SKIP THE DIET – FILL UP TO LOSE WEIGHT!!
For 40 years Slimming World has been encouraging members to fill up and eat more to lose weight. Now, at last, nutritionists and obesity experts outside the nation’s leading weight loss organisation are acknowledging that satiety is the key to successful weight loss.
It stands to reason that foods which fill you up fast, while also being low in calories, are a slimmer’s best friend and scientists at Slimming World recently researched a database of 40,000 foods to identify the top 10 most satisfying foods for slimmers – and the 10 worst enemies.
Obesity researcher at Slimming World, Dr Stubbs, says: ‘It may seem strange, but eating is actually the best way to lose weight. Slimming World’s Food Optimising plan* has always encouraged slimmers to fill up on these highly satiating foods, because we know that hunger and guilt often lead people to abandon diets. Eating to satisfy your appetite is the key to successful long term weight loss and knowing which foods help (or hinder) most makes it so much easier.’
Slimming World’s 10 most satiating foods!
1. Lean meat - protein is the most satiating macro nutrient (more so than carbohydrate, fats or alcohol). Lean meat is primarily protein while much of the muscle tissue is water.
2. Mushy peas - good old mushy peas are high on the satiety index because they are low in fat, low in energy density, and high in carbohydrate, protein and fibre.
3. 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.
4. Noodle soup made with ramen noodles and tofu or Quorn (not instant noodles) - contains all the ingredients to activate the satiety cascade. Generally a bowl of ramen noodles contains a lot of water, green vegetables and a source of protein (tofu or Quorn) as well as the starch-rich noodles. High fibre (wholewheat) noodles are best for satiety.
5. Tuna chunks in spring water or fresh tuna - tuna tinned in water or brine is virtually fat free. It is very high in protein, low in carbohydrate and low in energy density.
6. Mexican style three bean salad -- indeed all beans including good old baked beans -- 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.
7. Boiled wild rice - wild rice is higher in fibre than white rice and when boiled is low in fat and high in moisture.
8. Versatile eggs, boiled, poached, scrambled or dry fried are an excellent source of protein and contain no carbohydrates.
9. Natural low fat yoghurt and skimmed milk soft cheeses are low in fat and high in moisture content and are a good source of protein. For a maximum effect on satiety and slimming effectiveness it is best to eat yoghurts with soluble fibres such as inulin and guar gum added to them and avoid those with added sugar.
10. Fresh fruit and vegetables – fruit and veg is high in water content, low in saturated fat and a good source of fibre while containing some protein. From apricots to bananas and tomatoes to watermelon, filling up on unlimited amounts make fruit and veg the slimmer’s best friend.
The 10 least filling foods!
1. Crisps - these contain about 532 kcal per 100g, 57% of which is in the form of fat. They are also high in salt and low in moisture. They are one of the most energy dense commercial snack foods available.
2. Speciality coffees – especially those containing cream. A large Caffe Mocha with whipped cream contains 490 kcal and 16g of saturated fat. Because whole foods take longer to digest and fill you up more, liquid calories are the ones that fill you up the least.
3. Takeaway pizza with cheese or meat topping - These pizzas contain between 600 and 700 kcal each. They are low in moisture, low in fibre, low in lean meat, and high in fat, calories and energy density.
4. Takeaway thin fries - contain about 330 kcal per 100g and a king size serving will give you about 640 kcal. They are high in fat, salt, energy and readily absorbed starches. Almost all of the moisture has been replaced by fat during the frying process. This is the least healthy way to eat potatoes.
5. Deep fried confectionery - bars each contain over 420 kcal. Clearly dousing a chocolate bar in batter and frying it in oil is going to produce a food that is a mixture of fats and sugars, with no fibre, little moisture, virtually no protein and a huge amount of energy. Once chewed a deep fried candy bar becomes a semi liquid glob of fat and sugar that rapidly passes through the stomach and has little impact on satiety.
6. Doughnuts - packed with artery-clogging saturated fat and trans-fatty acids. An average doughnut also has 200 to 300 calories and few other nutrients. Those with cream or toppings on have even more calories.
7. Luxury full-fat ice cream - some luxury ice cream ice cream contains around 200-220 kcal per 100g and is about 60% fat. And because ice cream is a very viscous liquid, there is little chewing or digestion required to activate any satiety signals. This food tastes great and so we eat more of it and once eaten there is little in terms of satiety to put the brakes on.
8. Colas and other sugary soft drinks - The average cola contains around 40-42 kcal per 100g, which may not seem like much until you consider that a litre of coke will give you 400-420 kcal. This is almost entirely in the form of dissolved sugars, which have a minimal impact on satiety.
9. Smoothies - range in calorie density from around 42 to an amazing 300 kcal per 100g, depending on how much sugar and fat is put in them. Making a smoothie disrupts all of the satiety-promoting fibre contained in the fruit.
10. Croissants - may be the traditional French breakfast food but they contain between 400 and 500 kcal/100g and 55-60% of this energy is in the form of fat, the rest being sugars and quickly digested starches. They have little moisture, no fibre and little protein.
The science bit
According to Dr James Stubbs, foods which induce fullness, or satiety, tend to be
•high in protein and complex carbohydrates (these are the two most satiating macro nutrients)
•high in fibre (which takes longer to digest and adds bulk)
•high in volume and low in energy density (as these sit in the stomach longer and fill you up)
• high in moisture content.
The sense of fullness is prompted by several different processes when we eat, which Dr Stubbs calls ‘the satiety cascade’.
“When we eat any food a number of signals are activated in the ‘satiety cascade’,” he explains. “First, chewing produces enzymes in the saliva to digest the food in the mouth. Once food is swallowed hormones and peptides are released and stretch receptors in the stomach wall relay signals to the brain to indicate how full the stomach is. As food passes through the intestine more signals are triggered by hormones, peptides and absorbed nutrients. Finally, nutrients absorbed into the blood and stored in various parts of the body can also serve as signals to the brain.
“Different foods activate different parts of the satiety cascade and some foods activate more parts of the cascade than others. So how filling a food is and how it affects satiety will be determined by the impact it has on the satiety cascade. For example taking three apples and turning them into apple juice will decrease the impact on satiety. This is because it takes eight times longer to eat whole apples than when they are juiced. Furthermore, apple juice doesn’t sit in the stomach for very long and so does not fill you up. This is because the sugars in the fruit are all absorbed very quickly when the physical structure of the apples has been disrupted. Also much of the fibre that was in the apples tends not to end up in the juice.
“The moisture content is especially important. Foods that are less filling tend to be those that are dry, energy dense and are rich in fats and sugars e.g. many commercially available snack foods and confectioneries like crisps and biscuits,” concludes Dr Stubbs.
*Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan is based around a unique ‘Free Food’ system. It means slimmers can satisfy their hunger by eating low-fat, satiating foods (those that fill you up and keep you fuller for longer). These are foods like lean meat, fish, pasta, rice, potatoes, fat-free dairy, eggs, and fruit and veg. Slimmers who follow Slimming World’s eating plan eat Free Foods without having to count, weigh or measure -- so they lose weight without ever going hungry. As well as filling up on ‘Free Foods’, slimmers enjoy measured portions of milk and cheese, and wholegrain cereals and bread and limit themselves, but are still able to have, the treats that typical diets forbid, like crisps, chocolate and alcohol, without any guilt.