Feeling satisfied after eating a meal without feeling bloated or uncomfortable therefore we will not have the urge to eat for a period of time after our meal. It is the level of nutritional value that is in the meal that is the true indication as to how long this feeling of satisfaction will last. It should last for a minimum of 2 – 2/12 hours and when it comes to our bedtime this is different. As we don’t necessarily want to go to bed on a full stomach.

Our level of feeling full or satisfied after eating a meal is what will help us to manage how much we eat and what we eat. Meaning that if we eat a meal with a healthy amount of protein, vegetables and or salad then our bodies will feel satisfied for longer. The things that will upset this equilibrium is if we mix our proteins with dairy or other cheeses or hard to digest foods: If our meat protein is too large: meat protein should only be the size of the palm of your hand. The rest of your plate should be made up with vegetables such as sweet potato, pumpkin, kale, parsnips, peas, corn etc.

Our level of feeling satisfied is controlled by a number of factors beginning firstly by how we are thinking about how much we need to eat to feel full. It is also about when a food or drink is consumed. It is also a matter of how the food enters the gut and is digested and absorbed. The first process to this is our chewing: so the slower we eat our food, the more effective we are at chewing it thoroughly assists the digestive processes also giving us a feeling of satisfaction.

As this signals  specific areas of the brain in response to the expansion of the stomach, our sensory responses.  This improves the brain’s perceptions of the food and drink consumed.

Hormonal signals are released in response to the digestion and absorption of nutrients. There are also hormones that tell the brain how much fat we have stored in the body, which affect our feeling of satisfaction over the longer term. These signals are integrated in areas of the brain involved in the regulation of energy intake, which lead to the feeling of satiety.

 We may well feel the stomach filling as we eat: However it can take up  15-20 minutes after food is first eaten, for you to feel the whole range of satisfied signals to reach the brain, saying that you have had enough to eat.

Despite all the knowledge about managing our diet and eating habits, people will still tend to eat when they are not hungry. Whilst refraining from eating even when they are hungry. It is beneficial to both your overall health, weight and energy management to eat when you are hungry as this is the body’s way of telling you that it needs nutrients. This can be a problem if someone has a problem with this area of their brain, that may lead them to believe that they are hungry all the time or if people are eating a lot of junk, refined foods, soft drinks, juices, lollies, chips these will lack nutritional value for your body therefore never allowing you to feel fully satisfied.

How to Feel Satisfied whilst Eating a Balanced Diet:

The best way is to begin with Fresh Foods straight from the land, not in a packet or tin or produced on a production line.

  • Healthy high in protein will assist with us feeling satisfied for longer: these include meats such as chicken, nuts, pork, kangaroo, turkey or lean beef, fish, eggs, beans and pulses.
  • The portion size of these proteins especially the chicken, pork, beef, turkey or kangaroo should be that of the size of the palm of your hand. You want to know why, this is the size of your tummy!!!
  • High Fibre foods are full of great nutrition therefore will satisfy you for longer:  include each day one to two serves of  wholegrain bread and cereals, beans and pulses and fruits such as apples, pears including the skin and vegetables.
  • Alcohol seems to stimulate appetite in the short-term and therefore drinking alcohol is likely to encourage us to eat more. However alcoholic beverages are full of empty calories therefore may well have us feeling full without having eaten very much at all. Therefore we will feel hungry very quickly, also it will relax us maybe eliminating the intentions to eat healthy. So for healthy eating and digestion keep drinking of alcohol to a minimum and only a couple of times per week.
  • Drinking of filtered water between meals will help us to feel full for longer, plus also becoming dehydrated will affect our level of satisfaction when it comes to eating and feeling nourished.
  • The ‘energy density’ of food is what we have been talking about and this has a strong influence on our feeling of satisfaction after eating a meal. Energy density is the amount of energy (or calories) per gram of food.
  • Lower energy density foods have less energy per gram of food. We can eat more of these foods without overdoing the calorie count. These foods include fruit and vegetables, foods with lots of water added when cooking such as soups. Other low energy density foods that you can include to help with feeling satisfied without gaining weight or feeling uncomfortable are yogurt, sorbet, natural popcorn, watermelon, rockmelon, honey dew, strawberries and other berries.

The Food you Eat on a Daily basis is the Foundation for Building a Life of Optimal Health & Vitality

Empowering You to Optimal Health      Julie Doherty N.D