Nothing is more satisfying then a great meal when you’re hungry, and the contentment you get when you’re full. Food is the key to keep you energized and you want to fuel up with foods that keep you going strong. But have you ever eaten and felt hungry soon after?
It seems like a strange paradox that food can leave you hungry, but certain ones can—and this can lead you to overeat and put on the pounds.
Here is a list of some foods that just won’t keep you full, or worse, make you even hungrier!
Childhood memories of PB and J on white bread may make you feel all warm inside, but white bread won’t fill you up and it can also make you overweight. You know the importance of getting enough fiber and how it should be a staple in any diet—it maintains weight, regulates bowels, lowers cholesterol, etc.—white bread has lower amounts of feel-full fiber because the wheat used is stripped of its outer shell. Without that full factor, you keep on snacking; you become hungry much sooner than you should.
A 2014 study at the University of Navarro in Spain tracked the eating habits of 9,200 people over the course of five years. Researchers found that those who only ate white bread, as opposed to whole-grain, were 40% more likely to be obese.
Want to quit the white bread habit? The easiest method is to switch over to whole-grain. Peanut butter still tastes delicious on whole-grain and you won’t be heading to the fridge every 30 minutes. Many companies now are producing enriched sliced bread loaded with fiber and nutrients, so there’s no need to settle for white.
After a few drinks you’ll be heading straight to that bowl of nuts or pizza, nachos, chicken wings…You get the idea. It seems the more you drink the hungrier you become, but how does this work?
Research published in Alcohol and Alcoholism suggests just three servings will decrease your body’s leptin levels—the hormone which makes you feel and stay full—by 30%. Therefore, the more drinks you consume, the greater the hunger you will feel. Alcohol also affects your glycogen, which is your carbohydrate storage, causing you to crave carbs even more.
Counter the effects of alcohol by drinking water. Staying hydrated will make you feel fuller and avoid the hangover headache. Better to load up on H2O than carbohydrates.
If you’re craving sushi, it would seem that all-you-can-eat is the way to go. There’s a vast variety and huge quantity of food for a low price. The problem is, although you can have as much as you want, this won’t fill you up for the rest of your day.
Sushi is covered in white rice with a small portion of the center containing vegetables and fish. The white rice causes the same effects similar to white bread. Without substantial fiber or protein, sushi is rapidly digested and leaves you feeling hungry not long after.
If you want your all-you-can-eat experience to work, switch up the white rice to brown, and better yet, stick to sashimi, those larger portions of fish without the rice. Also, add in edamame beans to your meal and a side of beef or chicken (with minimal added sauce, of course) for added protein. Those sauces can be high on sodium and extra empty calories.
You come home after a long day of work, peel back the plastic cover, pop it in the microwave and you have yourself a meal. What a great concept for anybody who appreciates the quick and easy! Sure, some frozen meals include some veggies and meat, but this type of eating will only make you hungrier.
The problem with these meals, and more so if they are advertised as diet meals, is they do not contain enough calories (or quality calories) to keep you full. The other downfall? Most of these types of meals do not have enough fruits or vegetables which would normally expand in your stomach and make you feel fuller. Lastly, the more processed the food is, the fewer nutrients it contains. Lack of nutrients means you’ll be heading to the snack drawer soon after.
Aside from not filling you up, most frozen meals have high amounts of salt. Salt is digested quickly within the body which can affect your insulin levels. And this can make you crave something sweet immediately after, so you reach for the sweet after the savory. More bad news for your diet.
If you must have frozen meals, stay away from the diet variety and don’t consume them too frequently. Also, add a fresh salad or fruit on the side to give you that fuller feeling longer. Your better bet is to make your meal the day before, plan your week ahead, or pick up something ready-made (of the healthy variety, of course). A store-bought barbecue chicken can go a long way.
Knowing how to eat right will help you stay fuller longer (and keep your weight in check). Functional, nutritious whole foods take longer to burn—and will help you steer clear of binge-snacking. High fiber and proteins are best, giving your body the energy and staying power to keep you going all day.
“11 Foods that make you Hungrier,” Health Magazine website, August 5, 2014; http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20835574,00.html.
Mayo Clinic Staff, “Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet,” Mayo Clinic website, November 17, 2012; http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983.
Preidt, R., “Could White Bread be making you Fat?” WebMD website, May 30, 2014; http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20140530/could-white-bread-be-making-you-fat.
“6 Foods that make you Hungrier,” Care2 website, August 6, 2014; http://www.care2.com/greenliving/6-foods-that-make-you-hungrier.html.