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10 Foods That Fill You Up But Won’t Make You Fat

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hunger

If you’ve ever tried to slim down through dieting, then you know how miserable it is to feel hungry all the time.

Obsessively counting calories; surviving on microscopic portions; dealing with the stress and crankiness of all-day-long food cravings — isn’t there an easier way to lose weight?

Well, actually there is.

By eating specific foods that rank high on what’s called the “satiety index” you can feast till you’re full without expanding your waistline.

Why Are Some Foods More Filling Than Others?

The satiety index measures how filling a food is in relation to its calorie content, as well as a food’s ability to curb your appetite and lower your overall calorie intake throughout the day.

Did you ever have a parent or grandparent who talked about foods that “stick to your ribs”?  

Foods that make you feel full (i.e. “stick to your ribs”) but have relatively low calories have a high satiety index (SI) score.

Eat more of these high SI score foods and you’ll feel full while actually REDUCING the number of calories you consume; in other words, you can lose weight without feeling hungry all the time.

On the other hand, when you consume foods with a low SI score the very opposite happens: you eat and eat and eat (and then eat some more), never feel full, and watch helplessly while your waistline balloons.  

Let me give you an example:

Have you ever found yourself in a rush to get to work or an appointment and pulled in at a burger joint for a quick bite to eat?

As you sink your teeth into your juicy cheeseburger and greasy fries you may feel initially satisfied… but what happens an hour or two later?

You’re STARVING again!

burger

Highly processed foods (white bread, cheeseburgers, fries, chips, pastries) have a low SI score: they’re high in calories but don’t fill you up.

That’s a big part of the reason why these foods lead to weight gain: not only are they high in calories and fat, but they also encourage you to overeat — not exactly a recipe for weight loss success, is it?

But foods with a high SI score are different. You can eat more of them without the worry of out-of-control weight gain.

Before I share my 10 favorite foods that fill you up but won’t make you fat, let’s glance at the four qualities all filling foods tend to have.

That way, you can make even better choices when you’re shopping for groceries or ordering dinner at your favorite restaurant!

All Filling Foods Tend To Have
The Following Four Qualities

  • High volume: Foods that contain a lot of water or air — a bowl of salad greens or fresh fruit, for example — have increased volume without added calories. Good news: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and other health publications report that eating high volume foods contributes to feelings of fullness and may accelerate weight loss. (1)
  • High fiber: Foods with high fiber content can slow down your digestion which helps you feel fuller for longer.
  • High protein: If you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight, protein-rich foods are a great idea. Studies show that protein is more filling than fat and carbs. Plus, high protein foods can promote feelings of fullness and lower overall calorie consumption throughout the day. (2)
  • Low energy density: Foods that are low in calories relative to their weight are considered low energy density foods. What does this mean for you? Well, eating low energy density foods can fill you up on fewer calories than rich, high calorie foods.

Okay, so what are some smart food choices that will fill you up while slimming you down?

Here are 10 of my absolute favorite high SI score foods. You can eat a lot of these foods without having to worry about weight gain.

10 Foods That Fill You Up But Won’t Make You Fat

potatoes

1. Boiled Potatoes — Ounce for ounce, no other food is as filling as boiled potatoes. In a study that measured how well 38 different foods satisfy hunger, boiled potatoes came out on top. (3)

Why?

Because boiled potatoes are an excellent source of a special kind of starch called resistant starch — this starch acts a lot like soluble fiber in your gut, which helps you feel full.

Just make sure to steer clear of french fries and potato chips. Fried potatoes were found to be three times less filling than their boiled counterparts.

oatmeal

2. Oatmeal — If you’re going to eat breakfast, steel-cut organic oats are a healthy, filling choice. In fact, oatmeal ranks third on the list of most satisfying foods.

The reason why is largely because oats are a good source of beta-glucan, a form of soluble fiber known to slow down digestion and the absorption of carbs. (4)

A bowl of oatmeal with one or two of the next item on our list makes for a healthy and delicious way to start your day!

Eggs

3. Eggs — Multiple studies have shown that eggs are a more satisfying breakfast food than bagels, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal and pastries.

In fact, the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reports people who eat eggs for breakfast had faster weight loss than people who ate bagels at breakfast. (5)

Eggs are also a complete protein, which means they contain all nine amino acids. If you plan on adding eggs to your diet make sure not to leave out the yolks — most of the egg’s nutrients, and half of its protein, are found in that yummy, runny yellow stuff!

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apples

4. Apples — You’ve heard the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Well, an apple a day also keeps hunger at bay. That’s because apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that slows down digestion and contributes to feelings of fullness.

Just make sure to take a pass on the apple juice. Whole, solid fruit does a much better job at helping you feel full than apple juice, or applesauce. (6)

grapefruit

5. Grapefruit — All citrus fruits — including lemons, oranges, and grapefruits — contain pectin, the soluble fiber that slows down digestion and increases satiety. But grapefruit is especially effective if you’re trying to lose weight.

In a 2006 study, obese participants who ate grapefruit lost considerably more weight than those people who only took a placebo. (7)

In a study published in the journal Metabolism, participants who ate half a grapefruit with their breakfast, lunch, and dinner for six weeks showed a significant reduction in waist circumference. (8)

cheese

6. Cottage Cheese — If you’re looking for an energy-boosting afternoon snack, you could do a whole lot worse than cottage cheese.

This lumpy, curdled dairy product is definitely an acquired taste (my kids won’t touch it for all the video game time in the world), but if you DO have a taste for it you’ll get a good amount of B vitamins, calcium, phosphorous and selenium in every bite.

Cottage cheese is also low in calories but very high in protein. In one study it was found to be as filling as eggs. (9)

legumes

7. Legumes — Beans, beans, the wonderful fruit; the more you eat… the less hungry you feel!

Legumes, like beans, peas and lentils, are a great source of both fiber and protein. This, combined with their low energy density, means legumes will fill you up and may even promote weight loss.

A 2014 study published in the journal Obesity, found that legumes are 31% more filling than pasta and bread. (10)

popcorn

8. Popcorn — We all need “cheat” foods every once in awhile. But rather than reaching for a bag of salty potato chips or cheese puffs, why not munch on some popcorn instead?

Popcorn is a whole grain and contains more fiber than many other popular snacking options. It’s also high volume, so it fills you up, while still being relatively low in calories.

In fact, the Nutrition Journal reports popcorn will fill you up more than other guilty indulgences like potato chips and crackers. (11)

Looking for a healthy and DELICIOUS way to enjoy your popcorn? Try our Sweet ‘n Spicy Popcorn recipe HERE.

It’s perfect for a movie night at home with friends and family!

veggies

9. Vegetables — It will come as no surprise that veggies are a near perfect food if you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight.

What might surprise you: eating a salad before meals can reduce your total calorie intake by 7% — 12%! (12)

Just make sure to go easy on the dressing: most salad dressings — even the ones that advertise as “fat free” — are loaded with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other unhealthy additives.

My advice?

Drizzle your salad with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. It’s delicious, and olive oil has been shown to increase the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals when eaten with vegetables.

lean_meat

10. Lean Meats — Grilled chicken, lean beef and pork, as well as mutton, are high in protein and incredibly filling.

And eating protein-rich foods can seriously reduce your total calorie intake throughout the day.

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that people who consumed a high-protein lunch at 12% less at dinner, compared with those who ate a carb-rich lunch. (13)

You don’t have to starve yourself to slim down.

Eat more of these high SI Score foods and you can feel full while reducing your calorie intake — and shrinking your waistline — at the same time!

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