet than among those who eat a low-fat diet.

8. Enjoy some soy. Soybeans offer protein and fat along with carbohydrates. That alone would suggest that soybeans are more satisfying and more likely to keep our appetites in control than most plant foods. But a recent study in rats suggests that a particular component in soybeans has definite appetite-suppressing qualities.

9. Go nuts. Nuts help you feel satisfied because of their protein and fiber content. A handful of these vitamin- and mineral-rich nuggets will hold you over between meals. But keep that handful small: Nuts are high in fat, even though it is the healthful monounsaturated kind.

10. Slow down, you’re eating too fast. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is officially “comfortable” and that you should stop eating. If you eat slowly, the brain has a chance to catch up with the stomach, and you’re less likely to overeat.

Millions of years have honed the mechanisms that compel us to eat. Unfortunately, when it’s time to stop eating, evolution has given us far fewer tools.

How to feel full

Casey Schwartz

It is once again time to celebrate a uniquely American holiday in uniquely American fashion: by ingesting record-breaking, dining room table-straining quantities of glorious food. After all, you’re just doing exactly what evolution tells you to do: taking advantage of a plentiful moment before winter sets in and you’re confined to your cave. You’re striking while the stuffing is hot.

But while evolution has spent the last several million years honing the mechanisms that compel us to eat, it’s been comparatively lax on the mechanisms that cause us to stop eating, which are much less important for survival, unless you’re in the fashion industry. Over millenia, from one gene pool to the next, the impulse to stock up on nutrients whenever they’re available has been so reinforced that we now have more biological systems than we actually need to ensure that we regularly appear at the dinner table. A depleted glucose supply sends both the brain and the liver into high-alert mode, and an empty stomach rushes a hormone called ghrelin to the brain, inscribed with simple yet urgent instructions: feed me.

It seems that cocaine and crème brulee present a similar challenge to the practice of moderation.

But if our evolutionary drive says eat, eat, eat – but never stop, stop, stop – why don’t we just stuff ourselves till we burst? Where does the “I feel full” sensation come from?

The feeling of fullness is described by scientists as “satiety signals,” and they come from several different sources, which researchers in the field divide between two categories: short and long-term signals.

Short-term signals of satiety arise directly from the meal you just consumed. They include memory of the taste and smell of the food, the sensation of your stomach stretching, and several different hormones released from your digestive tract in proportion to the nutrients you ingested. Basically, one big physical reminder from your body to your brain: Hey, fatso, you just ate.

Long-term signals of satiety are less is fully understood, and refer to chemical messages that the body sends to the brain, which modulate how full a particular meal will make us feel. Perhaps the best known and most publicized example is a hormone called leptin, which stems from the Greek word for “thin.” Leptin is produced by the body’s fat cells in direct proportion to how much fat that body has. In other words, the heavier you are, the more leptin you have, and the more quickly your brain realizes you’ve had enough to eat. This is the brain’s way of attempting to keep you from becoming fat&mdsh;for overweight people, it takes less food to satiate their appetite. Up to a point.

When leptin was first discovered in 1994, nutritional researchers pounced, believing that a leptin deficiency might be the explanation for obesity. As it turned out, this is true only for a tiny minority of overweight people. In general, the obese have no shortage of leptin (given that leptin is produced by fat cells, if anything they tend to have more). The problem is that overweight people’s leptin is no longer able to do its job, because their levels of the leptin hormone are so chronically high, their brains have become desensitized to it.

As for the thin and thinning, leptin remains an important consideration. The thinner you become, the lower your leptin levels droop, and the more food it takes to satisfy your appetite. This is precisely why you should never believe anyone who tells you that your diet will get easier the longer you do it. It won’t. As Diana Williams, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Florida State University explains, losing weight means that “now you eat the same meal you might have had the other day, and it’s not as satisfying. You actually need to eat more in order to feel that same sense of fullness.” She says this is part of the reason it’s easier to cut down your portions earlier in your diet than later. “When a person diets and loses some weight, it’s harder and harder to maintain that low level of food intake that you need to maintain in order to keep that weight off.” A grim prognosis for the post-Thanksgiving dieter.

So we eat when certain hormones float up to our brain and tell us we’re hungry, and we stop eating when a different set of signaling systems convey to our brain that we’re full. But there’s an obvious problem with this model: food tastes great. “We enjoy eating,” says Ms. Williams, “You can feel full, you can have a stomach full of food, and then dessert comes out, and we eat more. So these mechanisms of hunger and satiety sort of go out the window in the face of really rewarding food.”

Given the well-documented power of pecan pie, it’s no surprise that the mechanisms that cause hunger and fullness don’t tell the whole story. Scientists are still trying to unravel the complex relationship human’s have with food, and they’ve made some strides.

For instance, recent evidence suggests that good food and addictive drugs trigger many of the same responses in the brain, the neural mechanisms that underlie so-called “reward learning.” It makes sense, evolutionarily speaking, that the brain treats food as a natural reward, releasing neurotransmitters like dopamine when we eat that strengthen our desire to eat again. The fact that food prompts our brain to produce these feel-good chemicals helps to explain why so many of us struggle to stop eating when we’re full. It seems that cocaine and crème brulee present a similar challenge to the practice of moderation.

So this Thursday, go ahead and eat as much turkey and pumpkin pie as you want. You can always blame it on the dopamine. Bon appétit.

What to do when salads leave you less-than-satisfied.

Find yourself hungry after a salad at lunch? Keep asking Why don’t I feel full after eating vegetables?

Why does this even matter?

You’ve just tucked into a big salad, filled with leafy greens and all that good stuff. You’re feeling like a #healthgoddess and just a little bit proud of your virtuous lunch option.

But half an hour later, you feel that familiar gurgle in your tummy, followed by a growl that could rival the lion in the MGM opening credits.

Yep, you’re still freakin’ hungry, so you find yourself feverishly searching for a snack that will hold you over until dinner.

Sound familiar?

You’re not alone, or crazy. Because there’s actually a good reason that plain ol’ vegetables on their own don’t leave you feeling satisfied.

Why vegetables just ain’t that filling

Most veggies are high in fibre, so theoretically they should leave you feeling full. But here’s the thing: feeling full isn’t just a matter of stretching your stomach.

Satiety is a complex system that involves both your mind and your gut. Vegetables aren’t very calorie-dense and are made up of mainly air and water. So, by the time you chew it all up, there’s really not a lot of volume entering your stomach. Plus, it generally doesn’t send the signal to your brain that you’re full, which is why you’re left feeling like you want to bite off your own arm half an hour later.

The good news is, by adding in what I like to call ‘sanity ingredients’ into your salad, you can transform your salads into a filling meal that satisfies – and stop asking Why don’t I feel full after eating vegetables?

How to make your salads more filling

1. Add some texture

Adding some crunchy elements not only means your body has to work slightly harder to digest it (a good thing in this situation), it also makes your meal waaaaaay more interesting to eat.

Because, who wants to eat a soggy pile of spinach with no discernable texture? Not me!

Some great ways you can add some crunch to your salad include adding crushed up nuts like almonds and walnuts, pinenuts, roasted cauliflower or crispy rice noodles. You could even add in some coconut bacon, which is like a vegan (and healthier for your arteries) version of the real deal.

2. Incorporate starchy vegetables

Starchy vegetables like pumpkin, butternut squash and parsnips tend to be a bit higher in carbs and more dense than leafy greens. Try roasting some of these veggies in the oven and popping them into your salad — not only will they keep you full for longer, but they’re also freakin’ delicious. You can also add other yummy carbs like rice, quinoa or barley.

3. Add some fat

Fat is your friend. I repeat, fat is your friend!

