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The biggest issue with maintaining a calorie deficit is often managing feelings of hunger that come with consuming less calories. Luckily, changing the foods you eat can go a long way towards decreasing these feelings of hunger even in a calorie deficit.

The key here is that some foods digest more quickly than others. If you eat foods that digest quickly (foods high in sugars and low in fiber and protein), you’ll end up hungry again before you know it. Not only does this make it hard to stick to your diet, it also increases your risk for diseases like Type 2 Diabetes. But if you eat high fiber, low-sugar foods, you’ll feel full for longer.

Your body can only use so many calories at a time. When you eat calorie-dense foods (like candy), they digest quickly, releasing more calories than your body can use at once. Your body stores the extra calories as fat cells, which are like locked storage units – they aren’t easily converted back into energy. So even though you’ve eaten a lot of calories, you may feel hungry soon after because most of those calories aren’t accessible.

Choosing foods that digest more slowly will make sure that your body consistently has calories available – and lead to less feelings of hunger. In addition, these foods tend to have more volume than calorie-dense foods – meaning you can eat a greater amount of food while still keeping your overall calories low.

Fiber

Eating more fiber is the absolute best thing you can do to feel full with less calories. Dietary fiber slows down digestion, which evens out blood sugar. You’ll feel full for longer, and when you do get hungry, it will be less sudden and overwhelming. You can find fiber on nutrition labels under Carbohydrates. That’s right, fiber is a carbohydrate! Most natural plant-based foods will also contain a good amount of fiber. Download our quick reference guide below for the top high-fiber foods to help you with your weight loss journey.

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Protein

Protein digests much slower than sugars and starches, so it will also help you feel fuller, longer, with less calories than sweet treats. Protein also takes more calories to digest than sugars, starches, or fats, meaning that you actually absorb less calories than are listed on the label.

Fat

While fat also digests slower than most carbohydrates and can help with feeling full longer, fat contains more calories per gram. Too fat much can lead to higher levels of cholesterol and potentially heart problems; speak with your doctor before beginning a high-fat diet.