Last week I discussed one of my Tik Tok videos that got a little bit of attention. Another video on the platform with a couple thousand views was my video ‘How Weetabix Caused Me to Gain 10kg’ (watch here>>). In it, I discuss how I purposefully ate four Weetabix before I went to bed because it would cause me to wake up starving. I would then eat another four of them at 6am which caused me to be really hungry again by 9am. I would then have a real breakfast. This was done as part of a big off-season winter bulk where I ended up gaining over 10kg and being 90kg by the end. This was 14kg heavier than when I went on stage in 2019.  While I did this on purpose to aid me in eating more food it would have been a disaster if I was trying to eat less to lose fat.

The topic of how much a meal fills you up links into the food satiety scale, which is a ranking of how much foods fill you up compared to each other. It is like the Glycaemic Index but it is much more practical if you are looking to change your body shape. The Glycaemic Index implies satiety based on its rankings but it often does not work so predictably in the real world. The satiety index is an actual measure of how much a food causes you to feel full and directly relates to how much you will consume overall.

Food Satiety Index

Satiety is the feeling of fullness after eating. It is a complex process that is influenced by a number of factors, including the type of food, the amount of food, and the individual’s metabolism. 

The food satiety index is a measure of how filling a particular food is. It is based on a study in which participants were asked to eat a variety of foods and then rate their feelings of fullness over time. It has been built upon by the use of data from My fitness Pal and other calorie counting apps, this is extensively covered in this article by Optimising Nutrition.

The food satiety index is a nice tool for people who are trying to lose weight or manage their body composition. If you choose foods that are high in satiety, you will eat less overall. In general, foods are more satisfying when they contain more: 

Protein – This is one of the most satiating nutrients. It helps to slow down the emptying of the stomach, which can help you feel fuller longer.
Fibre – Another nutrient that can help you feel fuller for longer. It helps to slow down digestion and absorb water, which can make you feel more full. Good sources of fibre include fruits, vegetables as I discussed a few weeks ago >>.
Water / Food volume – The higher the water content and bulk of the food (lower energy density) the more if helps to fill you up.
Fat – In appropriate amount and when not combined to highly palatable carbs or sugar based foods it will increase satiation.
Complex carbs – These carbohydrates are digested more slowly than simple ones, which can help you feel fuller longer.

Nutrient Density – The more vitamins & minerals within a food is linked to more satisfaction and lower overall food intake during the day.

Some common food scores include (source>>) –

      Most Filling                    Least Filling

Potatoes, boiled 323          Ice cream 96
Fish 225                             Crisps 91
Porridge/Oatmeal 209        Yogurt 88
Oranges 202                      Peanuts 84
Apples 197                         Mars candy bar 70
Brown pasta 188                Doughnuts 68
Beef 176                            Cake 65
Baked beans 168               Croissant 47

You may feel cake or other foods on this list fill you up but it is important to remember it is based on equal food intake, having 700 calories of cake in a few mouthfuls is not a fair comparison to a 200 calories bowl of porridge.

What Does This Means For You?
I find it very interesting that the two highest ranked foods were the ones I accidently stumbled upon for my bodybuilding shows. You may have seen in previous articles about ‘How I got to 4% body fat>>‘ , that my primary meal during all of my bodybuilding shows is tuna and mashed potato. This was because it gave me the most satisfaction so I just stuck with it. This was long before I knew about the satiety scale. 
If you are trying to get in shape, or simply maintain where you currently are then you cannot go wrong by listening to what your body says about any meals you are eating. I am not a huge fan of charts/scales and rigid rankings when you can just listen to your own body. The reality is that certain foods and meal combinations will make you hungrier, others will satisfy you nicely. While looking for taste you will find some nice tasting meals do not cause you to want to eat more and more while others do. This often comes back to some very simple choices which is easy to do when you are aware of the feedback and effect these foods have upon the body. Start today by listening to your body’s feedback after you eat.


Photo –  A photo from some of the original research on food satiety scores – 

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