These three words sound similar but they have very different roles in appetite management.
Satiation is how much a food or meal fills you up immediately after eating, satiety is how long it keep you feeling full and satisfaction is how well that food or meal satisfied you from an enjoyment perspective. Here are some examples to help you differentiate:
You eat a Chinese meal and feel really full afterwards but then are hungry an hour later. This meal provides high satiation but low satiety – because all that rice fills you up but has a high glycaemic index (GI) so doesn’t keep you full for long. We can use high satiation foods to good effect, when we are ‘starving’ after a long day outdoors. For example, having a bowl of soup or a vegetable juice when returning home can curb your appetite. These foods provide high satiation due to the fluid content, and also help to rehydrate you – ‘win – win’.
You eat two salad sandwiches for much and feel starving an hour later, or one salad sandwich with some lean chicken filling and are still not hungry three hours later. The difference here is satiety, this time because the protein in the chicken takes longer to digest than bread and salad, so your body feels fuller longer. This is actually the whole premise behind higher protein, lower carb diets. The calorie content of carbohydrate and protein is exactly the same (4 calories per gram) but protein requires about ¼ of its calories for digestion whereas carbs are quicker and easier to break down. This means a higher protein, lower carb ‘diet’ can be more filling for equal calorie intake and therefore help curb appetite.
What about food satisfaction? Well, the best way I can explain this is – you know when you are trying to be ‘healthy’ and you avoid a sweet treat after dinner, but eat your way around the kitchen – pantry, fridge, fruit bowl – but still don’t feel satisfied? Then you succumb to a single square of chocolate and can get on with your life? That is satisfaction. Sometimes, it is better to (mindfully and without guilt) eat the square or two of chocolate, enjoy it and move on. It is important to have a ‘diet’ based on predominantly ‘healthy’ foods, but it is also healthy to be able to include foods that are highly satisfying in moderation – that wonderful word we explored in our previous blog “Mind your Mouth“. If you look for something sweet after you have just eaten dinner, you are not after satiety or satiation, you are after pure food satisfaction.
Enjoy ‘something sweet’ responsibly!
If in doubt, contact one of our team at Help Yourself.