Adding a small amount of healthy, unsaturated fat to your meal will slow down the rate at which your stomach empties during digestion. It also helps with the release of the hormones that control your appetite. Try adding some olive oil, avocado, or even some cheese like goats cheese or feta throughout your salad, and notice how much more satisfied you feel.

The same goes for when you’re cooking your veggies at home. Don’t be afraid to cover them in a generous amount of olive oil, coconut oil or ghee when you’re BBQing or grilling. However, try to keep deep-frying to the rare occasion, as this isn’t great for your heart health.

When it comes to eating veggies, don’t sweat the small stuff. After all, you’re eating a salad for crying out loud — adding some salad dressing or some fun elements for texture isn’t going to hurt you. In fact, you’ll actually be doing yourself a favour as it will keep you feel satisfied and satiated for way longer.

How to feel full

Get off to the best possible start on the NHS weight loss plan with these 12 diet and exercise tips.

1. Do not skip breakfast

Skipping breakfast will not help you lose weight. You could miss out on essential nutrients and you may end up snacking more throughout the day because you feel hungry.

2. Eat regular meals

Eating at regular times during the day helps burn calories at a faster rate. It also reduces the temptation to snack on foods high in fat and sugar.

3. Eat plenty of fruit and veg

Fruit and veg are low in calories and fat, and high in fibre – 3 essential ingredients for successful weight loss. They also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals.

4. Get more active

Being active is key to losing weight and keeping it off. As well as providing lots of health benefits, exercise can help burn off the excess calories you cannot lose through diet alone.

Find an activity you enjoy and are able to fit into your routine.

5. Drink plenty of water

People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. You can end up consuming extra calories when a glass of water is really what you need.

6. Eat high fibre foods

Foods containing lots of fibre can help keep you feeling full, which is perfect for losing weight. Fibre is only found in food from plants, such as fruit and veg, oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta, and beans, peas and lentils.

7. Read food labels

Knowing how to read food labels can help you choose healthier options. Use the calorie information to work out how a particular food fits into your daily calorie allowance on the weight loss plan.

8. Use a smaller plate

Using smaller plates can help you eat smaller portions. By using smaller plates and bowls, you may be able to gradually get used to eating smaller portions without going hungry. It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it’s full, so eat slowly and stop eating before you feel full.

9. Do not ban foods

Do not ban any foods from your weight loss plan, especially the ones you like. Banning foods will only make you crave them more. There’s no reason you cannot enjoy the occasional treat as long as you stay within your daily calorie allowance.

10. Do not stock junk food

To avoid temptation, do not stock junk food – such as chocolate, biscuits, crisps and sweet fizzy drinks – at home. Instead, opt for healthy snacks, such as fruit, unsalted rice cakes, oat cakes, unsalted or unsweetened popcorn, and fruit juice.

11. Cut down on alcohol

A standard glass of wine can contain as many calories as a piece of chocolate. Over time, drinking too much can easily contribute to weight gain.

12. Plan your meals

Try to plan your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the week, making sure you stick to your calorie allowance. You may find it helpful to make a weekly shopping list.

More in Managing your weight

Page last reviewed: 29 November 2019
Next review due: 29 November 2022

Published April 9, 2020

Reviewed April 2021

How to feel full

After-dinner and before-bedtime snacking when not hungry can result in consuming unneeded calories. Often this may be due to boredom, stress or tiredness. Try these tips to help banish evening cravings and curb after-dinner snacking; and, if you snack, go for nutritious options.

End Mealtime Madness

Spend a little time planning ahead and grocery shopping for nutritious meals, including breakfast, and snacks throughout the week. When you eat a variety of foods throughout the day according to your hunger and fullness, you’re less likely to overeat at night.

Boost Protein and Load up on Fiber

Protein can help you feel full faster and for longer, so ensuring you incorporate protein during meals and snacks may help with mindless snacking.

Some ideas include, a breakfast of oatmeal with a cup of low-fat or fat-free milk, small handful of nuts and fruit, which provide approximately 20 grams of protein. At lunch, a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter (7 grams of protein), half a can of tuna fish (16 grams of protein), half a cup of black beans (7 grams of protein) or a small 4-ounce salmon filet (25 grams of protein) can help push up protein. At dinner, aim for recommended serving sizes such as a small — the size of a deck of cards — 3-ounce chicken breast (27 grams of protein) or a 3-ounce lean top sirloin steak (26 grams of protein).

Dietary fiber also helps us feel full, in addition to being protective of intestinal and heart health. Find fiber in whole grains, legumes such as beans and lentils, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. The daily recommendation for dietary fiber is 14 grams for every 1,000 calories, which is about 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men per day.

Get Sleep

Sleep deprivation can impair glucose metabolism and affect hormones linked to hunger, appetite and body weight regulation. When we get too little sleep, we may confuse tiredness for hunger. If you’re tempted to keep snacking after a balanced dinner, that may be a sign that your body needs rest. Adults should strive for 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.

Turn off the Screen before You Pick up Your Fork

Screen time may encourage mindless eating and increased food intake. Eating in front of the TV, while playing video games or surfing the Internet can distract attention from what and how much is eaten, reduce satiety signals sent to the brain and lessen memory of snacking.

Still Starving after Dinner?

People often eat out of boredom, because of stress or out of habit rather than from true hunger. Consider asking yourself the following questions before eating: Am I hungry? Am I thirsty? Am I tired? Am I bored? Am I sad?

If you are still hungry after ruling out other factors, it’s OK to have a snack. Opt for foods with high protein and fiber and eat small portions slowly, and without distractions.

Penelope Clark, MS, RDN, CDN, is a nutrition communications consultant in New York City and president of Connect Nutrition Group.

How to feel full

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Dieting should never be about starving. You can safely reduce your daily calories to 1,200 a day and still feel full by feasting on low-calorie, nutritionally-dense foods rather than high-calorie foods. You don’t have to consume a lot of calories in order to feel full. Many foods pack a lot of nutrition, yet are low in calories. With a little planning, you can enjoy an array of tasty, high-satiety, low-calorie meals.

Fill up on Fiber

Foods high in fiber help fill you up faster so that you are less likely to eat past your daily 1,200-calorie goal. Many fiber foods move quickly through the digestive tract, preventing constipation and bloating. Aim for 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day but gradually increase your fiber intake to prevent the bloating and gas that sometimes accompany eating too much fiber too quickly. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds are generally high in fiber.

Eat Water-Dense Foods

Water also helps you feel full by providing calorie-free weight and volume. Many diets recommend drinking a glass of water when you feel hungry, but a Penn State study found water itself doesn’t do the trick. Eating low-calorie, water-rich foods, however, does, according to October 1999 study results published in “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, grapes, grapefruit and carrots are great water-dense choices. Half a grapefruit is 90 percent water with only 39 calories, and 1/2 cup of raw carrots is 88 percent water with only 39 calories.

Go Whole-Grain

Whole grains are rich in fiber for that feeling of fullness. They contain many vitamins and minerals and are better than refined grains because whole grains contain all of the grain — the bran, germ and endosperm. When cooking with grains on a 1,200-calorie diet, look at the number of calories per serving size on the package and read the ingredients list. A whole-grain food should have a type of whole grain as its first listed ingredient. Whole grains often contain the word “whole,” such as with wheat flour, oats, grain corn, rye and grain barely. Wild rice, brown rice, quinoa, millet, triticale, buckwheat and popcorn are also whole grains.

Schedule Meals and Snacks

Limiting calories takes preparation. Creating a schedule of meals and snack times keeps you from feeling hungry. Starving yourself is unhealthy, and it often leads to binging on foods high in calories. Some people find eating mini meals throughout the day works best for them, while others stick to a more traditional plan of three meals a day with scheduled snacks. Find a schedule that helps you feel full and stick to it. If you have to set an alarm on your cell phone to remind you to stop and snack, do it. And since it takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize that you are full, chew a little more slowly and take time to chat with friends between bites.

