There’s a lot that we can do to feel full even while being in a calorie deficit to burn fat.
And after coaching over 10,000 clients to reach their goals and digging through all the research, there are a few things that I’ve found helped a lot with staying full.
For the longest time, I made a big mistake and assumed that it was calories that made you feel full.
And that “dieting” always meant that you had to feel hungry.
But once I learned many of the other factors that can also make us feel full and satisfied, everything changed.
During my most successful fat-burning sprints—I felt absolutely stuffed. (It’s a weird sensation—to be honest—to be so stuffed and yet seeing the pounds drop off so steadily.)
Let’s take a look at a few of the factors and what it means for staying full.
Satiety Index—How filling a food feels
In a 1995 study, researchers found that certain foods made us feel more full—more satiated—than others.
As you can see, a croissant doesn’t stand a chance compared to eating potatoes in terms of staying full.
Sure it *tastes* better. But it won’t make us feel full for longer.
It’s easy to eat nearly 500 calories from two medium croissants.
It’s a lot harder to eat three medium-sized baked potatoes.
It’s even harder to eat those potatoes boiled instead of baked.
Some top performers in terms of feeling full (satiety):
- Porridge (oatmeal)
- Baked Beans
Why are these foods so good for staying full? There’s a variety of reasons. We’ll cover a couple down below.
Protein, the desire to eat, and feeling full
Some of our testers on the True Gains and True Curves beta said once they started eating the high-protein low energy diet we recommend—they stopped snacking.
The best answer is called “Protein Leverage Theory.” (2019 article)
Our body is paying attention to how much protein we ate today to make sure we get enough of it.
Researchers think this is because we don’t have an efficient way to store protein (muscle isn’t the best tank to draw from—it’s not efficient like bodyfat.)
Basically, we’ll be hungry until we eat enough protein.
This is why eating such a high-protein diet works for getting lean, because it helps us feel full while giving our body what it needs to stay strong and healthy.
Fibre—a secret trick to eating less energy while staying full
In the diet we recommend in True Gains, it’s high-protein but combined with lots of veggies and fruits.
A 2001 study found that for every 14g of fibre someone eats, there’s a drop of 10% total calorie intake.
Just by committing to eat more fibrous veggies and fruits, say another 28g, you could ease yourself into a 20% calorie deficit while staying full! Even without calorie counting.
A great goal is 25g+ of fibre for women and 40g+ of fibre men. The top fibrous foods that are lowest in calories (source)
- Green veggies
- Green peas
- Popcorn (air-popped)
1 litre of water with meals + cooking oils + fruits
In a 2013 study, participants went to a lab once a week for a month, to eat breakfast/lunch/dinner/evening snack. Each group would get differently manipulated meals.
Three things helped to reduce calorie intake yet still be satisfied and feel full.
- They removed 396 calories from removing butter and oil from the recipes.
- They removed 308 calories by increasing fruit/vegetables in the recipes.
- They removed 230 calories by adding 1 litre of water with each meal.
That’s all in one daily calorie total! By using all of these tricks, you could easily slip into a huge calorie deficit while feeling full.
How can you cook with less oils? How can you add more fruit or veggies to your meal? How can you remember to pour yourself a large glass of water to drink with your meal?
Anyways, my goal isn’t to bore you to tears with details.
But there’s much more down this line of thinking when it comes to feeling full.
My point is that you don’t need to feel hungry when leaning out to a healthy body fat percentage.
In most cases—you just need to know what foods to eat, and you can stay full for a long time—even while dieting.
If you need help with getting your goal physique, check out our body transformation program for men.