134 The Weight of Food

A researcher at Penn State University (Barbara Rolls) figured out a way for us to think about what to choose to control our appetite.  She wanted to find out what made us feel full after a meal so that we would be satisfied and stop eating.


It turns out that the number of calories we consume is NOT what makes us stop but rather the weight of the food. Hmmm… that sounds something like bulk (water and fiber and no calories)… that would create weight. It is as though our stomach has a scale in it and when we reach a certain number of grams of food, the scale signals our brain and tells it “that’s enough… stop!”  If the stomach scale is not satisfied, then we eat a little more. Ohhhh… I think we need to know about this.


What happens is that foods that contain water tend to be heavier (water is heavy) but the water has no calories so there are fewer calories per pound. Dr. Rolls gives this a fancy name… low energy density… in other words there are very few calories per pound. (See Lesson Five of the First Session Study Guides.)


I’ll bet you already know which foods hold a lot of water and fiber (bulk) but here are some examples:


  • Soups in general are low in calories except for those that are made with cream and milk. Check the Food Coach recipes for some watery, low calories soups.


  • Salads with lots of vegetables and low fat dressings.


  • Virtually any fruits and vegetables would fit this description with the exception of avocados or coconuts.


  • Bean dishes are loaded with water and fiber.


  • Whole grains would be on the list as well.


These are the foods that will accelerate weight loss and cause you to feel full sooner and stay full longer. One interesting pointsimply drinking water will not turn off your appetite. Apparently our stomach scale does not register plain water the way it registers watery foods. Make sure you drink your water but know that by itself it will not cause you to feel full.


Choose Well

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