  • MayoClinic.com: Energy Density and Weight Loss: Feel Full on Fewer Calories
  • Medline Plus: High-Fiber Foods
  • American Diabetes Association: Go Whole Grain
  • University of Maryland Medical Center: Common-Sense Strategies to Long-Term Weight Loss

Ivy Morris specializes in health, fitness, beauty, fashion and music. Her work has appeared in “Sacramento News and Review,” “Prosper Magazine” and “Sacramento Parent Magazine,” among other publications. Morris also writes for medical offices and legal practices. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in government-journalism from Sacramento State University.

How to feel full

Lisa Lillien is a New York Times bestselling author and the creator of Hungry Girl, where she shares healthy recipes and realistic tips and tricks.

How to feel full

If you feel like you are always hungry, choosing foods that help you feel full for longer might help. While it’s common to crave sugary foods, those are not likely to keep you full for long. To combat hunger, look for foods that provide protein and fiber. Both reduce hunger and increase meal satisfaction.

The best foods to eat if you are always hungry have more than one filling nutrient, such as legumes which contain healthy carbs, fiber, and protein. Another strategy is to eat high protein and fiber foods in combination, such as yogurt with berries and nuts.

Eat Lean Proteins

When you’re hungry between meals, it’s often because you’re not getting enough protein. Adding protein to each meal will help you combat hunger later in the day. Eating higher protein, less calorie-dense foods instead of higher fat foods will keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer and reduces the desire to eat more later in the day.

Protein also takes longer to digest since your body has to work harder to break it down. Always keep some protein-packed snacks nearby—bonus points if they’re also shelf-stable so you can keep them in your purse, car, and/or office drawer. Studies have found that protein makes people feel fuller than other nutrients.

  • Fish is an excellent source of protein (and healthy fats), but some people find it intimidating to prepare, and it’s not portable. But tuna in cans and pouches makes eating fish easier. StarKist makes ready-to-eat pouches that are pre-seasoned and perfectly portioned. Tuna or salmon from a can or pouch is easy to toss on a salad, sandwich, or dish of whole-grain pasta.
  • Chicken breast, lean ground turkey, and lean ground beef can serve as the base for dozens of different meals. Cook up several batches without seasoning early in the week and your lunches and dinners for the week are halfway done.
  • Jerky is a great go-to emergency snack. It’s delicious, full of protein, and available in tons of flavors and varieties, including jerky made from turkey and chicken. You can even find soy-based vegan jerky.
  • Greek yogurt also makes an excellent high-protein snack.
  • Eggs can be boiled up ahead of time for a quick snack. Or mix them up into an omelet with veggies for a healthy, filling start to your day.
  • Legumes such as black beans, chickpeas, and edamame are a plant source of protein that are a nutritionally dense source of energy. You can roast them for snacking, or add them to soups or salads.

Eat High-Fiber Foods

Fiber is an indigestible component of plant foods and helps add bulk to your meals, filling you up and slowing down digestion for lasting feelings of fullness. Fiber is satiating, and known to help with weight loss.

  • Berries are a terrific natural source of fiber. You can eat around 1 cup of raspberries or blackberries for about 64 calories, and that serving provides 8 grams of dietary fiber. Top fat-free Greek yogurt with berries for a mini-meal that’s loaded with both protein and fiber.
  • Passion fruit is low in calories and high in vitamin C, and is one of the highest fiber fruits, containing 24 grams per cup.
  • Pears are excellent eaten out of hand, on top of yogurt, or in a salad. One medium pear provides 6 grams of fiber.
  • Avocados are known to be a good source of healthy polyunsaturated fats, but they’re also high in fiber, containing 5 grams per half fruit. Avocados also contain pantothenic acid, folate, vitamin K, and copper.
  • Chickpeas or garbanzo beans contain 6 grams of fiber in a cup (cooked). They are also a good source of filling protein, as well as iron, potassium, and magnesium. Try them in hummus, salads, or soups.
  • Broccoli is high in fiber at 2.4 grams per cup. With only 6 grams of carbohydrates, a third of broccoli’s carbs come from filling fiber.
  • Popcornis a healthy snack, especially when air-popped at home. It contains 3.6 grams of fiber per cup with 18.6 grams of carbs and 3 grams of protein.

Bonus Filler-Upper: Water

One possible culprit for that nagging feeling of hunger is actually thirst. It’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger, so make sure you stay hydrated all day long. Steadily sip on that water bottle and you may find that your munchies go away.

Eat Complex Carbs

Adding foods with fiber and protein and avoiding those, such as refined grains, that have been stripped of their fiber but are high in simple carbohydrates (and sugars) will help you feel full. While quick-energy, starchy foods may be what you crave when feeling very hungry, they will not satisfy you for long.

A great option for filling up is to round out meals with low-calorie, high-volume veggies like spaghetti squash. High-volume foods take up more room in your stomach, which makes them satiating.

Foods that contain complex carbohydrates—like whole grains, beans, and green vegetables—are slow burners that give your body the sustaining energy it needs. Many of the foods already mentioned, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains, offer complex carbs along with protein and fiber.

  • Old-fashioned oats are a favorite source of whole grains. You can even make oatmeal while you sleep.
  • Spaghetti squash and zucchini can easily be turned into a base for pasta dishes. They are also perfect for sauteing or roasting. Zucchini is excellent on the grill in a kabob as well.
  • Sweet potatoes are a naturally sweet and delicious source of complex carbs with 26 grams per medium 130-gram potato. They are also high in vitamin A and potassium.
  • Whole-grain crackers, pasta, and bread are convenient sources of complex carbohydrates that offer more nutrition than their white, refined counterparts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Choose a small serving of a filling food before bed. If weight loss is your goal, you may want to choose dairy foods that contain casein. Some evidence suggests that consuming foods with casein protein may help to improve your resting metabolic rate.

If you’re hungry, but have a weight-loss goal, choose meals and snacks that are lower in calories, but full of nutrients. Fiber-rich foods (like most fruits and vegetables) and lean proteins (chicken breast, tuna, etc) are great options.

If you follow a plant-based diet, you will still want to look for fiber-rich foods and foods with protein. Quinoa, whole grains, legumes, and tofu are good sources of plant based protein.

How to feel full

Most people know what hunger feels like yet struggle to control it. (Cue the endless trips to the pantry for a handful of chips.) Another approach to managing appetite is to focus on the flip side of hunger: fullness. It’s all about keeping some food in your stomach as long as possible because when your stomach is empty, biological signals of survival kick in to stimulate hunger. So when fullness is sustained, hunger is reduced — a win-win when it comes to healthy eating.

How to feel full

Best snacks to keep you full (and help you cut calories) revealed

Fullness is not always all about the number of calories. Oftentimes, it’s about volume — the amount of food consumed for the same number of calories. Studies continue to show people eat for the amount of food, not calories.

Check out the five filling food categories that can boost your sense of fullness, keeping you satisfied longer: water, air, fiber, protein and fat. All except the protein boost fullness by keeping food in your stomach longer. Protein boosts fullness through a stomach-brain connection, which signals your brain that you are full.

When it comes to foods that fill you up, one size does not fit all. Try them out to see what combination works best for you. Many of the foods are “double duty” and contain two fullness boosters.

Related

Drink more water Are you dehydrated? 9 signs to watch out for

Water

Water is a go-to temporary stomach filler, any time of day. When paired with fiber (naturally found in fruits and vegetables), it’s a one-two punch for fullness. Hunger is often confused with thirst — and drinking a big glass of water can often fix the perceived sense of hunger. Many fruits and vegetables are more than 90 percent water. Load up on:

Author

Professor of Medicine, The University of Melbourne

Disclosure statement

Joseph Proietto is Chair of The medical Advisory Board for Liraglutide 3mg for Novo Nordisk. He receives funding from the NH&MRC.

