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Filling foods

I am wondering what makes some foods more filling than others? To better explain this question I think I need to get into a little bit of a story, please bear with me a moment. Lately I’ve been keeping a bit of a food diary. I read somewhere that it’s a good idea to write about how certain meals make you feel, how long till your next hungry, and what your appetite is like throughout the day. This was surprisingly insightful. I typically rotate a handful of different breakfasts, all 300-400 calories. Veggie egg white omelette with toast, ham & cheese egg white omelette with toast, shredded wheat, steel cut oats and canned baked beans on toast with egg (fried or poached). I’m an endomorph, with familial hypercholesterolemia, on a diet at the moment, hence the egg white. I’m always into discovering more variety but these are my staples. It’s no surprise that typically the higher protein foods are more filling. The omelettes (23-34g protein, 24-28g carbohydrates, 10g fat, 6-9g dietary fibre) keep me satisfied for up to 3 hours post meals. The oats go as far as an hour and a half for me, having the least amount of protein (9g, 65g carbs, 5g fats, 3g fibre). Shredded wheat does well, I’m satisfied for up to 3 hours as well despite it not being super rich in protein (16g, 63g carbs, 7g fats, 10g dietary fibre). Baked beans on toast with egg, which is actually not bad on protein, only keeps me satisfied for an hour an a half as well (21g protein, 47g carbs, 8-10g fat, 16g fibre). The other morning I tried something else. I had 1 portion of wholegrain porridge, yogurt and berries. The protein was right up there for this meal, the fibre too. But for some reason I was hungry in an hour and a half or less. So despite this meal being high in protein, as well as the baked beans, why is it not as filling as an omelette? What makes one food more filling than another? I don’t see it as being the fibre, volume, digestibility, sugar or GI ranking.


Hello and thanks for your question. It sounds like you have spent a lot of time analysing your diet and trying to find what works best for you. Regarding your question what makes one food more filling than another. Well there are a number of factors at play which you outlined in your question. Other than the protein and fiber you mentioned as making foods more filling, there is also fat content to be considered. The fat content of the meal also has an impact on the rate of digestion with a high fat meal being more slowly digested than a low or fat free meal. Normally food held in the stomach is released into the intestines within four hours, however a fat rich meal can be held in the stomach for six or more hours. In terms of fiber there is both soluble and insoluble fiber, these fibre’s are processed differently with soluble fiber slowing digestion. Whilst your records might show two different meals both contain ten grams of fiber, one meal might contains fiber of the soluble variety leading to the feeling of fullness for longer. There are even psychological elements at play, when you have a meal that looks, smells and taste’s good this stimulates your digestive system, and in turn your stomach can secrete more acid. Have you ever eaten something very plain and dull without seasoning, such as plain tuna and pasta. You can get a feeling of fullness very quickly and this can last a long time. The time of day, your activity levels and also your previous meals can also have an impact. There is no one factor that decides the digestibility of a meal and how long the feeling of fullness you will experience, it is combination of all the points mentioned above.

what foods can I eat?

I was discharged from my local hospital without much in the way of information in to what I should do for my dietary consumption. I have on my discharge papers ‘cardiac diet’ but no easy way to find out what that is or what it consists of. I don’t mind salads and veggies, and love chicken/turkey/pork/ etc. But does it mean I’ll need to exclude those in favor of something else?


Thanks for your question. Without knowing what the specific reason was that you entered the hospital I cant give a great deal of information. However a cardiac diet is generally a diet to help improve your cardiovascular system or help treat a condition relating to it. This would primarily involve eating a diet low in saturated and bad fats, low in cholesterol, low in sugar, low in fried foods, moderate consumption of good fats and high in fiber. Protein sources you can eat are egg whites or skinless poultry, fish, and other lean cuts of meats. Certain types of fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, are especially good for heart health as they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce fat cholesterol. Protein can also be consumed from vegetable sources such as soy products, beans, peas, and lentils Protein rich foods that should be avoided are whole milk, fatty meats like bacon, and fried or breaded meat. Vegetables and Grains Both vegetables and whole grains are also a good source of fiber. You can easily incorporate more whole grain into your diet by replacing refined grain products with whole grain. Use brown rice instead of white, brown pasta instead of white and brown bread instead of white. You can also add ground flaxseed to your diet. Ground flaxseed has a lot of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Other whole grain products include cereal with high fiber, such as whole bran or oatmeal which contains beta-glucan that can lower cholesterol levels. Muffins, doughnuts, biscuits, or granola bars are usually made with refined grain and should be avoided. In particular try and read ingredients on what you buy and specifically look to avoid hydrogenated fats, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, glucose fructose syrup and artificial sweeteners. All of these can have particularly negatives effects on cardiovascular health.


What are the five foods you shouldn’t eat; which in turn causes body fat to melt off?


Hi, thanks for your questions. I wouldn’t say there are specifically five foods that you shouldn’t eat. In moderation you can eat most things as long as you have balance. Certainly I would say there are certain ingredients that you should take care to avoid, things like hydrogenated vegetable oil, high fructose glucose syrup/corn syrup/glucose syrup, artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate. All of these ingredients can have adverse affects and in my opinion cause excess weight gain and potentially other health issues. In general the more processed a good is, the more potential you have for fat gain. Try to eat foods that have not been processed. Brown rice is better than white rice, as white rice has been processed to remove the fiber. The same applies for brown pasta vs white or for bread also. In terms of loosing weight the same applies. Foods that are good for losing weight are foods rich in fiber, seeds, nuts, beans, whole grain cereals, like bran and oatmeal. Lean protein sources like chicken, turkey and fish. Healthy fat sources such as Olive oil, flax seed and Omega 3’s which can help your body regulate insulin levels more effectively. Of course eating too much of the healthiest food can still cause you to gain weight. It is all about finding a balance of consuming good food in the right amounts and minimising the unhealthy ones.

Good Diet?

I currently weight 327lbs, 20 years old and started a new diet program. On average I’m consuming 300g of protein a day (whey & isolate powders, and lean meats), around 2,000 calories a day and eating a very healthy lifestyle. A daily intake is usually 6 small meals lots of vegetables and chicken a day. I work out intensely for an hour 5 days a week. I just wanted to know if this is a healthy path to take. Thanks! My goal is to be back down to 250 in 8 months!


300 grams protein is a very large amount of protein to consume on a daily basis and accounts for 1200 calories of your daily intake, which is more than 50% of your total. I have seen that many websites and magazines recommend 1 gram of protein per pound bodyweight but these are usually magazines that promote the use of protein powders and other supplements. Additionally these figures are based on one gram per pound of muscle rather than total bodyweight. You should be aware that very high protein diets can in some individuals put excess load on the kidneys and lead to kidney damage. As you didn’t outline your diet, I can only assume that you are following a high protein low carb diet. If so I would suggest reducing your protein ratio to 1 gram protein per kilo bodyweight. So you would be consuming approximately 150 grams protein a day, rather than 300. I also noticed on your profile that you are eating late after 8:00pm every day. I would recommend that you avoid this wherever possible and try to eat your last meal as early as you can ideally between 4:00pm and 6:00pm. Eating late can lead to excess weight gain as your metabolism slows down in the evening, and in general most people are least active in the evening.