Which food items will help me feel full earlier?

Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine
The first thing is to not let yourself get starved. Say you skip breakfast and what happens is you eat more at lunch than you would if you ate 2 separate meals. Protein will fill you the best and should always be first choice.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Here's a medical fact: The hungrier you are, the more likely it is that you're going to go on a feeding frenzy and gnaw on any candy, chips, and hunks of fat-laden pork products in your sight. And the more you gorge, the more likely it is that your body shape is going to change -- for the larger. That's why one of your jobs as a healthy eater is to eat the foods that fill you nutritionally without causing those roller-coaster spikes of blood sugar and other chemicals that lead you to feed uncontrollably.

In an index that ranks the satisfaction levels of various foods, vegetables score pretty darn well. You'll want to include plenty of fiber (35 grams a day for men and 25 grams for women), as well as lots of protein. Protein-rich foods are the most filling foods because protein induces the hypothalamus to let you know that you're satisfied. Besides fish, another good source of protein is nuts. Nuts reduce appetite, and only 85% of their fat is absorbed, so enjoy a few ounces daily. Another alternative: Soup (broth-based, not cream-based). Soup has been shown to take longer to traverse your GI tract (and thus makes you fuller) than when food and water is consumed separately.
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Dr. David L. Katz, MD, MPH
Preventive Medicine
Calorie for calorie, protein is generally more filling, but complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are more rich in water and fiber. Water and fiber increase food volume and make a person feel more satisfied, yet provide no extra calories.
Doreen Rodo
Nutrition & Dietetics
Here is a list of foods that make you feel fuller, faster:
  • Apples -- if you have one before your meal, you will likely eat less.
  • Lentils and beans are filling so include them in your meals regularly. It is as easy as sprinkling some beans on a salad.
  • Nuts -- if you eat a handful as a snack, you will find that you are not as hungry.
  • Water -- drink a full glass before your meal and you will feel fuller.
  • Items with fiber also tend to make you fuller, so include whole wheat items in your meal plan regularly.
There are some foods that can help us feel fuller despite being lower in calories and good for weight loss.
  • Soups, especially broth-based soups, have been proven to help curb your appetite. When consumed prior to a meal as a first course or pre-meal snack, soup is satisfying enough that you will likely consume less at your meal.
  • Other foods that have high water and/or fiber content are also good options to help you feel full on fewer calories. Good choices are fruits, vegetables, and cooked whole grains.
  • Protein also has a more long-lasting satisfying effect when compared to carbohydrate or fat. Include modest portions of lean protein sources such as dairy products and legumes throughout the day.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.