Partners

University of Melbourne provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation AU.

The need to find fuel to generate energy is a profound drive within the biology of all living organisms: we all need food to survive. So it’s not surprising that our bodies have such a complex system to control food intake, driven by hormones.

Hormone levels also change when we lose weight. As much as we battle to trim down via diets and eating patterns, they’re also the reason most of us will regain the weight we lose – or more.

The body’s system for regulating food intake is coordinated by the hypothalamus, which is located under the midline of the brain, behind the eyes:

How to feel full

Within the hypothalamus are nerve cells that, when activated, produce the sensation of hunger. They do so by producing two proteins that cause hunger: neuropeptide Y (NPY) and agouti-related peptide (AGRP).

Quite close to these nerve cells is another set of nerves that powerfully inhibit hunger. They produce two different proteins that inhibit hunger: cocaine and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (αMSH).

These two sets of nerve cells initiate and send hunger signals to other areas of the hypothalamus. So, whether you feel inclined to eat or not depends on the balance of the activity between these two sets of neurons.

But what determines which set of neurons dominates at any given time?

The activity is mainly controlled by hormones that circulate in the blood. These come from tissues in various parts of the body that deal with energy intake and storage, including the gut (which receives and digests the food), the fat (which stores the energy) and the pancreas (which makes hormones that are involved in energy storage, such as insulin).

Hormones in the blood

Let’s take a closer look at how each of these blood-circulating hormones work.

Ghrelin is made in the stomach. It stimulates hunger by entering the brain and acting on the neurons in the hypothalamus to increase the activity of the hunger-causing nerve cells and reducing the activity of hunger-inhibiting cells. As the stomach empties, the release of ghrelin increases. As soon as the stomach is filled, it decreases.

Insulin-like peptide 5 (ILP-5) was found to stimulate hunger in 2014. It is the second circulating hormone to have this effect and is mainly produced in the colon. But we still don’t know its physiological role.

Cholecystokinin (CCK) is produced in the upper small bowel in response to food and gives a feeling of fullness. It is released soon after food reaches the small bowel. Researchers have found CCK can stop a mouse from eating as soon as it’s injected into the brain.

Peptide YY, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), oxyntomodulin and uroguanilin are all made from the last part of the small bowel and make us feel full. They are released in response to food in the gut.

Leptin is the most powerful appetite-suppressing hormone and is made in fat cells. It was discovered in 1994. The more fat cells we have, the more leptin the body produces.

Amylin, insulin and pancreatic polypeptide are made in the pancreas. Studies in the United States have shown that when insulin enters the brain it inhibits hunger, telling the brain “there is enough energy in the body, take a rest”.

Amylin, discovered in 1981, is made in the same cells that make insulin (the beta cells). It has been shown to inhibit food intake.

The exact role of pancreatic polypeptide is not yet known, but there is evidence that it inhibits hunger.

How to feel full

The hypothalamus also receives signals from pleasure pathways that use dopamine, endocannabinoids and serotonin as messengers, which influence eating behaviour.

Once full, the stomach reduces the desire to eat both by lowering ghrelin production and by sending a message to the hypothalamus. Ghrelin levels reach a low around 30 to 60 minutes after eating.

Levels of hormones that make us feel full – CCK, PYY, GLP-1, amylin and insulin – all increase following a meal to reach a peak about 30 to 60 minutes later.

All the hormones then gradually return to their fasting levels three to four hours after a meal.

How weight loss affects our hormones

Several studies have found that diet-induced weight loss is associated with hormone changes that, together, promote weight regain.

Following weight loss, leptin levels decrease profoundly. Other hormonal changes include increases in circulating ghrelin, GIP and pancreatic polypeptide and reductions in PYY and CCK. Almost all of these changes favour regaining lost weight, by increasing hunger, reducing satiety and improving the capacity to store fat. These hormonal changes seem to be present for at least one year after weight loss, leading to a persistent increase in hunger.

These findings suggest suppressing hunger after weight loss – preferably with a replacement of hormones – may help people maintain their new weight.

Several of these agents have recently been approved by different regulatory bodies in the United States, Europe or Canada, but only one – liraglutide – is a version of one of the naturally occurring appetite suppressants (GLP-1). The ideal medication to maintain weight loss would be a long-acting mixture of three or more of the blood-circulating hormones we examined above: leptin, amylin, GLP-1, PYY, CCK and oxyntomodulin.

But producing such a mixture is proving a considerable challenge, so researchers continue to investigate how this might be done.

This article is part of an occasional series, Chemical Messengers, on hormones and the body.

If hunger is your middle name and hanger follows you like the plague, your diet may be missing the ingredients that deliver sustainable energy and help keep big appetites at bay. A telltale sign is still feeling ravenous when you’ve nearly spent your PersonalPoints™ Budget. For a fast fix, start eating the foods that can help you feel full longer —so you spend your days satisfied instead of scrounging for random snacks.

Here are six science-backed picks to add more staying power to your meals and snacks:

1. Oatmeal

Prospective short term studies suggest oatmeal consumption helps lower body mass index and body weight . Why? One reason is that oats are rich in soluble fiber, a type of fiber that becomes viscous and gel-like when combined with liquid, says Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RD, coauthor of Eat Clean, Stay Lean: The Diet and owner of Bazilian’s Health in San Diego. The oats are thought to impact appetite-reducing hormones which makes it more likely you’ll eat less, and they empty out of your stomach at a slower rate than simple carbs such as found in a doughnut, for example.

But there’s one important caveat: Because soluble fiber needs liquid to thicken up, oats seem to be the most filling when they’re cooked in water or milk to make oatmeal. “A muffin or breakfast bar made with oats probably won’t have the same level of effect, since they don’t have as much water,” Bazilian says.

Looking for a quick breakfast option that’s also portable? Try WW’s oatmeal cups —each of the three flavors are packed with extra protein and can be ready in under two minutes!

2. Beans

Toss them into salad, use them in soup, or puree them into a dip. Adding beans and legumes like chickpeas, black beans, and lentils to a meal increases satiety by an average of 31% , according to a recent scientific review published in the journal Obesity .

When it comes to fullness, these tiny powerhouses seem to pack a one-two punch. They are complex carbohydrates, which deliver energy and they are rich in fiber. But they also have protein, which takes longer to process—which helps you stay satisfied for longer. “It’s a slow, sustained release of blood sugar, which can lengthen satiety,” Bazilian says.

3. Non-starchy vegetables

Veggies like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, peppers, and celery have low energy density. That means that they deliver relatively few calories for their serving size—but because they’re high in water and fiber, they have more volume and take up more space in your stomach. “If you choose foods that have a lower density of calories in each bite, you’ll get a bigger portion for your calorie needs,” says Barbara Rolls, PhD, director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State University and author of The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet .

Case in point: You’d have to eat more than two cups of cooked baby spinach to consume 100 calories, but you’d get the same amount of calories from just 1 measly tablespoon of butter. Which do you think would fill you up more?

4. Eggs

Have them in the morning, and you just might feel fuller all day long. One study found that women who were overweight reported that they consumed less food for up to 36 hours when they ate eggs for breakfast , compared to when they ate bagels. (Talk about incredible, right?)

That could be because eggs are packed with protein, which digests at a slower rate than carbohydrate-based foods to help keep you satisfied longer, Bazilian says. (A large egg delivers 6 g protein.) But that’s not all. A small study also suggests that eggs could suppress the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin , which could help nix the urge to nosh.

5. Greek yogurt

A cup of Greek yogurt delivers around 22 g protein, which can help reduce the desire to eat and keep you feeling full for longer. What’s more, it’s relatively high in water, so it adds volume in your stomach. Combined, those two things will keep you satisfied, Bazilian says.

