Thursday, April 16, 2009

Healthy Fats Keep You Feeling Fuller, Less Hungry

So we keep hearing about eating the 'right' kinds of fats, and that we need to include 'good' fats in our diets in order to achieve and maintain optimal health, but now there's another reason to add a little healthy fat to your meals.

In a Dutch study published in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers were interested in finding out whether there was a difference in the secretion of hormones related to fat intake and resulting feelings of fullness when different types of fats were ingested. These hormones send signals the brain to tell you to slow down or stop eating so that the food currently in your digestive system has a chance to actually be digested!

Participants ingested either saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, diunsaturated fat or a control infusion and then went to have lunch. Their feelings of fullness and hunger, as well as how much food they ate at lunch was measured. When unsaturated fats were consumed, feelings of fullness or satiety and reduced hunger were significantly higher than in the control condition as well as in the saturated fat condition. There was no difference on food intake.

Despite the fact that there was not a significant difference in the amount of food consumed at lunch following the ingestion of the different types of fats, the finding that 'healthy' fats make us feel fuller and less hungry is definitely a good sign. Think about it, the people in this study essentially had free-run of a buffet for lunch. In real life, if you're watching what you eat and are practicing portion control, then the main thing is that you feel full and are not constantly feeling hunger pangs, or else there's a good chance that you'll go raid the fridge for a second helping!

Try sprinkling a few nuts, seeds or a bit of olive oil in your meals and you just might find that you won't be as hungry going from meal to meal!