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Home/Blog/6 Steps to Achieve Satiety & Only Eat What You Need

6 Steps to Achieve Satiety & Only Eat What You Need

By Dr. Josh Axe

September 22, 2022

All humans have a strong biological drive to eat, since food is needed to keep us alive. The problem is that in our modern society, we’re often surrounded by food all day long, especially convenience foods that are lacking the nutrients our bodies are actually searching for.

When it comes to eating in a way that helps you to maintain a healthy weight and body composition, you’ve probably heard that you should stop eating right when you start to feel full. This is solid advice, but we all know it isn’t always easy to do!

How can you achieve satiety and stay in an “energy balance,” meaning you only eat the calories and nutrients your body actually needs? We’ve got suggestions for you below, including meal ideas and tips related to exercise.

Of course, you should always consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including exercise. 

What Is Satiety & Why Is It Important?

What does “eating to satiety” mean? Satiety is defined as “the feeling or state of being sated.” In other words, it’s the absence of hunger due to eating enough and not craving any more food.

What is an example of satiety? Have you ever eaten a meal that includes different textures, tastes and nutrients that makes you feel content? Then you’ve experienced how it feels.

Our bodies have a number of ways of making us feel full and content after we’ve eaten, such as the production of certain hormones that make us no longer want to eat. We also physically feel full when we’ve consumed a big enough volume of food, which triggers our stomach and then our brain to produce chemicals that turn off hunger.

Experts tell us that the best way to think about satiety is to take into account the entire appetite control system, which includes the digestive system (mainly the stomach) and also parts of the brain. 

To achieve the state of satiety, you have to consume an adequate amount of food in a specific period of time. Most people also need to eat a combination of different food types, such as protein and carbs, in order to feel satisfied. This makes sense, because eating a giant plate of something like chicken or almonds might not make us mentally satisfied, even if we are physically full.

Benefits of Being Satiated

Satiety is important because it’s what helps us to control our calorie and nutrient intake. 

Think about it this way: If you never felt full, you’d be seeking out different foods all day long. This would likely result in a high calorie intake, possible weight gain, and more. You also most likely wouldn’t be able to focus on other tasks!

That being said, the main benefits of satiety include:

  • Helping us to stop eating once we’ve had enough; this way we feel comfortable and prevent overconsumption of calories.

  • Allowing us to focus on other things than eating, since our desire for food is turned off.

  • Helping to regulate our healthy body weight and other markers of health.

  • Regulating normal digestion and avoiding becoming overly full.

  • Engaging in mindful eating.

  • Avoiding feelings of food deprivation and improving how much we enjoy meals.

How to Achieve Satiety 

1. Eat protein-rich foods

Of all three macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat), protein is known to be the most filling. 

This means that when you eat a meal high in protein, chances are you will feel satiated quicker and won’t need to eat as much overall, plus you’ll stay full for longer between meals. That’s a win-win, since it can help you make healthier choices at your next meal and also help keep you from snacking on unhealthy foods between meals.

Aim to include a serving of protein in every one of your main meals, and also ideally your snacks as well. Focus on protein-rich foods like: eggs, poultry, fish, grass-fed meat, unsweetened yogurt or kefir, and quality protein powders (such as collagen protein or bone broth protein). If you’re a plant-based eater, opt for nuts, seeds, legumes and 100 percent whole grains.

One easy way to boost your protein intake is to enjoy a protein shake or smoothie each morning, or to add protein powder such as Bone Broth Protein Pure (which is unflavored) to things like coffee, soups, oatmeal, pancakes and baked goods.

2. Have a sipping broth before your meals

Bone broth benefits include being an excellent source of amino acids, the “building blocks of proteins,” which are involved in many biological processes including appetite control, muscle growth, hormone production and cognitive functions.

Sipping on a warm cup of a homemade bone broth or one of our new savory Bone Broth Proteins is a simple way to fill up and take the edge off of hunger before a meal. This approach can make it easier to choose healthy foods and to stop eating once you’ve had enough. 

Our savory Bone Broth Proteins can be stirred right into water and come in three delicious flavors: Butternut Squash, Tomato Basil and Chicken Soup. Each serving (one scoop or 22 grams) provides 15 grams of protein and 90 to 120 calories (depending on the flavor), making it a smart addition to your daily diet.

3. Put together balanced meals

What triggers satiety? Based on available research, we know that the most satisfying meals with the greatest “staying powder” — meaning the ability to curb hunger for the longest duration — are those that combine all three macronutrients (complex carbs, fat, protein). 

Therefore, try to include a source of each macronutrient in your mains, aiming for about 30 percent of your calories to come from each type. Of course quality matters, not just macronutrients, so emphasize unprocessed foods that are rich in fiber and free of additives.

What are some examples of balanced meals that follow this formula? Try those featuring high satiety foods such as: 

  • Eggs with avocado and sprouted whole grain toast

  • Oatmeal with berries, flax and chia seeds plus yogurt

  • Smoothie made with fruit, light coconut milk and protein powder

  • Big salad with different veggies, sweet potato chunks, chicken on top, plus olive oil dressing

  • Mediterranean plate of grilled fish, hummus, olives and quinoa.

4. Follow your workout with a protein shake

As mentioned above, protein plays a big role in controlling hunger, not to mention that it’s important after exercise for supplying your muscles with nutrients that help them to bounce back stronger.

Ideally within about an hour or two of exercising, especially if it’s a tough workout and involves strength training, refuel with a combo of protein plus carbs.

Try making a post-workout shake with your favorite Bone Broth Protein flavor, such as vanilla, chocolate or salted caramel, combined with whichever milk you like best and some fruit. 

Bone Broth Protein is effective for helping you to feel satisfied and recharged after exercise because it provides protein, collagen, plus other joint-supporting nutrients found in our chicken-based Bone Broth Protein — including chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid and glucosamine sulfate. Together these help to support gut health, nutrient absorption and healthy connective tissues located throughout the body. 

If you prefer another type of protein powder, consider trying Multi Collagen Protein, organic whey protein or, if you follow a vegan/vegetarian diet, Plant Protein+. The key is to choose a low-sugar/unsweetened protein powder made without fillers and unnecessary additives.

5. Slow down and chew thoroughly

Have you ever heard that it takes your body 20 minutes to feel full after you’ve started eating? 

Fullness can depend on a number of factors including exactly what you’re eating, where you are, who you’re with and your mood. But it’s true that when you rush through your meal you’re more likely to overeat.

Therefore, remember to slow down and take your time. Pay attention to your meal, try not to be distracted, and take breaks to check in with your hunger level.

6. Eat what you're in the mood for

If you always override your food preferences and eat things that you don’t really enjoy, chances are you’ll have cravings for other foods shortly after eating. 

While it’s wise to practice meal planning and to prepare healthy ingredients ahead of time, try to also honor what you’re craving in a nutritious way. 

What’s an example? If you have a sweet tooth, enjoy a bit of a health-minded baked good or a chocolate protein smoothie. In the long run, this approach can keep you on track by preventing you from overeating once you do get the chance to indulge. 

Final Thoughts

Does satiety mean full? Yes; it means the absence of hunger due to eating enough of the right foods.

It’s important to feel comfortably full following a meal so you can stick to an overall healthy diet and avoid overeating.

What triggers satiety? Some ways to achieve it include: eating protein throughout the day; consuming carbs/protein/fat with every meal; having bone broth before a meal; eating slowly; and following up exercise with a protein-rich snack.

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