Of course, not all yogurts are created equal. Plain yogurt is a better choice than the flavored stuff, since it’s free of added sugars which, in excess, have been linked to increased risk for disease.

6. Brothy soup

Starting with a soup can help curb calorie intake at mealtime, some studies show. Like non-starchy vegetables, soups have a low-calorie density—all that liquid will help fill you up for relatively few calories, Rolls says.

The key is sticking with broth- or tomato-based soups instead of cream-based ones. Think minestrone or butternut squash. For even more staying power—like if you’re having soup for a meal—consider adding a source of lean protein like shredded chicken, Rolls says.

Curb hunger with these appetite-suppressing eats.

How to feel full

Has your stomach ever growled in anticipation of lunch, even though you just ate breakfast? At some point, we’ve all fallen victim to an unexplained raging appetite, which can lead to eating snacks that are high in calories, sugar and fat—and, of course, weight gain. But instead of popping pills that’ll supposedly curb hunger, turn to something surprising: food. It sounds contradictory, but eating can actually suppress your appetite—as long as you choose the right foods. Try one of these extra-satisfying eats to keep your appetite in check.

How to feel full

There’s a reason people are clucking about eggs lately. A recent study from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA, found that overweight people who ate eggs for breakfast take longer to get hungry later. 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. “Eggs are a perfect combination of protein and fat, so they’re more satisfying than other breakfast foods,” says Julie Kaye, MPH, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian in New York City. Worried about cholesterol? Don’t be. “Despite the high content in yolks, eggs aren’t the main culprit in raising blood cholesterol,” explains Kaye. If you’re still concerned, try liquid egg whites, which also contain protein and can stave off hunger.

How to feel full

The green, creamy flesh of an avocado isn’t just tasty—it’s also filled with fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. In other words, avocados might be the perfect fill-you-up food. “Foods high in fiber and rich in fat take longer to digest, allowing you to experience less overall hunger—and possibly take in fewer calories,” says Erin Palinski, RD, CDE, LDN, CPT, author of the forthcoming Belly Fat Diet for Dummies. Research also shows that avocados’ oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, tells your brain that your stomach is full. Just remember that, nutritious as they are, avocados are high in calories—stick to snacking on half the fruit (about 140 calories) each time.

How to feel full

A serving of beans, lentils, chickpeas or even peanuts delivers the right feel-full combo of lean protein, complex carbs and good fats. According to Julie McGinnis, MS, RD, a registered dietitian, certified herbalist and owner of The Gluten Free Bistro in Boulder, CO, research has shown that this trio can keep blood sugar stable. “And stable blood sugar means getting a full feeling—and keeping it,” she says.

How to feel full

This potent spice is a proven appetite suppressant. Researchers from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, found that people who added half a teaspoon of the red pepper to a meal ate 60 fewer calories at their next meal. Bonus: Sprinkling half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper over some food can cause your body to burn an extra 10 calories. Ay, caramba!

How to feel full

There are lots of reasons to raise your glass for water. H2O is critical for keeping organs, joints, tissues and the digestive system functioning well, but it can also curb hunger, says Elizabeth DeRobertis, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, a registered dietitian in Harrison, NY. In fact, one study showed that participants who drank two cups of water before a meal ate 75 – 90 fewer calories than people who drank no water at all.

How to feel full

Rich in calcium and low in sugar, Greek yogurt is protein-packed—a typical six-ounce serving has 15 – 20 grams, which is twice the amount in regular yogurt and about the same as in a piece of lean meat. “The protein in foods is one of the main factors in feeling satisfied,” says Kaye. “Protein-rich foods also contain some fat in varying amounts, which also keeps you full for a longer period.”

How to feel full

Eat more soup, experience fewer cravings? Absolutely, according to recent research from Pennsylvania State University. In the study, women who ate a serving of low-calorie chicken and rice soup as a morning snack (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!) ate 100 fewer calories at lunch than women who started their day with chicken-and-rice casserole. You can thank soup’s high water content for that full feeling—though the fiber-filled veggies and hot temperature don’t hurt (dietitians say that sipping warm liquids can curb your appetite). Make sure to slurp broth-based soups, not creamy ones, which can be fatty and highly caloric, says DeRobertis.

How to feel full

  • Food can induce feel-good chemicals in the same way as drugs and alcohol
  • Evolution, competition and ingestion analgesia are factors in pleasure of eating
  • Being full feels satisfying compared with gnawing, rumbling hunger pains
  • Diet and Nutrition
  • Thanksgiving
  • Health and Fitness
  • Cognitive Science

(CNN) — On Thanksgiving, many of us will eat way more than normal and then waddle away contented, with a turkey and sweet potato buzz.

Having a belly stuffed with comforting food can feel like a warm hug from the inside.

Evolution has given us the instinct to eat a lot every time we can, preparing for hard times. It’s the drive to survive, like puffy-cheeked squirrels storing up for the winter. It’s also fueled by competition: beating the others to the food.

Our brains reward us for it, by releasing pleasure chemicals — in the same way as drugs and alcohol, experts say.

Scientists studying that good feeling after eating call it ingestion analgesia, literally pain relief from eating.

“There are reward circuits to make you enjoy eating,” said Roger Cone, professor and chairman of molecular physiology and biophysics at Vanderbilt University. “If we didn’t eat, we wouldn’t survive.”

The rewarding feeling ensured survival of the species.

“For most animals and most of human history, we have not had excess of calories,” Cone said. “Animals and humans had to work harder to survive. But now, with unlimited calories everywhere for most people and a great reduction in the amount of physical activity, we’ve become obese.”

Despite the modern environment bombarded by appetizing ads and fast food, the wiring in the human brain hasn’t changed. The reward circuits in the brain release chemicals that comfort and satisfy.

Having such easy access to fat, salt and sugar is a recent development in the human timeline, said Gary Wenk, author of “Your Brain on Food.” “Our bodies reward us big time for ingesting these kinds of things. When we find them, we consume them as much as possible because we think we don’t know when we’ll see it again. Cognitively, we know it’s not true.”

The body rewards fatty, salty, sugary foods by releasing endogenous opioids, which help control pain. A study published in Nature Neuroscience this year suggested that high-fat, high-calorie foods affect the brain in much the same way as cocaine and heroin. When rats consume these foods in great enough quantities, it leads to compulsive eating habits that resemble drug addiction, the study found.

Although eating as much as possible helped mankind survive in lean times, it is not so advantageous now.

Being full feels satisfying compared with the gnawing, rumbling hunger pains. Food replaces that emptiness with a sleepy, relaxing comfort, which some of us know as a food coma. It settles over the body as hormones are released and blood is diverted to digestion, said Barbara Rolls, author of the “Volumetrics Eating Plan,” a diet plan based on feeling full, known scientifically as satiety.

“We start off feeling not good and grumpy, then you eat and feel good,” she said.

The body has natural cues to tell us to stop eating; it’s a matter of whether we listen.

When food travels through the stomach, it has to be digested to move into the upper small intestine. Once it gets to this part, the intestines release a hormone to tell the brain to stop eating now, said Wenk, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Ohio State University.

As food intake increases, the stomach becomes full, the blood glucose levels change, and the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, calms down. That feeling of satiety should end the meal.

Despite these cues, diners often ignore them.

“Even when you’re completely overfilled and you can’t eat another bite, when something is tasty, you continue eating,” Wenk said.

Rolls, a professor of national science at Pennsylvania State University, has this advice: “I advocate people need to not eat as their meal is the last one.”

Here are some tips:

• Eat when you feel a little hungry, but don’t wait until you feel ravenous, because you’ll probably overeat.

• Stop eating when you’re pleasantly full.

