Limiting calories and getting hungry isn’t fun. Your mind is playing tricks on you, and you are constantly wondering if getting visible abs is worth leaving out carbs.
Well, a simple change in strength may be exactly what you need to help you stay full longer and thus reduce carbohydrate cravings when you are in calorie deficit. Here are some compelling research.
What researchers have done
One study compared calorie-adjusted meals with three different starches – rice, pasta, and potatoes – that also matched in calories and carbohydrates (1). All three scenarios were combined with the same amount of vegetables and ground beef sauce (Bolognese).
All participants ate each of the three meals on three different days in random order. The participants consumed similar meals outside of the test meals on all three test days. This was reflected in the basic hunger before testing, as hunger / fullness were the same before all three meals, although the desire to eat before the noodle meal was slightly higher.
Meat sauce generally goes better with pasta, not to mention pasta itself is pretty tasty … at least for me and a few million Olive Garden addicts.
The researchers measured the participants̵
What they found
After eating, the hunger and the desire to eat decreased more with the potato flour than with the rice or pasta flour. The potato meals also caused a greater increase in abundance. This trend was the same three hours after eating.
This agrees well with previous research that shows that potatoes are very filling even on their own (2).
Why do people think potatoes are bad?
Potatoes – especially white ones – have a bad rap for their high glycemic index, but that’s pretty much irrelevant if someone is already losing weight, which in addition to the glycemic indices of food content, brings them health benefits.
And contrary to popular belief (from the 1990s), the glycemic index is not a good measure of satiety. After all, potatoes are measured as high glycemic, but noodles are pretty low (3).
Even children who ate highly glycemic mashed potatoes were fuller and ate fewer total calories than children who ate rice or pasta (4).
The filling effect of food ultimately depends on the energy density, not the glycemic index. The energy density indicates how many calories food contains per volume / weight. The less energy is dense, the better.
Rice has a little less energy density than pasta, but potatoes are more than half the energy density of both. Potatoes contain more water, so each bite weighs more and your stomach continues to expand, creating more fullness at full calories.
In addition, people tend to think of potatoes as fries and fries, which, due to the processing and the added oil, makes the energy density of potatoes skyrocket. But don’t confuse this with the only innocent potato.
What this means for you
If you are struggling with your appetite, opting for potatoes is the better way to go. They feel more satiated, may eat fewer calories, and make it easier to stop eating so darn much.
In terms of starch satiety, potatoes are the top priority. So put them on your plate and get slim without suffering.
Related: Eat more white potatoes
Related: Potatoes are paleo
- Zhang, Zhuoshi, et al. “Subjective satiety after meals with rice, pasta and potatoes.” Nutrients, MDPI, November 12, 2018.
- E, Holt SH, Miller JC, Petocz P, Farmakalidis. “A saturation index for common foods.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine.
- J, Beloved A, Lee MI, Abdillahi M, Jones. “Fullness after eating potatoes and other carbohydrate test meals.” Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, US National Library of Medicine.
- Akilen R, Deljoomanesh N, Hunschede S, Smith CE, Arshad MU, Kubant R, Anderson GH; “The Effects of Potatoes and Other Carbohydrate Side Dishes Consumed with Meat on Food Intake, Glycemia, and Satiety Response in Children.” Nutrition & Diabetes, US National Library of Medicine.