The avocado’s effectiveness in reaching feelings of fullness and what is known as the Satiety Index may be a key link to effective weight loss. The Internet is buzzing with the latest research released in Nutrition Journal’s November 2013 publication, which found that consuming half an avocado leads to a reduced chance of snacking after meals and a greater feeling of fullness. What’s the secret behind participants feeling full and less peckish after consuming the green fruit?
The answer, while seemingly simple, lies in large part in people’s feelings of satiety. “People who feel satisfied are less likely to snack between meals,” said Dr. Joan Sabate, Chair of the nutrition department of Loma Linda University.
Dr. Sabate lead the research studies based on the Hass avocado and incorporating half of the fruit into the lunches of their test cases. The study reviewed how the fruit consumption influenced four factors of their subjects: satiety, blood sugar levels, insulin responses and subsequent food intake. Their study found that avocados and their link to feelings of fullness could be a key aid in effective weight loss management.
Satiety – or the feelings of fullness – provides a regulatory signal to our brains when it’s time to stop eating. This is done through our bodies as food and drink is consumed, digested and absorbed. So if our bodies would just listen to when our feelings of fullness arrived, wouldn’t we have already solved our own weight issues and curbed our eating habits long ago?
Unfortunately, it’s a more complex story than that, as full satiety signals often take 15-20 minutes after eating before people process the complete feeling of fullness. The British Nutrition Foundation reveals there are a number of other factors that also control our eating behavior and impact satiety – including portion size, emotional states and social situations which may or may not include alcohol.
The Satiety Index
The avocado’s key ability to lead to feelings of fullness and impact weight loss is not lost amongst other foods which also curb hunger through the Satiety Index. The Satiety Index was created by Dr. Susanne Holt, where foods rated with a higher Satiety Index score were ones that kept hunger down longer in participants than foods with a lower index score.
Fruits Have Almost Double the Satiety Index Score
Holt set the Satiety Index baseline at 100, where white bread was the benchmark used in comparison against 38 other foods tested for their satiety in subjects. In general, fruits had a higher Satiety Index score of 1.7 times, or nearly double that of white bread.
A quick scan of the Satiety Index reveals that in general, fruits (such as oranges, bananas, apples) and proteins (lentils, cheese, fish and beef) rank quite high on the index scale. Some carbohydrates do as well; potatoes rank at 323 percent, for example.
However it’s important to note that satiety is not the only factor to consider when addressing other issues such as sugar and fat content. Fries, for example, are still ranked at 116 percent, but it is doubtful that anyone from the health or medical profession would recommend ingesting fries for weight loss management or simply for the sake of feeling full if there were other healthier alternatives.
The Satiety Index is helpful then, in demonstrating which foods give the biggest feelings of satisfaction versus those that don’t.
The list of foods low on the index include snacks, such as peanuts, chips and ice cream.
Some of the best foods for satiety include proteins such as eggs, beans and the aforementioned beef. And for a snack that did make the Satiety Index score: popcorn. As USA Today reports, as long as it’s not “smothered in butter, oil, and salt,” the hull is rich with polyphenols – antioxidants with disease-fighting properties. And of course, the avocado, with its ability to aid in the feelings of fullness is amongst the other foods to help the journey of effective weight loss.
By Joscelyne Yu