• Try this exercise: Assess on a scale between one and 10 how you hungry you feel (with one as very hungry and 10 as extremely full). During the meal, periodically pause to figure out where you are on this scale, and stop if you’re at five.

How to feel full

We have heard that high-protein meals seem to fill people up faster. But why? Healthcentral breaks down the science behind protein and its benefits for weight loss and satiety.

How to feel full

Scientists have long known that meals high in protein seem to make people feel full faster, but until now they have never been able to pin down exactly why. Research published in the journal Cell seems to have cracked the code. But first, it’s probably helpful to understand how your body tells you it’s full.

How to feel full

The food you eat is modulated through mu-opioid receptors (MORs) on nerves found in the walls of the portal vein – a major blood vessel that drains blood from the gut. Food modulation is simply the process by which your body communicates to your brain that you have just eaten something. How food is modulated will dictate how full a specific food makes you feel.

How to feel full

When stimulated, these MORs in the portal vein enhance food intake by telling the brain to eat more. When the MORs are blocked or suppressed, the brain is triggered to limit food consumption; resulting in that ‘full feeling’ after big meals.

How to feel full

What scientists found in the Cell study is that the products of digested protein — peptides — can actually block the MORs, which, as we noted, curbs the appetite. Specifically, these protein-created peptides send signals to the brain that are transmitted back to the gut. The gut is then stimulated to release glucose, which suppresses the desire to eat. Studies are now underway in humans to treat obese people with binge eating disorder with a blocker of the MOR system.

How to feel full

To tease out exactly what causes the protein-induced ‘full-feeling’, scientists used mice that were genetically engineered to lack the MORs. When these mice were fed high-protein foods, the peptides did not stimulate the normal release of glucose that would happen in mice with MORs, nor did the genetically altered mice show signs of being full. This pointed to the MOR response as the key in determining the body’s satiated, or “full”, feeling.

How to feel full

MORs are also present in the neurons lining the walls of the portal veins in humans, so high protein foods will make you feel full. To take advantage of your body’s food modulation response to proteins, make protein a part of every meal.

How to feel full

The best sources of high-quality protein to include at each meal and snack are animal protein sources such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Packed with protein, these foods will help you to feel fuller for longer so that you aren’t hungry soon after a meal.

How to feel full

The proteins found in plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds, beans, and soy products can also help to fill you up. Add nuts, seeds, or beans to your salad to increase the protein content of your meal. Add a nut butter such as natural peanut or almond butter to your apple slices to provide a satisfying snack.

How to feel full

Finally, it also helps to enjoy your meals and snacks slowly. Food modulation takes time so there is a natural lag between the moment you start eating and the moment your brain begins to sense that it is full. Eating slowly will help you avoid overeating.

Transcript

SPEAKER: Thanksgiving dinner– turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, more turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, even more turkey– ugh!

Still have room for pie?

For now, unbutton your eating pants, flop on the couch, and let’s learn why you feel so full after a big meal.

Part of the reason is physical. Your stomach can stretch to a volume of about one liter. That’s about the size of a burrito. When you eat a big meal, you fill your stomach to its limits, squeezing against your other organs, and making your abdomen feel well, full. Your stomach and intestines also fill with gases that you eat, adding to that swollen sensation. Each time you swallow, a bit of air goes along for the ride, even more if you’re drinking soda or beer.

Inside your stomach, the gas that makes your drink fizzy, fills more space than the liquid it came in. Fortunately, your body has a good way of getting rid of the excess gas built up in your stomach.

For some people, another uncomfortable result of a big meal is heartburn. The stomach produces hydrochloric acid to break down food. More food to breakdown, means more acid, which can irritate the lining of the stomach, and creep into the esophagus, leading to that burning feeling.

Antacid tablets use bases. Remember the opposite of an acid is a base, like calcium carbonate, to neutralize the acid. That reaction produces more carbon dioxide, which can increase that full feeling, at least until your next burp.

The other part of feeling full is mental. When you’ve had enough to eat, the body’s messenger molecules, hormones, let the brain knows it’s time to stop. Bro? Bro? It’s time to stop.

When you eat a high calorie meal, cells in your intestines secrete a hormone called a peptide tyrosine-tyrosine, or PYY. Not PYT, that’s a Michael Jackson song. When PYY reaches the brain, it binds with receptors that give you the feeling that you’re full, maybe even a little queasy. Ugh. Some hormones react more strongly to meals heavy in fats, carbohydrates, or proteins. But they all serve the same purpose– to get you to put down that fork.

So the next time your mom asks if you want seconds, maybe take a minute to listen to what your body’s trying to tell you. Or just keep stuffing your face. I don’t care, really. But don’t be surprised if you’re not feeling so good after.

Swap out some carbs for the fiber-rich fruit, and you won’t feel famished before lunchtime.

How to feel full

How to feel full

  • Avocados contain high amounts of fiber and healthy fats, both of which can slow digestion and improve satiety.
  • Meals that replace some carbs with avocado are more satisfying, provide better blood sugar control, and can suppress hunger for hours, according to a new study published in the journal Nutrients.
  • The avocados appeared to suppress hunger by stimulating something called peptide YY (PYY), an appetite-regulating gut hormone.

When it comes to our meals, most of us have one goal (aside from deliciousness, of course): to feel satisfied. One way to increase that satisfaction and stave off hunger is to manipulate your macros—fat, protein, and carbs—to slow digestion, control blood sugar spikes, and manage hunger hormones.

How to feel full

Though there’s no one correct combination for everyone, a new study published in the journal Nutrients finds that adding more avocado into the mix could be a simple solution for some.

The study released by the Center for Nutrition Research at Illinois Institute of Technology reports that meals including fresh avocado as a substitute for refined carbohydrates can significantly suppress hunger and increase meal satisfaction without adding or subtracting calories.

The researchers chose to test avocados because they’re a unique fruit that contains both fats and fiber, both of which are known to slow digestion. One medium Hass avocado contains 13.3 grams monounsaturated fat and 10 grams of fiber.

To test the satiating effect of more avocado and fewer carbs in a meal, the researchers gave a group of 31 adults—average age 38 with an average body mass index (BMI) of 29— one of three varieties of bagel sandwich: One with a whole bagel spread with a butter/cream cheese spread and topped with lettuce (76 percent carbs, 14 percent fat, and 12 percent protein); one slightly hollowed out bagel with less spread and half an avocado worked in (51 percent carbs, 40 percent fat, and 12 percent protein); and one with a considerably hollowed out bagel, less spread, and a full avocado worked in (50 percent carbs, 43 percent fat, and 10 percent protein). All of the breakfasts delivered roughly the same number of calories, about 630.

For six hours after the meal, the researchers assessed fullness, hunger, satisfaction, energy levels, and drew blood to measure insulin, blood sugar, and other hormone levels related to hunger and appetite.

The researchers found that meals including avocado appeared to stimulate the appetite regulating gut hormone peptide YY (PYY), and also reduced hunger and increased how satisfied the volunteers felt after eating.

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The avocado eaters also experienced significantly fewer insulin and blood sugar spikes. Insulin iAUC (a measure of blood sugar increases) was 31 percent lower in those eating the whole avocado meal compared to the volunteers who had the breakfast sandwich sans avocado.

Now, funding for the study was supported by the Haas Avocado Board—who obviously have vested interest in making sure you’re loading up on the tasty green fruit—but the study did undergo peer review before publishing, and its findings do fall in line with previous research without the avocado slant. In fact, a study by UC Irvine pharmacologists found that unsaturated fatty acids, specifically oleic acid, like those found in nuts, olive oil, and avocados, stimulate the production of a hunger curbing chemical messenger called OEA. Follow up research found that people ate less after eating bread with oils rich in oleic acid on it.

