What Is Satiety?
Satiety is best described as the feeling of fullness or loss of appetite after a meal. It is defined as the physical or psychological satisfaction that one has after consuming a meal. Satiety can be immediate, like the feeling of quenching thirst, or can last for a few hours, like the feeling of fullness after a meal.
Satiety depends on the nutrients in the food or beverage that you’re consuming. When you consume something sugary, like a soft drink, you might feel satisfied for some time, but the feeling of hunger sets in soon after. However, if you consume a sugary drink along with a protein-packed sandwich or other filling foods, the feeling of satisfaction typically lasts for longer. This is because sugar in the liquid form is absorbed and digested easily by the body compared to other nutrients like proteins or starch found in bread. These nutrients take longer to be digested, and hence, the feeling of fullness or satiety lasts for longer. Including fats in your meal leads to longer-lasting satiety. Your body takes a longer time to absorb and digest fats compared to proteins and carbohydrates.
The feeling of satiety can affect how much and when you will eat next.
Every food has its own satiety index. This is why you feel full easily when you consume certain food items compared to others. The satiety index was developed in 1995 in a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 240 calorie portions of popular food items were ranked in comparison to white bread. Boiled potatoes were ranked the highest with a satiety index of 323, while french fries scored 116. This shows how different food items and different methods of cooking can affect the satiety index.
The foods that score more than 100 are considered to be filling, while those that score less than 100 are considered less satisfying. The satiety index of white bread is 100, and this is used as the baseline.
Leptin is termed the satiety hormone. It reduces your appetite and makes you feel full. Another hormone called ghrelin signals your brain to eat. Once you finish your meal, the levels of ghrelin are lowered, and the levels of leptin are increased. Leptin signals your brain to reduce your appetite and stimulate satiety.
Satiety As A Diet Weapon
In recent times, satiety is termed as the new diet weapon that can help reduce calories by managing hunger. It is considered an important factor in weight management. Consuming foods that are satisfying without excessive calories and a good amount of nutrients can help moderate your calorie intake and manage weight gain.
Satiety Signals In The Body
You feel satiated after a meal due to a number of signals in the body that begins when you consume a food or drink and as they are being processed in the body. These signals, called satiety signals, are generated in response to how filling the food or drink likely is, the sensory experience including appearance, smell, and taste, hormones released, and expansion of the stomach.
The reinforcing value of food and the pleasure one derives from eating, and other appetitive behaviors (smoking, drinking, drug abuse) are related to the activity of the dopaminergic system. Dopamine (DA) is a catecholamine neurotransmitter, chemical messengers that transmit signals between nerve cells. It mainly modulates the reward circuit and may be involved in the individual differences in food reinforcement, eating, and obesity. Several findings suggest that altered dopamine signaling capacity increases the risk of obesity.
Genetics and Satiety
Genes are involved in the regulation of energy expenditure, metabolic rate, and body fat accumulations. Changes in certain genes can influence the feeling of fullness after eating.
The DRD2 gene carries instructions for the production of the D2 subtype of the dopamine receptor. When dopamine binds to the receptor under normal circumstances, it reduces the feeling of hunger and increases satiety. Changes in this gene can lower the amount of this receptor, and this can lead to binge eating or overeating.
rs1800497 is a single nucleotide polymorphism SNP in the DRD2 gene. The T allele is the risk allele, and people with the T allele were found to be less sensitive to dopamine activity, have more body fat, and lower satiety responsiveness scores.
The MC4R gene carries instructions for the production of melanocortin 4 receptor. This receptor is responsible for sending signals that make you stop eating after you eat a meal and your stomach is full. When you’re hungry, this receptor is inhibited, and this leads to an increase in appetite. Changes in this gene are found to be associated with obesity.
rs17782313 is an SNP in the MC4R gene. The C allele is the risk allele. People having the C allele are found to have a risk of obesity, higher intake of total calories including fat, protein, and lower satiety scores.
