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Hungry Too Often?

By Guadalupe Hilario


Guadalupe Hilario

First Published: 2013/07/30

Satiety, or the state of being satisfactory full and unable to take on more food, can be a wonderfully pleasant feeling an individual gets from eating. Normally, this satisfaction is reached after partaking of a full-course or a buffet-style breakfast, lunch or dinner setting. However, as difficult as this may be to believe  for some, there are people who continue to experience hunger even after a heavy meal. So bearing in mind that over-eating leads to undue weight gain, which turn is associated with a poor state of health, how can one achieve satiety without needing to eat again too soon afterwards?


The Mental And the Physical

Many diet books advise people to chew slowly so they will feel fuller than if they had eaten quickly - even after eating less food at a slower pace. As explained in in the February issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter (2012), eating slowly doesn't always work but when it does, the reason has much to do with the brain as with the gut.

Scientist have known for some time that a full stomach is only part of what causes someone to feel satisfied after a meal. The brain also receives a series of signals from digestive hormones secreted by the gastrointestinal tract. Some hormones stimulate hunger while others produce a feeling of satiety. On a physiological level, satiety inhibits "ghrelin," a stomach hormone that increases hunger; in contrat to ghrelin is "lipten," a hormone produced in fat tissues that signals satiation and increases energy.

Some people may continue to eat even when full, particularly when engaged in activities such as working at a desk job, driving long distances, or watching television for hours on end. Such a habit of continuing to eat even when full, whatever its root cause is, increases ghrelin to abnormal levels, thus promoting a frequent desire for food. In such case, psychological food is perceived as part of the activity instead of means to relieve hunger. The result? The lack of necessary energy consumption related to eating and the absence of long-term compliance with a proper dietary regimen can go by the "waist side" and decrease the ability to feel satiation over time.


Treatable Form of Addiction

People who suffer from such a "compulsive eating disorder" or food addiction tend to display many of the characteristics of addicts and alcoholics. Food addicts develop a physical, mental and emotional craving as well as a chemical addiction of food. The characteristics of food addicts can include being obsessed or preoccupied with food, and having a lack of self control when it comes to constantly needing to consume it. Such compulsive eating results in a cycle of bingeing, which in turn results in negative consequences such as obesity or diabetes.

A variety of conditions may negatively affect how one reaches normal satiety. Conditions such as illness, food orientation or simply unhealthy eating habits are just three of them. Nevertheless, it could be frustrating when when an individual knows he or she isn't hungry but cannot see the need to stop eating. In this case, uit is best to know which food to consume while one is on the way to solving this dilemma.

This sense of pleasure and comfort derived from an inability to control eating is treatable with counseling and therapy. According to the Center of Counseling and Health Resources in Edmonds, Washington, US, approximately 80 percent of sufferers who seek professional help can recover completely from, or experience significant reduction in, their symptoms.


Foods that Promote Frequent Hunger

Refined carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, white pasta and sugar, when eaten alone or more than any nutrient (such as protein, fats, vitamins and minerals) can make one hungry again after about an hour by first causing a sudden rise followed by a  fall in blood sugar, which then triggers the feeling of hunger. The lists of foods that provide short-term satiety are endless and are very tempting to load into the grocery cart. These include processed snacks, cookies, crackers and pastries. Foods like these are usually not nutritionally substantial.

Likewise, salty foods, particularly salted popcorn or nuts, can induce continued hunger. Several reasons and theories explain why salty foods don't sate us as much or as fast. For one, many researchers believe that salty foods increase cravings by dehydrating the body, which in turn makes one thirsty as well as crave for more food (a type of craving that may not be caused by hunger alone).


Foods that Satisfy Longer

Longer-lasting satiety can enable an individual to control weight and maintain overall health. "Remember the primary key when preparing a meal: include protein, good fats and fibers," says Shelly McGuire, PhD, spokesman for the American Society for Nutrition. According to her, eight foods that can help to achieve this goal are described below:



A single egg contains only 70 calories, yet provides more than six grams of protein. People who eat eggs for the first meal of the day tend to feel full longer because the "concentrated" protein is able to avert hunger for a good four hours, at least.


Hearty Soups

A soup made of chopped vegetables and meat will activate the brain signals needed to provide information that one has had enough to eat. A good example of such a soup is one that incorporates fiber-rich vegetables such as potatoes, celery, spinach and the like.


Dense Fruits

Fruits like apples, bananas and avocados (which contain mono-unsaturated fats) help slow hunger and are rich in folate, potassium and vitamins. From numerous  studies, it appears that the foods that contain these three nutrients are more filling than other foods.



A normal portion of oatmeal provides four to seven grams of protein even before milk is added to it. To make this fare more fun to eat, one can add fruits such as banana slices, strwberries, apples or whatever type of fruit one prefers.


Nut and Legumes

Soybeans, red beans, green beans, and long beans are beans that can be made into soup, or casseroles that are delicious and filling. Nuts are rich in protien, about seven grams per half cup. They are also rich in complex carbohydrates, which take longer to digest.



Fiber-rich foods contain fewer calories per gram that low-fiber foods such as carbohydrates. Fiber-rich foods also necessitate more chewing and slow the passage of food through the digestive tract. The fiber in carbohydrates helps prevent those peaks and valleys in blood sugar levels that can cause cravings and result in poor food choices. They may also stimulate the satiety hormone in the brain. Fiber from whole grains, fruits and vegetables with skins, beans, lentils and legumes manages to assist in the reduction of calorie intake and increases satiety level.



Multiples studies have demonstrated that the protein prolongs satiety more than carbohydrates or fat do. Eating an ample amount of protein, as individually recommended by one's nutritionist, will help an individual stay full. Although meeting protein needs is important, eating more protein than body needs does not boost metabolism. The best choices come from lean protein from meats, skinless chicken, seafood, low-fat dairy, legumes, lentils and soy products, among others.



Cutting fat intake reduces the calories of a food item such as marbled meat. However, too little fat can reduce the flavor and texture of food, making it less enjoyable. Additionally, dietary fat is essential to staying healthy and promotes longer satiety than refined carbohydrates do, although to a lesser extent than protein. Besides, including some (read: not excessive) fats will bring the pleasure and satisfaction back to your meals so you're less likely to snack later.

To simply matters altogether, there are few points to remember. Eat at normal intervals and be satisfied. It is best to keep in mind that proteins have the highest satiety value, while carbohydrates have a lower satiety value than fats. Moreover, bulky foods (fiber) provide a sense of satiety, and solid foods are more filling than semi-solid foods or liquids. That's it, concisely.


Needs vs. Wants

Satiety manipulation holds promise as a means to control obesity. Different foods may have different effects on our feelings of hunger and satiety but so does developing good eating habits, which is often overlooked. To maintain a healthy body, it is imperative to be able to distinguished between "need" and "want" for food. Moreover, when making food choices,it's still important to meet the body's nutritional requirements in our the saying goes, "We eat to live but not live to eat."


Almeida, Caiky Xavier. ""One Year in Mission" Project, South American Division." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. November 27, 2021. Accessed March 05, 2024.

Almeida, Caiky Xavier. ""One Year in Mission" Project, South American Division." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. November 27, 2021. Date of access March 05, 2024,

Almeida, Caiky Xavier (2021, November 27). "One Year in Mission" Project, South American Division. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved March 05, 2024,