How to eat less and avoid hunger?

How to eat less and avoid hunger?

Do you want to be less hungry on a given amount of calories? Calorie density and satiety are 2 important concepts to orientate towards.

Calorie density

Calorie density is a measure of the calorie content of food relative to its weight or volume. It is also called energy density, and is usually measured as calories per 100 grams.

100 grams of grapes is 40 kcal. 100 grams of raisins is 300 kcal. Raisins are more calorie dense.

Fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and cooked grains as well as lean meats, poultry, fish, and beans are low-calorie dense foods because they provide a small amount of calories in a large volume of food. On the opposite end of the spectrum are high-energy dense foods; foods that provide a large amount of calories in a very small volume, like nuts, chocolate, cheese etc.

Eating bigger volume of food helps to reduce hunger.

Satiety index

Foods that have a higher satiety index keep hunger down longer.

Some foods like croissants are only half as satisfying as white bread, while potatoes are more than three times as satisfying, but French fries do not score well. As a group, fruits ranked at the top for foods to choose with a satiety index 1.7 times higher than white bread. Here are some examples.

This stuff is under-researched, so do not take it close to the heart, but bear this in mind.

Most probably, your own satiety index will slightly differ from the suggested.

Take home:

The higher satiety index and the lower calorie density foods you eat, the fewer calories you will eat overall. Choose food that is:

  • high in water
  • high in fiber
  • high in protein

Notice, these foods will be moderately palatable – not super tasty.

Whereas if you chose very palatable foods, like pizza or cake, not only it will be high-calorie per-portion, it will also be hard to stop eating even after the point of satiety!

Has it ever happened to you that you do not feel hunger any more, but continue eating?

Example

You can notice that 500 kcal of cookie is an average cookie. Not a huge one. It does not make you full and does not last long. You are hungry soon again after eating it. It is very calorie dense.

500 kcal of salad is shit load of salad. If you eat 500 kcal of vegetables, you’ll be stuffed. Not for long though. Salad is low calorie dense. But is not very satiating.

If you eat a balanced meal consisting of lean protein, moderate amount of fat, fiber and starch (For example, chicken breast with a few potatoes and broccoli with butter) for the amount of 500 kcal, you will be reasonably full and it will last for longer. As a result, you will eat fewer calories in total.

 

Further reading on hunger and satiety:

Ecellent book on amazon.

I wrote a post about it here.

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