Dietitian reveals why you don't always feel full after you've eaten
Why is it that after eating, we can sometimes feel completely satisfied - while at other times our hunger lingers, leading us to go for seconds, thirds, dessert, and resort to snacking before the evening is done? Well, as it turns out, it's not always down to how much we are eating, but the type of food that is making up the meal.
If you've ever wondered what reason your body seems to be reacting differently, Insider recently found some answers to these questions. Speaking to Brigitte Zeitlin, dietician and the owner of BZ Nutrition, they revealed that it doesn't necessarily depend on how many calories in the meal, but how quickly your body metabolizes the nutrients.
"Our bodies break down and digest different foods at various rates," Zeitlin explained. "Foods that take longer to break down and digest are what keep us fullest for longer periods of time."
For instance, when you eat simple carbohydrates, like white bread and pasta, you may feel hungry within the hour due to how quickly they are digested.
The likelihood that you'll feel full after having a meal, however, really comes down to whether the meal has enough fibre, healthy fats and protein - which Zeitlin refers to as a "filling trinity".
"Feeling satiated and satisfied is the whole point of eating. We want to enjoy what we're eating, get enough energy to carry out the next few hours, and satiate our hunger.
"Fiber (veggies, fruit, whole grains) is what will give our meal bulk and substance, protein (legumes, seeds, eggs, fish, chicken/meat, dairy) will give us that satisfied feeling, and healthy fat (nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil) will keep us feeling satiated for the longest amount of time."
In addition to this, there are some other factors that can affect how hungry we feel. For instance, our bodies often interpret our thirst as hunger - so if you're not drinking the recommended amount (around eight glasses or two litres of water a day), you may mistake your need for water as hunger.
Zeitlin also recommends that we make sure our stress levels are alright, as anxiety and other negative mental states can change the way we eat:
"Sometimes when we are stressed, depressed, bored, or anxious, we turn to some extra snacking/eating despite not truly being hungry.
"So if you're feeling hungry immediately after your meal, then ask yourself if you ate the right combo and then if you've been drinking enough water. If both of those things have been on point, then ask yourself, 'am I really hungry or is it residual stress?'"
Of course, there is always the chance that you simply haven't eaten enough, which Zeitlin has some advice for. Skipping meals during the day, according to the dietician, just means that you'll feel hungrier at the next meal - and may end up overeating to compensate.
"Eating smaller, more frequent meals during the day will get your hunger back on track and get you more aware of where your hunger is coming from so that you can give your body what it actually needs," she said. Instead, she believes it is best to have three or four small meals throughout the day, rather than having fewer and larger meals.
"This will help to keep your body feeling fuller (and more energetic) throughout the day and work as an innate guide to finding your true hunger pangs," she concluded.