What’s the secret to effective fat loss nutrition? Is it eating low fat? How about low carb? Is it the wheat that gives people a belly? What if you eliminate gluten, go paleo or become a vegan? Do you need to fast or only eat low glycemic foods? Is eating clean all you need to do? Maybe there are “4 foods you should never eat”. Maybe you just add a popular fat burning supplement such as: Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), Green Tea Extract, Garcinia Cambogia Extract, Raspberry Ketones, Green Coffee Bean Extract, Glucomannan, Meratrim, Forskolin or one of the countess fat burners on the market. No, you’re smarter than that. You know that nothing replaces good old fashion hard work and dedication when it comes to fat loss. Once you come to terms with this, I can help you. I look for ways to help people make the hard things a little easier. I’ve got a simple strategy that will help make fat loss nutrition a little easier than most people make it.
Energy Balance 101: The Inescapable Reality of Fat Loss
I know you know this, but it still need to be stated: you will not lose fat unless you are in a calorie deficit. The main reason so many popular diets “work” is that they cause you to eat less food. This is far more important than diets that adhere to trendy theories of the hidden “secrets” of weight loss.
The Diet Blues
So does this mean you have to go around starving for the rest of your life? Do you have to live in constant deprivation? Not necessarily. While the choice to get lean does require many “no thank-yous”, many people make it harder than it has to be by continually eating foods that make them feel hungry again.
Every notice how some foods leave you feeling satisfied while others leave your starving an hour later? After eating, are you satisfied and on to the other things in your day or are you scouring the cupboards looking for a snack? This is an important consideration in your attempt to reduce your caloric intake.
Enter the Satiety Index
Back in 1995, the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a research study on the satiety index of common foods. They gave subjects 240 calories of 38 different foods. These foods came from the following categories: fruits, baked goods, snack foods, carb-rich foods, protein-rich foods and breakfast cereals. Researchers then took satiety ratings every 15 minutes for 120 min. After this the subjects were offered a variety of foods and allowed to eat as they wanted.
The satiety of white bread was given a number of 100 and all other foods were given a number that was a percentage of white bread. The higher the number, the more satiating foods (i.e. a high score is good). For a list of foods tested in the study, click HERE.
The Most Filling Foods
The results of the research showed the foods high protein, fiber and water had higher scores (i.e. where more satisfying). Heavier foods (likely due to higher water content) also helped people feel fuller longer. Foods higher in added fat and ones that were rated as more palatable tended to make people hungrier.
One of the biggest surprises to most diet folks is the satiety index rating of boiled potatoes (323%). Since the late 90’s when everyone was into eating low glycemic foods, potatoes have been shunned. However, they had the highest satiety index ratings of all of the foods tested! They also provide a great source of carbohydrates to support your hard training! Note: the key thing here is boiled. If you turn those potatoes into French fries, the number drops down to 116% which is very close to being as satisfying as white bread.
|Surprise: potatoes are a very filling food!|
As I looked through the list other thing that stood out to me is that foods with the worst/lowest satiety index ratings were a combination of fat and refined carbohydrates. For example, the food with the lowest rating in the entire study was croissants at 47% followed closely by cake (65%) and donuts (68%).
|The perfect breakfast to leave you starving and looking for snacks all morning|
Another note-worth mention is that peanuts had a fairly low rating of 84%. This is important note as many people may choose to snacks like peanuts because they are low carb and low glycemic.
The Key Takeaway
A key thing you will notice if you look at the list of foods used in the study is that potatoes were the only vegetable. While regular vegetables were not included, you can be they would be very filling. For example, a cup of broccoli has only 55 calories. That means to be used in this study where each food was given at 240 calories, subject would have had to eat 4.36 cups of broccoli. This would leave them in pain for days! Please don't try this at home! One of the reasons potatoes came out as filling as they did is that you would have to eat almost 2 medium-size potatoes to get 240 calories.
Besides being super healthy, veggies take up a lot of room in your stomach in exchange for not very many calories. This is key thing you want to take away from this research.
Application: What This Means for YOU
With your nutrition, as with your training, focus on what works, not what is cool and trendy. If you feel fuller longer, you are less likely to overeat, feel the constant urge to snack and less likely to make bad food choices (something we can all fall prey to if we are really hungry).
So, why don’t more people focus on this simple concept? After all, this satiety index research is over 20 years old. Maybe it is because it is so simple, that it is easily overlooked. Also, the diet industry wants to keep things complicated. They want to keep you searching for miracles. They want to get you excited over the next New York Times best-selling diet book promising the latest, greatest secret to unlocking your new lean life.
If you want an easier way to get and stay lean, simply follow these key applications from this research:
- Emphasize foods that are high in protein, fiber and water (e.g. lean meats, vegetables, beans, fruits and some whole grains if tolerated).
- Avoid foods high in refined carbohydrates and fat (e.g. baked goods, processed foods, fast foods)
- Don’t be afraid to include an appropriate amount of boiled potatoes at a meal.
Did you notice how we end up bringing back a lot of the good things about other popular diets?
Do your own research
The best way to apply this information to your own research. For a week or two, pay attention to how you feel after eating certain foods. Keep a little food journal and then an hour or two after eating, give yourself a rating (e.g. scale of 1-10) on how satisfied you felt after eating. Learn what works best for you and make adjustments in your meals based on your discoveries.
For more info on fat loss nutrition, check out these posts:
How about you? What foods make you feel satisfied? Which ones make you starving after eating them? I invite you to leave your answers, questions and comments below or on my Facebook Page.
Bonus: Entertainment Time
This topic got me thinking about a great funny YouTube clip by the late John Pinette. John was one of the most talented stand-up comedians and does a hilarious routine on his experience with buffets and how Chinese food makes him hungrier. Enjoy!