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How to get the Fullness Factor

Why do some foods satisfy us while others leave us picking? We look at the diet tweaks that can help make it easier to resist between-meal snacking

IT’S NOT EASY TO CONTROL our food intake if we’re always hungry, especially when we’re faced with snacking options everywhere, all the time. The key to ignoring temptation is to eat food that leaves us feeling satisfied, so we find it easier to avoid picking and therefore maintain a healthy weight.

Eating to feel full is a well-researched topic, so we now have a good understanding of the foods and behaviours that work well to fill us up and why. Larger portion sizes, the constant availability of food and even our environment can cause us to overeat, overriding that 15–20 minute delay for our stomach to tell our brain we’re full. ‘It’s a massively complex process involving everything from our eyes to our tummy,’ says HFG nutritionist Amanda Ursell. The trick is to alter our diet and the way we interact with food to keep our tummy happy and our body healthy.


PROTEIN HAS BEEN SINGLED OUT time and again as the most effective way to satisfy our appetite. But there’s more to protein than just filling up our stomach. According to French research, when proteins are digested, the resulting peptides send signals to our brain that set up a chain of events to supress our appetite.

Are you getting your quota in each meal?

More recent, and emerging, research also suggests our bodies have a predetermined ‘protein quota’. Researchers at the University of Sydney suggest we’ll feel hungry and therefore continue to eat until we’ve met our quota for protein – they call this ‘protein leverage’. In practice, this means we may end up eating more calories from a low-protein/high-carb diet than from a high-protein/low-carb diet as our bodies keep us munching until we’ve reached the desired amount of protein. This may go some way to explaining why high-protein/low-carb diets can be effective at filling us up on lower calorie intakes.

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