Should We Eat to Satiety?
There are a lot of ways to eat to satiety. I should know, I’ve been doing it all of my life, except for some brief calorie-counting interludes.
I used to eat to satiety when I was a kid and my diet was the Standard Italian-American Diet. I don’t know if that’s a real phrase, but basically it means I ate boat loads of pasta, some vegetables, and all of the prepackaged junk food I could convince my mom to buy. Eating to satiety made me overweight.
I used to eat to satiety as a young adult on the Standard American Diet consisting of some home-cooked meals, pizza, takeout, restaurants, buffets, and grabbing snacks from convenience stores and fast food joints. Eating to satiety made me obese.
I used to eat to satiety when I was in my mid-20s on a low-carb diet. I lost weight fast, initially. Then, it slowed down, and I could never lose that last 20 or 30 pounds. Eventually, I gained all of the weight back. Eating to satiety provided temporary weight loss.
I used to eat to satiety when I was in my early 30’s and I tried a vegetarian diet. I ate mostly grains, legumes, baked goods, crappy oils, granola, fruit, takeout, restaurant foods, desserts, and the like. I actually managed to get down to my ideal weight, but I was still skinny-fat and felt like crap. I eventually abandoned the diet and regained all of the weight plus a bit more for good measure, I suppose. Eating to satiety helped me temporarily achieve an ideal weight.
I used to eat to satiety in my mid-to-late 30’s on a Paleo diet. I started Paleo just as I was giving up on a calorie-counting regimen. I was still 35 or 40 lbs over my ideal weight, but I was hungry all of the time so continuing with calorie counting wasn’t an option. Finally, with Paleo, food quality was front and center. I deleted my calorie counting app, and I started enjoying food again. I even lost another 10 pounds pretty quickly, and I was feeling great. Eating to satiety got me to within 25 to 30 pounds of my ideal weight and made me feel wonderful.
I used to eat to satiety when I added more real-food carbohydrates to my Paleo diet—foods like white potatoes and white rice. I lost a little more weight doing this and also felt more energetic, but I was still a good 20 pounds over my ideal weight. I had come to accept this as being my body type. After all, I looked fine, had energy to be physically active, I wasn’t obese, and I was happy. Eating to satiety got me within 20 lbs of my ideal weight.
Today, I still eat to satiety, but I’ve added a lot more plant food to my diet and eliminated added fats, like oils and butter (I had already been avoiding added sugars and proteins). I also added non-Paleo-diet foods to my menu—foods that may not be considered Paleo, but that I believe were very much a part of the human diet during the Paleolithic era, like grains and legumes. Eating to satiety has helped me achieve my ideal body weight and composition for going on 11 months now.
And I think this will work well in the long run.
See, I’ve been eating to satiety for most of my life, just with varying results. I’ve lost a total of about 90 pounds since 2010. Thankfully, this time when calorie counting stopped working for me, Paleo was there to get me really thinking about food quality. And after several years of practice, tweaking, reading, learning, and openness to new information and experimentation, I was able to find what really worked for me.
So, should you eat to satiety?
If you’re eating to satiety now but are having trouble losing that last 10, 20, 30 or however-many-pounds, maybe it’s not the ‘eating to satiety’ that’s the problem, and what’s holding you back is your dietary framework. Consider tweaking it in the directions of increased nutrient density, increased fiber content, and decreased refined additives (like sugars, oils, other fats, and isolated proteins), while focusing on whole foods that are close to their natural form.
When you do this right, you will increase the volume of food that you eat while reducing the calories you consume.
“The more refined and intellectual our needs become, the less they are capable of satiety.”
― William Stanley Jevons