Minimalist Diet: Exploring the Fullness Factor

Sun, Feb 24, 2013 2-minute read 272 words

The challenge with 6 meals diet is not to get hungry too soon between the meals, but to be hungry enough right before your next meal. The key is finding the balance between the size of the meal and ingredients that go into it. In this post, I discuss “fullness factor” - a food metric that helps me find that balance.

Have you noticed how some foods tend to fill you faster and prolong the feeling of “fullness” in your stomach? The numerous “satiety” studies have found that not only weight, but also some nutritional properties of food, like higher protein content, may increase meal’s satiety. The folks at NutritionData actually developed a mathematical model that estimates the satiating effect of the meal by looking at the nutritional properties of the ingredients.

According to this analysis, satiety is directly related to nutritional density of the meal, specifically, total amount of calories, protein, dietary fiber and fat per 100 grams. You can see the actual formula on their website.

Using this model, NutritionData lab has derived a unique food metric that estimates how satiated the meal can make you, even before you consume it. It is measured on a scale from 0 to 5, and NutritionData database has fullness factors for most of the foods (including processed). For example, oranges have a slightly higher fullness factor (FF=3.5) than apples (3.3), so they are slightly more “filling”.

Theoretically, by including the ingredients with higher FF, I could make my meals more “filling” without increasing their size or caloric content. Selecting recipes with high FF ingredients was the first step in building my recipes database.