Plus, the study population was healthy, but not necessarily active. So there’ll be times when you may want more toast than avocado to crush a big ride. But on days you are riding your desk chair instead? It may be good to have strategies on hand for manipulating your diet to keep you full to lunch.

How to maintain a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is a diet that contains differing kinds of foods in certain quantities and proportions so that the requirement for calories, proteins, minerals, vitamins and alternative nutrients is adequate and a small provision is reserved for additional nutrients to endure the short length of leanness. In addition, a balanced diet ought to offer bioactive phytochemicals like dietary fiber, antioxidants and nutraceuticals that have positive health advantages. A balanced diet should offer around 60-70% of total calories from carbohydrates, 10-12% from proteins and 20-25% of total calories from fat.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF A BALANCED DIET

  • Healthy eating increases energy, improves the way your body functions, strengthens your immune system and prevents weight gain. The other major benefits are:
  • Meets your nutritional need. A varied, balanced diet provides the nutrients you need to avoid nutritional deficiencies.
  • Prevent and treat certain diseases. Healthful eating can prevent the risk of developing certain diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. It is also helpful in treating diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Following a special diet can reduce symptoms, and may help you better manage an illness or condition.
  • Feel energetic and manage your weight. A healthy diet will assist you to feel higher, provide you with more energy, and help you fight stress.
  • Food is the mainstay of many social and cultural events. Apart from nutrition properties, it helps facilitate connections between individuals.

HERE ARE SOME GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR HEALTHY EATING

  • The most important rule of healthy eating is not skipping any meal. Skipping meals lowers your metabolic rate. Normal eating includes 3 major meals and 2 snacks between meals. Also, Never skip breakfast. It is the foremost vital meal of the day.
  • Learn simple ways to prepare food. Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean complicated eating. Keep meal preparation easy, eat more raw foods such as salads, fruits and vegetable juices, and focus on the pleasure of eating healthy food rather than the calories.
  • It is important to stop when you feel full. This will help you maintain your weight to an extent. This also will help you remain alert and feeling your best.
  • Drink lots of water. Keep a bottle of water near you while working, watching TV, etc.
  • Variety of foods should be used in the menu. No single food has all the nutrients.
  • To improve the cereal and pulse protein quality, a minimum ratio of cereal protein to pulse protein should be 4:1. In terms of the grains, it will be eight parts of cereals and one part of pulses.
  • Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
  • Keep a supply of healthy snacks to hand. This will stop you from eating an unhealthy snack when hungry.
  • Remove all visible fat from food before you cook it – take the skin off chicken and trim the white fat off any meat.
  • Limit stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and refined sugar.
  • Limit the number of times you eat out to once a week. Take your own packed lunch to work.
  • Only eat things you like the taste of – find what works for you and don’t force yourself to eat things just because they’re good for you.

HEALTHY COOKING TIPS

With today’s fast life, cooking a meal in the traditional style is extinct. People mostly opt for eating less healthy fast foods, ready to eat meal packets, etc. To make a healthy meal, the most important thing is to cook it at your home, rather than opting for outside cooked food. Explore healthy ways to add variety to your meals as repetition can cause boredom. Infuse your diet with the excitement and good taste you crave for. Here are a few suggestions for cooking healthily.

Having to choose healthy food does not mean you need to give up on your favorites. Think of how you can turn your favorites into a healthy option. For instance:

  • Decrease the meat and add more vegetables to your dishes.
  • Use whole wheat flour instead of refined flour when you bake.
  • Blot your fried foods to take off the extra oil.
  • Use low-fat yogurt instead of mayonnaise
  • Add cut fruits to your curd, rather than having flavored yogurt
  • Try to skim milk instead of a normal one.
  • Use non-stick cookware to reduce the need for oil to cook.
  • Microwave or steam your vegetables rather than boiling to avoid loss of nutrients.
  • Fats in your foods should be maintained a minimum.
  • Choose lean meats and skim dairy products. Fats are good in the form of nuts, seeds, fish, olives when they are accompanied by other nutrients. Some amount of fats while cooking is good as to help the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
  • If you wish to use oil, try cooking sprays or apply oil with a pastry brush. Cook in liquids (such as vegetable stock, lemon juice, fruit juice, vinegar or water) instead of oil. Use low-fat yogurt, low-fat soymilk evaporated skim milk or cornstarch as a thickener instead of cream.
  • Choose to scrub the vegetables than peel as there are many nutrients in the skin. When you have to boil the vegetables, retain the vitamin-rich water and use it as a stock in another preparation.
  • Switch to a reduced salt wholemeal or wholegrain bread.
  • For sandwiches, limit your use of spreads high in saturated fat like butter and cream cheese; replace with scrapings of spread or alternative nut spreads or low-fat cheese spreads or avocado. Choose reduced-fat ingredients like low-fat cheese or salad dressing.
  • Add a lot of vegetables to your sandwich to make it healthier.

Why does breakfast make us want to eat more? Our nutritionist explains.

How to feel full

We’ve all heard it a million times before: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But why is it that for so many of us, eating a hearty breakfast makes us hungrier? And why are people increasingly turning to intermittent fasting and skipping breakfast altogether?

We spoke to nutritionist Jackie Lynch about why eating breakfast sometimes makes us hungrier and what we should eat instead.

Why am I hungrier when I eat breakfast than when I skip it?

The reason why blood sugar crashes is because the breakfast itself was either high in sugar or refined carbohydrate – or both. Foods like this cause a spike in your blood sugar – and what goes up must come down! If you’re absolutely starving two to three hours after breakfast, it’s simply because your blood sugar has dropped.

So what should I eat for breakfast?

There are two nutrients you need to eat to maintain blood sugar levels: fibre and protein. Fibre is found in wholegrain foods, such as wholemeal bread and wholemeal oats. These are slow-release carbohydrates, so your body burns through them more slowly, meaning they offer longer lasting energy. Protein is hard to digest, so this slows down the release of the carbohydrates, which provides sustained energy and keeps you fuller for longer.

The trick is to decide what you sway towards in the morning. Are you a toast, cereal or cooked breakfast kind of person?

‘There are two nutrients you need to eat to maintain blood sugar levels: fibre and protein.’

If you’re a toast lover, make sure it’s wholemeal or rye because this contains far more fibre than white toast, then add protein. The obvious thing would be an egg because it’s a great source of protein, but for some people this is just too much hassle in the morning. Try unsweetened nut butter if this is the case for you. Peanut or almond butters are great sources of protein, but make sure they have no added sugar otherwise you will have the same problem: a sugar spike.

If you prefer cereal, take a look at the label and check that it doesn’t have a load of added sugar. It’s also important to check that it isn’t full of refined carbohydrates. The best way of checking this is by looking at both the ingredients list (avoid anything that says refined or enriched) and checking the fibre content. You want at least 5 grams of fibre per serving.

‘The trick is to decide are you a toast, cereal or cooked breakfast kind of person?’

Chances are your solution will be the kind of cereal that doesn’t contain much sugar or refined carbohydrate. If you’re still not sure, look for anything with less than 5g of sugar per 100g, as this is considered low. Then, add protein to your cereal with seeds, such as pumpkin or flaxseeds, or even unsweetened, natural yogurt (again be mindful of sugar content).

Porridge is a fantastic way to start the day – it’s made from oats, which are a complex carbohydrate, and you can simply add nuts or seeds to ramp up the protein content. These breakfasts will keep you fuller for longer and maintain blood sugar levels, which means no morning crash where you want to reach for a coffee and the biscuit tin.

How to feel full

What if I’m still hungry after a high-protein breakfast?

The same applies: your blood sugar levels have dropped again. Some people have more sensitive glycemic levels, so their blood sugars can be more reactive than others – so if you need to snack, it’s all about getting protein and fibre. A good snack would be to have an apple or satsuma with a small handful of almonds or walnuts – around ten nuts maybe.

