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Dr. Phil Reveals: 14 Science-Backed Foods That Make You Full

Certain snacks can make you feel fuller and more satisfied than others, and that’s why Phil McGraw, PhD, advocates eating more of them in his new book The 20/20 Diet.



These nuts contain healthy, monounsaturated fats as well as vitamin E and magnesium, which have been shown to increase our sense of fullness. A study in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism compared whole almonds to almond butter, almond flour, almond oil, and no almond products to see which had the greatest effects on satiety. Whole almonds had the strongest results. Almonds have also been shown to support the cardiovascular system and healthy cholesterol.



These long-extolled, fiber-filled delicious fruits have been shown to boost the feeling of fullness. Especially when compared to apple sauce and apple juice with and without added fiber, whole apples caused subjects to eat less at their next meal, according to a study published in Appetite. Apples contain a chemical called quercetin, which has been shown to support cardiovascular health and immune function.



Also known as garbanzo beans, these legumes are naturally filling due to the high amounts of both protein and fiber they contain. One study found that subjects reported a greater perceived satiation and an improvement in perceived bowel function, as well as a reduction in overall food intake, while consuming chickpeas. What’s more, study participants started eating more processed snack foods once they stopped eating the chickpeas, which suggests that chickpeas might help reduce desire for high-calorie, low-nutrient junk foods. Chickpeas are also high in folate, which helps support heart health.


Dried plums (prunes)

A study out of Greece looked at how dried plums affected hunger, and the researchers found that participants who ate snacks that included prunes felt less hungry and had less desire to eat between the snack and their next meal. This could be thanks to the high soluble fiber content found in prunes. Prunes also have a normalizing effect on blood sugar by slowing down the process of food leaving the stomach. Experts believe that prunes could also support bone health.


Greens (any leafy greens)

Researchers looked at how eating a salad containing iceberg and romaine lettuce before a meal affected fullness and food intake. When study subjects were required to eat a salad before a pasta meal, they tended to eat fewer calories overall and feel fuller. Greens are low in calories, but nutrition experts theorize they produce a feeling of fullness thanks to their volume.



The objective of a study conducted at the University of Toronto Department of Nutritional Sciences was to compare how several legumes affect appetite and food intake. They compared chickpeas, lentils, navy beans, and yellow peas to pasta and sauce. Among other things, they found that a meal with lentils had the strongest impact on satiety. Lentils were the only food that reduced overall food intake. Lentils are a great source of protein and they also boast a lot of potassium, fiber, iron, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.


Peanut butter (natural)

In a study conducted on obese women, Brazilian researchers found that peanut butter, when added to a breakfast meal, helped regulate glucose levels and also increased the production of hormones related to satiety. (In other words, it helped the subjects feel full and reduced their desire to eat after the meal). Peanut butter (when you get an all-natural version that isn’t loaded down with sugar, is a healthy source of fat to fuel your body.


Pistachios (roasted, unsalted)

A study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that of subjects who participated in a weight loss program, people who ate pistachios as a snack showed a lower body mass index and lower triglycerides compared to people who noshed on pretzels.



A study in the journal Metabolism found that eating raisins, especially in combination with walking more throughout the day, reduces hunger and helps subjects eat less, possibly because of how raisins alter hormones related to satiety. They also found that subjects had a decrease in LDL cholesterol as well as post-glucose meal levels. Raisins provide your body with a type of antioxidant called anthocyanins, which scientists believe provide many positive health benefits, such as supporting heart health.



When compared to snacks of cheese, milk, and water, yogurt had the greatest ability to suppress appetite, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. The subjects rated their hunger as 24 percent lower after eating yogurt than after eating the cheese or drinking the milk or water. Yogurt is pretty much a nutritional all-star as long as you’re not eating varieties filled with artificial sweeteners or junky add-ins like chocolate chips. It has healthy bacteria that can support digestion and contains calcium. Greek yogurt in particular is typically much higher in protein and lower in sugar overall.



Several studies on how eggs affect fullness all point to the notion that eggs have more of a tendency to “stick to your ribs”—especially when compared with carbohydrate-centric meals. Subjects in these studies ate less throughout the day after eating eggs for either breakfast or lunch. One study even showed that they ate less for the following 36 hours. Eggs are also good sources of vitamins A, E, and B12—and they’re inexpensive.



One study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the effects of cod and beef on subjects’ hunger and satiety. Participants ate less at a meal later that day after having consumed the cod at an earlier meal. Low in calories and mercury, cod is a delicious white fish that is versatile in recipes.



Whole-grain rye has been shown in several studies to increase the feeling of lasting fullness, even when compared to other whole grains such as wheat. Some researchers point to the high water-binding capacity of rye fiber (which causes it to stay in your stomach longer) as the possible reason it increases fullness.



I know you might have some trepidation about tofu (“You mean that mushy stuff?”) but give it a try. In a study in the journal Appetite, when researchers compared the effects of a tofu meal to the effects of a chicken meal, they found that the tofu meal kept the participants full for several hours longer. Soy foods have been found to support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.


The 20 Healthiest Foods

In Dr. Phil’s new diet book, The 20/20 Diet, you’ll start by eating only 20 crucial foods, which may studies show enhance your metabolism and promote feeling full and satisfied. The book also empowers you with the mental, behavioral, environmental, social, and nutritional tools to help you reach your weight-loss goal. Learn more and get the book here.  

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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