According to Barbara Rolls, Ph.D. from Penn State University, the stomach monitors the volume of food we eat rather than the number of calories. Therefore, your stomach will tell you that you’re full after you eat 4 cups of air-popped popcorn at 150 calories, but not after you’ve had a 1-ounce serving of cheese puffs, which also contain 150 calories.
This is why people have so much trouble losing weight. They try to cut down on portion sizes and eat smaller portions of foods they shouldn’t be eating any way.
In order to become permanently thin, you need to eat large amounts of foods with low caloric densities and reduce calorically dense empty calories since they do not trigger feelings of fullness. This is a concept called Eating Big, according to Liz Applegate, a nutritionist and author of Eat Smart and Play Hard.
Vegetables and fruits are the best when it comes to eating big. Most vegetables average 20 calories per serving, while fruits average 60 calories.
Fruits and vegetables also contain fiber. A recent study showed that when people added 14 grams of fiber per day over a 4-month period, they reduced their calorie intake by about 10%.
Eating foods that contain water, like soups and watermelon, tends to reduce the amount of calories consumed at the next meal since they make you feel full longer. In fact, studies show that eating foods that have a high water content was more effective than drinking water in terms of reducing appetite.
Eating more often is another tool for losing weight. In one study, when participants consumed breakfast and a morning snack, they ate less at lunchtime than when breakfast was the only morning food consumed.
Part of the secret to weight loss is understanding the concept of caloric density. Picture 3 jars the size of your stomach. Place 500 calories of cheese in one jar, and it fills about 20% of the space. The same is true with 500 calories of beef. However, place 500 calories of beans, rice and salad in a jar and there isn’t enough room. When you consume foods that are nutrient dense instead of calorie dense it is almost impossible to overeat!
Most people abandon their weight loss efforts because they don’t like feeling hungry. I don’t blame them. Eating healthier foods allows people to feel full and satisfied, a plan they can stay with for life!