How long should I wait to eat after waking up?

You should eat soon after you wake up – bear in mind that you haven’t eaten for about 11 hours so you should be hungry. It’s all down to your routine – so many of us dash out of the house in a rush. But it’s important to fuel yourself before you do that.

How to feel full

If I’m not hungry at all when I wake up, what should I do?

After 9 or 10 hours of not eating, you really should wake up hungry. Think about what you’ve eaten the night before because you may have a blood sugar imbalance – especially if you feel slightly nauseous. Having foods that are high in sugar, refined carbohydrate, caffeine or alcohol will all lead to a blood sugar spike, resulting in the release of insulin and a subsequent drop in blood sugar, which can often mean you feel pretty ropey in the morning. The trick is to maintain even blood sugar levels over the course of the evening, by eating a balanced meal of protein and complex carbohydrate (e.g. vegetables or wholegrains) and avoiding sugar, refined carbs and stimulants.

‘Not hungry? Hunger is often masked as other things.’

If you really can’t face eating, encourage yourself to drink instead, with the goal of training yourself to have a little something. A good option would be a smoothie with some leafy green veg, like spinach, berries and seeds.

There are some exceptions when intermittent fasting regimes mean you leave a longer window overnight and this is beneficial to some people in certain circumstances. Make sure when you do first eat in the day it is a nutritious meal with good levels of protein and fibre.

How to feel full

Shouldn’t I just be listening to my body?

Yes, listen to your body, but also watch out for misleading signals. Hunger is often masked as other things. For example, if you’re dehydrated your body might make you think you’re hungry when actually all you need is a glass of water. And feeling slightly sick at the idea of breakfast could again be down to the food you ate the night before. Your body doesn’t always ask for what it needs clearly. So work on getting in tune with it so you know how to read its signals properly.

A full liquid diet is made up only of fluids and foods that are normally liquid and foods that turn to liquid when they are at room temperature, like ice cream. It also includes:

  • Strained creamy soups
  • Tea
  • Juice
  • Jell-O
  • Milkshakes
  • Pudding
  • Popsicles

You cannot eat solid foods when you are on a full liquid diet.

Why You May Need This Diet

You may need to be on a full liquid diet right before a medical test or procedure, or before certain kinds of surgery. It is important to follow the diet exactly to avoid problems with your procedure or surgery or your test results.

You also may need to be on a full liquid diet for a little while after you have had surgery on your stomach or intestine. You may also need to be on this diet if you are having trouble swallowing or chewing. If you are prescribed this diet for dysphagia (swallowing problems), your speech pathologist will give you more specific guidelines. Sometimes the full liquid diet is a step between a clear liquid diet to your regular diet.

What You Can Eat and Drink

You can eat or drink only things that are liquid. You may have these foods and drinks:

  • Water
  • Fruit juices, including nectars and juices with pulp
  • Butter, margarine, oil, cream, custard, and pudding
  • Plain ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sherbet
  • Fruit ices and popsicles
  • Sugar, honey, and syrups
  • Soup broth (bouillon, consommГ©, and strained cream soups, but no solids)
  • Sodas, such as ginger ale and Sprite
  • Gelatin (Jell-O)
  • Boost, Ensure, Resource, and other liquid supplements
  • Tea or coffee with cream or milk and sugar or honey

Ask your doctor or dietitian if you can include these foods in your full liquid diet:

  • Cooked, refined cereals, such as cream of rice, oatmeal, grits, or farina (Cream of Wheat)
  • Strained meats, like the ones in baby food
  • Potatoes pureed in soup

Do not eat any kind of cheese, fruit (fresh, frozen, or canned), meat, and cereals that are not on your “OK” list.

Also, do not eat raw or cooked vegetables. And, do not eat ice cream or other frozen desserts that have any solids in them or on top, such as nuts, chocolate chips, and cookie pieces.

Try having a mix of 5 to 7 of the foods you can eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Liquid foods do not include mashed foods, such as mashed potato or avocado.

Eating only a full liquid diet can give you enough energy, protein, and fat. But it does not give you enough fiber. Also, you may not get all the vitamins and minerals you need. So, your doctor may recommend that you take certain vitamins and supplements.

This diet is safe for people with diabetes, but only when they are followed closely by their doctor.

Adding More Calories

For most people on a full liquid diet, the goal is to get 1,350 to 1,500 calories and 45 grams of protein a day.

If you need to be on a full liquid diet for a long time, you will need to be under the care of a dietitian. Ask your doctor if you can eat these foods together to add calories:

  • Nonfat dry milk added to your drinks
  • Protein powders or liquid or powdered egg whites added to drinks
  • Instant breakfast powder added to milk, puddings, custards, and milkshakes
  • Strained meats (like the ones in baby food) added to broths
  • Butter or margarine added to hot cereal and soups
  • Sugar or syrup added to beverages

Alternative Names

Surgery – full liquid diet; Medical test – full liquid diet

References

Pham AK, McClave SA. Nutritional management. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 6.

No confusion necessary

How to feel full

It should be simple to tell whether you’re hungry, but that often just isn’t the case. So many things can masquerade as hunger and have you reaching for a snack before you realize you don’t physically need one. “Many people struggle with ‘head hunger’—confusing wanting to eat with needing to eat,” says Michelle May, M.D., founder of Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Programs and author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. “We use food to entertain, distract, comfort, and calm us.”

Eating when you’re physically hungry—as opposed to for any other reason—is beneficial in various ways, says May. You’ll consume less food because, rather than eating until the food is gone, your physical satiation cues will tell you when to stop. Since you’re not turning to food when you’re stressed or bored, you’re more likely to go for options that are actually good for you. It’ll taste better (“hunger really is the best seasoning!” says May), and you’ll feel more satisfied. Best of all, by paying attention to whether you’re physically hungry, you can tackle any other urge to eat in a more effective way than with a binge. Here’s how you can determine whether you’re actually hungry or just fooling yourself.

Eat Mindfully
“Mindful eating is eating with intention and attention,” says May. Rather than eating distractedly, do so with the intention to fuel your body with care and with enough attention to recognize how foods affect your body. “Mindfulness helps you reconnect with your instinctive signals of hunger and fullness so you can manage your eating naturally without restrictive dieting or obsessing over every bite of food you put in your mouth,” says May.

Ask Yourself This Question
When you’re feeling the urge to eat, pause for a bit and ask yourself, “Am I hungry?” It’s not about deciding if you’re allowed to eat but getting to the bottom of why you want to. “You don’t pull into every gas station you see,” says May. “You check your fuel gauge first.” So how do you know the answer to this all-important question? “Do a brief body-mind-heart scan, and look for physical symptoms of hunger,” says May. Specifically, watch out for: hunger pangs; growling or grumbling; gnawing; an empty, hollow, or slightly queasy feeling; weakness or loss of energy; trouble concentrating; difficulty making decisions; light-headedness; a slight headache; shakiness; and irritability or crankiness. “Hunger is physical,” says May. “It’s not a thought, a craving, or a rationalization.” Running through this checklist will really clue you in to whether the physical evidence for your hunger is there.

Identify Your Triggers
We live in a food-obsessed world, so sneaky faux-hunger triggers are abundant. “We’ve learned to associate various situations with eating,” says May. She cites a few common examples: seeing food or other people eating it, mealtimes, even certain people or places, and activities like watching a sports game, movie, or TV show. Then there’s the emotional factor. “You might comfort or reward yourself for a stressful day with a couple of bowls of ice cream,” says May. The thing is, as she says, “when a craving doesn’t come from hunger, eating doesn’t satisfy it.” Think about times you’re inclined to eat even when you can honestly answer the “Am I hungry?” question with a solid “no.” It’s not about avoiding those situations altogether but acknowledging what’s likely to make you overeat and using a few tricks to reel yourself in.