The FTO gene carries instructions for the production of fat mass and obesity-associated protein. Changes in this gene can lead to increased hunger and energy intake.
rs9939609 is an SNP in the FTO gene. People with the AA and TA forms of this SNP were found to have impaired satiety responses.
Non-Genetic Factors That Influence Satiety
Factors that influence satiety include
- The portion sizes
- Emotional state
- Variety of foods and drinks
- The social situation around eating a meal including number of people and type of occasion
- Physical activity levels
- Palatability of the meal
Early satiety is more common in women than men.
Food intake declines with age. An article published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition reported that sensory-specific satiety changes with age and is absent in people over 65 years of age. This can explain why older people consume monotonous diets.
Certain health conditions like gastroparesis, some cancers, and cancer treatment can lead to early satiety. Any health condition that impairs the emptying of your stomach can make you feel full faster.
Early satiety occurs when you feel full after eating a small portion of an adequate-sized meal. People with early satiety cannot eat a normal-sized meal and feel full after a few bites. Certain people may also feel nauseous while consuming a normal meal.
Health conditions like gastroparesis, irritable bowel syndrome, certain cancers, and their treatment can cause early satiety. Any condition that impairs the emptying of your stomach can make you feel full faster.
Early satiety is a minor problem, but prolonged early satiety can lead to nutrient deficiencies, starvation, and poor wound healing. It can be an indication of a serious underlying health condition.
You can try to enhance the feelings of satiety to help control how much you eat and manage your weight.
- Include protein in every meal. Protein-packed foods make you feel more full and satisfied and are good for building muscle also.
- High-fiber foods can also make you feel satiated faster and enhance the effect. Include fiber in your diet. Fruits, vegetables, wholegrain bread, cereals are some of the high-fiber foods.
- Opt for lower fat versions of certain foods to manage your fat intake and reduce the energy density of the diet. Energy density is the number of calories per gram of food or amount of energy per gram of food.
- Don’t chew your food very hastily. Chewing your food for longer can make you feel more satiated.
- Try to minimize distractions while eating. Pay more attention to your food. This can also enhance your feeling of satiety.
- Limit your intake of high-calorie drinks like soft drinks. They are less satiating and increase your calorie intake.
- Alcoholic drinks contain a lot of calories and stimulate your appetite. You tend to eat more after consuming alcohol. Try to cut down on alcohol consumption if you want to manage your weight.
If you have early satiety, the treatment usually depends on the underlying cause. Your doctor may ask you to
- Eat multiple smaller meals during the day.
- Reduce the amount of fat and fiber in your meals to help with easy digestion.
- Take foods in the form of liquids or puree.
- Take medication to manage stomach discomfort.
- Take appetite stimulants.
- Minor surgeries in severe cases to meet your nutrient needs.
- Satiety is the feeling of fullness or loss of appetite after a meal. It is the physical or psychological satisfaction that one has after consuming a meal. Satiety depends on the nutrients in the food or beverage that you’re consuming.
- Every food has its own satiety index. Some foods can fill you up faster than others, and the feeling of satiety lasts for longer. The satiety index of white bread is 100, and this is used as the baseline.
- The satiety signals in the body determine the response to the food you’re consuming.
Leptin is termed the satiety hormone. It signals the brain to reduce your appetite and make you feel full.
- Some people have a condition called early satiety, which makes them full after consuming small portions of a meal. This may be caused by certain health conditions.
- Changes in certain genes affect satiety. The T allele of SNP rs1800497 found in the DRD2 gene, the C allele of SNP rs17782313 found in the MC4R gene, and A allele of SNP rs9939609 found in the FTO gene are linked to low satiety responses.
- The portion size, variety of food items, emotional state, social environment, and physical activity levels can influence satiety. Underlying health conditions, gender, and age influence early satiety.
- You can manage your diet to enhance feelings of satiety and control your calorie intake. The underlying health condition needs to be treated to manage early satiety.
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