Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - What fills you up? Bulk, weight or calories?

04-16-2010, 07:47 PM
Since I've been dieting I've been intrigued by this - what do you think really fills you up? Because obviously soup weighs quite a lot but it doesn't always fill you up... but I've noticed when I've eaten higher calorie meals I feel quite full. Rice cakes are very very light but quite bulky, but I haven't eaten enough of those to really know if they fill you up. Occasionally I eat a raw carrot at lunch as it's low in calories and fairly heavy, but I don't know if it's very satisfying by itself. Is my body missing some calories in the same way I'd miss the bulk or weight of food if I tried to eat my calories in just chocolate? ;)

Does considering the weight or bulk of something come into it when you make your selections for your meals? I'm thinking more about breakfast and lunch as they're the hardest meals for me to organise for myself - dinners are easy as I know what a serving is there, and the weight for a ready meal is almost always 350-400g... I'm not articulating what I mean very well here, but I know there are some smart posters on here who might be able to intepret for me!

04-17-2010, 12:06 AM
I feel best when I eat a meal that is "complete" with protein, veg, carb, and a little bit of fat. I very often consider how I can get the most bang for my caloric buck, and I add veg whenever possible to my grain things. I do my best to get as much protein as possible for the calories...lean, lean, lean. One of my favorites is a HUGE pile 3-4 oz. of spinach, topped with quinoa, or bulgur, coius cous, or brown rice that I've added bell peppers, onion, tomato, mushrooms, etc. to and then add some bits of lean meat on top. There's enough moisture from the veg/grain mix that I don't have to add salad dressing, which saves me 60-80 cals which means I can have a little extra meat or some l/f cheese or carb. I always feel extremely satisfied fr9m my funky salads for dinner.


04-17-2010, 12:25 AM
The source of the calories is what fills me up. When I cook, I do cook for volume, but I also pay attention to how long that is going to keep me full. Like white pasta and whole grain pasta may fill me up with the same amount of volume, but the whole grain pasta is what is going to keep me fuller longer. Our stomach does not know how many calories we just ate, but it does know the volume of what we just ate. The protein and fiber in the foods is what keeps me satisfied after I eat a meal. 400 calories of grilled chicken, brown rice, and broccoli is going to keep me more satisfied than 800 calories of pizza.

04-17-2010, 02:14 AM
Fiber and protein do it for me. If I don't have a good amount of one or the other in a meal I don't leave the table satisfied.

04-17-2010, 06:24 AM
This is so weird, I just read about a study on this topic somewhere, it was either on the NYT health blog or on the Weighty Matters one. They fed schoolchildren meals two different days and carefully kept track of how much they ate; the foods looked and tasted the same, but unknown to the kids had different amounts of calories (using lower fat, more fiber etc.) per gram. When they added it up the kids had eaten the same weight of food, so not according to calories. Someone commenting on the site said this was the principle of the Volumetrics book, which I've never read.

The protein and bulky veggies/fruit combo in every meal has really done it for me. And only whole grains when I eat grains.

04-17-2010, 06:45 AM
Carbohydrates tend to make me very hungry, and if a meal is high in carbs, no matter how much I eat, it never seems to be enough.

Volume does make a big difference, so I try to add veggies and water to foods to bulk them up (weight may play some role, but if I eat dense food it feels like I have a rock in my stomach, which isn't a really pleasant way to feel full).

Protein and fat are pretty filling for me (even in small amounts).

Milk makes me feel very full (even one glass can leave me feeling bloated full, so I wonder if I'm maybe mildly lactose intolerant).

I don't think calories play nearly as much a role as the other factors, because I can get filled very quickly on a low-calorie, high-veggie soup, and feel starved shortly after eating a mound of pasta.

04-17-2010, 08:12 AM
Interesting replies, especially about the study. When it comes to bulky yet light foods like rice cakes, what do you think? I'm not so sure that it's volume but weight. Wouldn't a rice cake, which is basically a lot of air, just sort of dissolve in your stomach and nearly disappear? I definitely get what you're saying about veg and fruit and fibre. For the same calories a banana weighs more than a cereal bar and it seems to fill you up much better.

04-17-2010, 10:51 AM
Was just re-reading this thread, and had a thought. Perhaps it has something to do with the time it takes food to be digested? The more complex/whole/complete something is, the longer it takes to be digested? So it would keep you full longer? And things that are very processed are already, in effect, partially broken down? Faster to be digesteed? I'm not a nutritionist, so I'm not sure, but it's an idea anyhow.


04-17-2010, 10:58 AM
I think Barb is on to something. Anybody have some links?

For me (as it turns out after years of struggling) it's protein and fats.

04-17-2010, 01:54 PM
For me, it's fat. Protein and fiber help, but only in combination with fat.

04-19-2010, 03:28 PM
Just read this article about satiety (measure of how long the consumption of a particular food will stop you feeling hungry again). (It is a London publication which accounts for the spelling.)

.. programme called Volumetrics, recently publishing a book of the same name. As it suggests, the programme is founded on the notion that the larger the volume of food in relation to its calorific value, the more satiating it is. So foods with relatively high water content, such as fruits and fish, fill you up quickly where nuts and cheese don’t.

“It is primarily this relative energy density that makes foods high or low satiety,” says Rolls. The Volumetrics approach focuses on lowering the energy density of food by cooking and combining foods to maximize the volume per calorie.

As well as volume, protein and fibre are two other crucial components of a high-satiety meal or snack: fibre because it expands in the gut and protein because it suppresses the appetite longer than fat or starch do.

Scientists at the National Institute for Medical Research in France have just discovered that during the digestion of protein, glucose is produced in the small intestine. The liver senses this and relays a message to the brain to slow down or stop eating — an effect that lasts well after the food has been swallowed.

This effect is compounded by the fact that, in the form of animal flesh, protein needs to be chewed. Chewing promotes satiety, partly because it slows down eating but also because it encourages the release of enzymes that register fullness in the brain.

Vegetable proteins such as beans and lentils satiate well too. Similarly, viscous foods such as porridge and potatoes make you feel full for a long time because the enzymes that they produce slow down digestion and absorption.

04-19-2010, 06:13 PM
For me, it's fat. Protein and fiber help, but only in combination with fat.

Me too, protein, fiber and fat. I can eat the largest salad in the world, but unless those veggies are accompanied by plenty of protein and fat, any feeling of satiety I might get is fleeting. I find that 100 calories of nuts tides me over much longer than 100 calories of carrots even though the volume is much smaller.

04-20-2010, 03:42 PM
The hevier it is the better I feel. But I'm weird. Before I was dieting I used to really like that "too full- I overate" feeling. It was comforting somehow.

04-21-2010, 10:36 PM
for me it is fat as well. I've been trying to do volumetrics style eating but i'm just never satisfied and manage to eat too much....of FRUIT AND VEGES!! I'm beginning to realize I can actually keep in a lower calorie range if i add more fat to my diet. It seems counterintuitive but seems to work.