It is about balancing the energy or kilojoules you consume, with the amount of energy your body burns. Managing your weight can have a number of health benefits, from an increased sense of vitality to reducing a number of risk factors for many health problems.
A balanced food intake should include a wide variety of nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables, lean meats and alternatives, wholegrain breads and cereals and reduced or low fat dairy. As balanced eating is part of an ongoing healthy lifestyle, the experience needs to positive – it should not be about counting calories or feeling the need to restrict what you eat!!
In the information below, we introduce you to the concept of ‘satiety’ and how this can help with balancing your food intake, and in-turn with managing your weight.
What is satiety?
When you’re watching what you eat, you can often get tempted by more ‘treaty’ types of food and drink. Sometimes, you just can’t seem to get your mind off food! Finding a snack that can help you stick to your healthy eating plan and cope better between meals and with the kilojoules you consume, is a rewarding relief. The ideal is a snack that can help keep you feeling full or satisfied, or what is referred to in the scientific world as ‘satiety’.
Satiety is the feeling of fullness or satisfaction after eating, or the feeling that you're no longer hungry. It’s generally the time in-between meals – the more satiating a product the slower the return of feeling hungry and wanting to eat again.
A lot of research has been done on satiety looking at many different areas and how they can affect what and how much you eat – for example, the impact of the composition of food (i.e. the energy density; format [liquid versus solid]; texture; nutrients [protein, fibre and fat]), as well as the impact of flavour and smell. As you can see the area of satiety is very complex. What we do know is that foods high in protein or fibre can play an important role in helping you to feel satisfied or ‘fuller for longer’. Likewise, foods that have a low glycemic index (low GI) can help to fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied for longer.
Satisfying snacks and weight management
People trying to manage their weight generally make the right choices at mealtimes, but its snack-times that can often let them down. After all, we all have moments in our day when we’re feeling peckish and looking for that snack to try and tide us over to the next meal. For some it’s mid-morning, others mid-afternoon, or it may be that time after dinner when you completely unwind for the day.
For the calories you consume, you want the most satisfying snack – one that will work to help keep hunger at bay!
Research shows that choosing snacks that are high in protein or fibre can help with ‘satiety’ or ‘fullness’. Foods with a low GI may also help you to feel full and fight hunger.
Feeling satisfied may just be your ticket to weight management! Feelings of satiety may help extend the time in-between eating meals and the amount of food needed to ease hunger. This in turn could assist in managing your energy intake, and therefore your weight. Basically, you feel better able to cope! After all, you shouldn’t have to go hungry!
Protein & fibre and feeling fuller for longer
Over the years many foods and ingredients have been studied for their effects on increasing satiety. Research has found that, foods high in protein or fibre can help you feel fuller for longer, and as a result may help decrease the amount of food consumed at snacking and meal times.
In recognizing the complexity of satiety, there are a number of mechanisms proposed for how protein and fibre work.
We know from the research that protein is more satiating than carbohydrates or fat, when comparing calorie for calorie. The mechanisms suggested for protein include:
• triggering the release of certain satiety-signaling hormones in the body, which send signals to the brain that you are feeling full; and
• the thermogenic effect of protein, which is basically the amount of energy used to breakdown and use protein in the body.
For fibre, the mechanisms depends on the ‘type’ of fibre. For instance, viscous, soluble fibres absorb water and slow the movement of food in the digestive system helping you to feel full. Other types of fibre work by triggering the release of certain satiety-signalling hormones in the body (as is the case with the type of fibre used in Yoplait formé Satisfy), or link to the physical property of needing to chew more bulky types of fibre (such as wholegrain cereal).
Glycemic Index and Satiety
Glycemic Index or GI is the ranking of carbohydrate foods based on their immediate effect on blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates that are broken down slowly and release sugar gradually in the body are considered low GI foods, whereas carbohydrate foods with a high GI are digested and absorb quickly and can cause a rapid rise and fall of blood sugar levels.
Snacking regularly on low GI foods can help provide a steady supply of energy to help keep you feeling fuller for longer.
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