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Keep yourself satisfied; Potatoes and popcorn as diet foods? They can be if you follow the Satiety Index which could help you lose weight without feeling hunger pangs. Leslie Jones reports.

Byline: Leslie Jones

ARE you always hungry, always thinking about your next nibble, no matter what or how much you eat? If you've answered "yes", we may have the answer to your problems.

If you've answered "no", here's your question - how long can you go after eating before you start eating again? If you've ever tried to get rid of excess weight by eating less, you'll know what a challenge it is to feel sated. Your quest is to find slimming foods that will satisfy your hunger for as long as possible.

And, if you tend to grab a quick cup of coffee and a piece of toast (or less) for breakfast, you'll know how awful you can feel when it's nowhere near lunchtime and hunger starts to call.

When you feed your hunger in a smart way you'll realise that you don't need to go hungry to lose weight. Choosing filling foods that are satisfying yet nutritious is vital to many successful weight-loss plans. And even if you're not dieting, hunger pangs, cravings and irresistible urges can be tackled if you understand a bit more about what you are eating.

The Satiety Index or SI measures how effective a food is at satisfying your hunger.

It was developed when Australian Dr Susanne Holt fed volunteers 240-calorie portions of a wide variety of different foods in an attempt to discover which would be the most filling.

After eating, volunteers told the researchers how they felt and they were not allowed anything else for the next two hours. After two hours, they were allowed to eat from a small buffet where the scientists measured how much they nibbled from a variety of other foods. Their consumption was closely monitored, and every 15 minutes they were questioned about their hunger to see if their subjective impression of satisfaction matched their eating behaviour.

Using this information, Holt and her colleagues were able to put together the Satiety Index. Using white bread as the baseline food with a rating of 100, other foods were given ratings above and below 100.

Foods scoring higher than 100 were more satisfying.

A food's ability to satisfy is based on its protein, fibre and water content, how these are digested, and what happens during digestion. It is also THE SATIETY INDEX Each of the following foods is rated by how much people ate after consuming them to satisfy their hunger. All are compared to white bread, ranked as 100% * Crisps 91% * Ice cream 96% * Lentils 133% * Cheese 146% * Popcorn 154% * Eggs 150% * Baked beans 168% * Muesli 100% * Beef 176% * Special K 116% * Cornflakes 118% * Bananas 118% * Grapes 162% * All-Bran 151% * Apples 197% * Porridge/oatmeal 209% based on its bulk and chemical compounds. Beans and lentils, for example, contain anti-nutrients which delay their absorption, making you feel full for longer.. Chewing promotes satiety, partly because it slows down eating but also because it encourages the release of enzymes that register fullness in the brain.

Plain boiled potatoes showed to be the most satisfying food tested, three times more satisfying than white bread (323%).

From a nutritional point of view, plain boiled potatoes are an excellent choice of diet food, full of vitamins and fibre. Potatoes don't make you gain weight, as long as you don't eat them with butter, sour cream, cheese etc.

Popcorn ranks highly (157%) and also contains a greater amount of bulk for each calorie.

The value of popcorn as a weight-loss food should not be underestimated, it is so much better than crisps (91%).

A whole range of breakfast cereals are rated, with porridge oats topping the list (209%) and muesli ranking surprisingly alongside white bread (100%).

All beans, including baked beans, are good (168%) because they are high in protein, low in fat and sugar, high in fibre and high in moisture content.

They take time to chew and digest and will fill you up for hours. And mushy peas are high on the Satiety Index, but when do you ever eat mushy peas without fish and chips? Lotty Sykes, a Cardiff-based nutritional therapist, says: "Weight loss is complex, which is clear from all the different diets out there. And it's a huge industry. There is no one fix-all solution."

Because the way we eat is complicated, and the reasons why people hold weight is complex, you may have had enough physically but your other mechanisms may not be satisfied.

"I use a technique called Conscious Eating. This is being conscious or mindful of what you eat - by sitting at the table, not looking at the computer or watching TV - this will have an effect on your satiation," Lotty said.

value, will be more satisfying.

Sadly, the tastiest foods - like sweet bakery products - are the least satisfying. That is because you are likely to reach your calorie limit for these foods before you've eaten enough to feel satisfied. * Lotty Sykes specialises in weight loss, eating disorders, cancer support and chronic diseases. She is based at The Body Clinic in Whitchurch, Cardiff. 029 2062 4344 "The SI is very helpful in some ways but it can be confusing.

For example, we're talking about the SI here, but there is also the GI. Generally speaking, and without wanting to confuse things further, the SI and the GI both look at food nutritionally and give the same message, but there is an interesting conflict. So, whereas potatoes have a high SI, which is good, they also have a high GI, which is not good."

"I would say it's a good tool, but it is not conclusive."

Here are the recommended top 10 most filling foods if you're watching your weight or you can't resist snacking. * Lean meat.

Mushy peas * Potatoes with skins. Potatoes are full of starches which are digested and absorbed more slowly than simple sugars.

When boiled they also absorb a lot of water, making them more filling and leaving the skins on means that the fibre content is higher too. * Vegetable noodle soup. A bowl of ramen noodles contains a lot of water, green vegetables and a source of protein (lean meat, tofu or Quorn) as well as the starch-rich noodles. High-fibre (whole wheat) noodles are best for satiety.

Tuna chunks in spring water or fresh tuna is virtually fat free and very high in protein. * Beans * Boiled wild rice. Wild rice is higher in fibre than white rice.

Eggs, boiled, poached, scrambled or dry fried, eggs are an excellent source of protein.

Natural low-fat yoghurt and skimmed milk soft cheeses * Fresh fruit and vegetables. Fruit and veg are very low energy dense foods and high in water content, low in saturated fat and a good source of fibre, while containing some protein.

A quick way to determine whether a food would have a high Satiety Index or not is to look it up in a calorie book and compare the calories to the portion size. A portion of food that weighs more than another, but is of equal caloric * Table adapted from S.H.A. Holt, J.C. Brand Miller, P. Petocz, and E. Farmakalidis, A Satiety Index of Common Foods, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 1995.

* Wholemeal bread 157% * Croissant 47% * Cake 65% * French fries 116% * Doughnuts 68% * White pasta 119% * Cookies 120% * Brown Rice 132% * Crackers 127% * White rice 138% * Grain bread 154% * Mars bar 70% * Peanuts 84% * Brown pasta 188% * Yogurt 88% * Boiled potatoes 323%
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 7, 2011
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