by Angela Reed-Fox
Satiety is the fullness you feel after a meal. Satiety is important as it affects how frequently and how much you eat. Understanding satiety and the satiety levels offered by different foods will help you reach and maintain a healthy body shape.
If we don't understand satiety and just try to restrict our food intake, we'll find that we spend much of the time being hungry - and life should be better than that!
By gaining a better understanding of satiety we will be able to eat in such a way that hunger between meals is reduced - and we won't be tempted to go for an off-piste snack!
What happens when we're satiated?
You might not think it, but eating and digestion is an incredibly complex process. We eat with our eyes, nose and brain as well as our mouth. We digest not only with our stomach, but our intestines and our mouth too.
When we see or food we have an expectation of how filling it will be. If you try eating less by reducing your usual portions, you may catching yourself thinking "This isn't going to be enough". That's your brain getting the process started.
Satiety is determined not just by your own preconceptions about food, but also what the food looks and smells like, how long it takes to chew, the texture of the food, how it feels when it hits our stomach, and not only this, the hormones that are released in response.
Leptin is a hormone that tells us when we've had enough. Ghrelin is a hormone that makes us feel hungry.
Because our feeling of satiety is dependent on a release of hormones, there can be a time lag between us finishing a meal and feeling full. This signal of fullness, just like the signal of hunger is a prompt. If we feel full we should stop eating - our body has had enough. If we feel hungry, then that's a time to eat. Ignoring these prompts can cause problems in the long term. But how many of us were told to finish the food on our plate regardless of whether we felt we wanted it or not? How often have we continued to eat because something was just too delicious? And how about eating without being hungry - out of boredom, or the need for 'reward' or 'compensation', or because someone else is eating? Or eating because we "don't like to see waste"? (Ultimately it's all going to end up in the same place regardless of whether it's passed through you or not!)
How to use satiety for your benefit