I found this article article on the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health website (I’m a frequent visitor now that I work there-they have some great info!) that reviews various research studies, and suggests that the key to feeling full is not the caloric content of what we eat, but the volume. We stop eating because of the amount of food that we consume, not the amount of calories. I can attest to the truth of that for myself 100%!! Sometimes if I know I have a little while until I will eat again, I try to eat something with a slightly higher caloric content to hold me over longer. Never works. The authors of this article suggest that if you substitute fruits and vegetables (low energy density foods) for some of the foods in your diet that are high in energy density (cookies, butter, bacon…), you can eat just as much, feel just as full, but take in fewer calories. Score!
To give an example of what I am talking about, one study looked at individuals who were given yogurt-based shakes before eating a meal. They were given either 300 ml, 450 ml or 600 ml sized shakes. The people who took in the higher volume felt fuller and ate less at the subsequent meal-what they did not know is that their shakes were made larger simply by injecting air. There was the same exact amount of calories in each sized shake.
Something important to note about the article is that it is not a research article-it simply reviews other research articles. Their hypothesis was not the original hypothesis in any of the studies they looked at, and none of the studies were controlled to attempt to prove the hypothesis of fruit and vegetable intake promoting weight-loss. Nonetheless, I think it is a great article that presents very interesting and logical ideas. They also end the article with some great tips for utilizing fruits and vegetables in your diet most effectively. Let me know what you think!