Feeling full and satisfied after a meal is typically not something you would associate with a weight loss regimen. But as we have covered extensively on my YouTube Channel, Blogs and in the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle, it's exactly what we NEED to accomplish for long term results.
Today, we're breaking down the key details of what a satiating diet is and how this can actually help with your weight loss goals.
Weight loss without feeling hungry? Oh yes.
How Do You Feel "Full" or "Satiated"?
The feeling of satisfaction after a meal, where you don't feel the urge to eat anymore, largely comes about from the hormonal response the body has to certain foods. The key hormones that dictate whether you will feel satisfied or whether you will want to continue to eat are peptide YY and cholecystokinin (or CCK). There are other hormones to consider, but for the sake of simplicity, these are the main ones we will be discussing today.
Peptide YY is released by the body in response to protein consumption. Cholecystokinin is released in response to fat consumption. Typical proteins include fish, beef, tofu/tempeh, chicken, turkey, pork, lentils, beans, eggs and dairy products. Common fats in the diet include avocado, oils, butter/ghee, cheese, olives, nuts, seeds, animal fats and nut butters.
When you eat foods that are high in these high quality fats and proteins, your body secretes the hormones peptide YY and CCK to tell your brain that you're full. The fats also act on your GI tract to slow it down in order to further promote satiety, nutrient absorption and the feeling of "fullness" for about 3-5 hours after a meal.
On the other hand, foods that are higher in carbohydrates (typically refined starches/sugars or grains) cause the body to secrete an opposing hormone called insulin. These higher glycemic foods have been found to reduce satiety and therefore make you feel hungry faster. (1) Typically this hunger will result within 1-2 hours after a meal, an example of very low satiety.
How Can Feeling "Full" Help With Weight Loss?
A sense of satiety after your meals helps you achieve your weight loss goals from a variety of fronts. First of all, a sense of satiety and eating satiating foods helps to balance blood glucose levels and in turn prevent cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrate dense foods that inhibit weight loss.
By eating until satiated, the body's natural response is to not feel the urge to eat for around 3-5 hours later. This is extremely important in terms of weight loss because it allows the natural dip of insulin between meals. Insulin is our storing hormone and while this is higher, lipolysis (or fat break down) is shut off. Therefore by promoting satiety, you reduce the urge to eat between meals, allow your body to steadily decrease insulin and improve fat burning mechanisms as a result!
The foods that are inherently satiating (remember, protein, fat and to some extent low GI fibers) are also going to be those that promote fat burning. Remember, when insulin is high, fat burning is decreased. However, when insulin is low, fat burning is increased. Protein and fat both have a much smaller insulin response when compared to carbohydrates. Protein has a higher response than fat, however both are much lower than carbohydrates. By focusing your meals around these types of foods, it helps to decrease the insulin response and increase the body's fat burning mechanisms.
In fact, one small 2019 Canadian clinical trial with obese individuals found that a satiating diet emphasizing protein, fat and fiber had more weight loss, more body fat percentage decreases and more long term success when compared to a standard "healthy" diet of 55–60% of calories coming from carbohydrates. (2)
And this is