Getting more full with a variety of foods in one meal with less calories vs. a few foods with more calories. Is this weird?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 05, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Yesterday one of my meals was a big piece of beef ribeye with Yukon gold potatoes cooked in lots of fat totaling over 1000 calories. It satisfied my hunger but I definitely had room for a little more and a few hours later, I was getting a bit hungry again.

Today, I made a meal consisting of a bunch of random shit I threw in together (ahi tuna, tomatoes, asparagus, zucchini, raw goat cheese, and sweet potato) coming in under 800 calories and I was stuffed!

I don't normally do that. I like keeping things simple and have my meals be meat/seafood + a veggie or two. Just wondering if anyone had any idea why this could be? My activity level has been the same for both days.

*Edit: I've noticed this pattern before with previous variegated meals.

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on August 05, 2012
at 08:22 PM

I've noticed this with other variegated meals, so it has happened before.



on August 05, 2012
at 08:06 PM

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7 Answers



on August 05, 2012
at 07:54 PM

I don't think that sounds weird! I've felt the same way before and I think the reason may be either/or 1. Because the volume of food in the second meal described is roughly equal to or more than the volume of food in the first meal described, and 2. I think that the variety of foods may be a bit of a subtle psychological trick. The brain sees all the different things and thinks "Oh wow, look at all that stuff I get to eat!" instead of seeing the meal as more as "Oh look, I have two things on my plate." (Even though the two things may be higher-calorie and sometimes bigger than the variety.)



on August 06, 2012
at 10:00 AM

I suspect than when it comes to hunger and cravings, it's mostly about the micronutrients, so on a SAD, it's very easy to overeat, since most of the food like products are micronutrient depleted, so you'd eat tons more just to get at the one or two things you're after.

It's very much possible to eat high volume and still be craving something, so I don't think this is about satiety.

Where in your case, you've gotten plenty of macros from the first meal, and very few from the second, but got a ton of micronutrients from the second.

I also find that if I consume carbs (berries, starchy veggies, etc.) when I'm barely hungry, I'll be much hungrier a few minutes after, so it's possible that once you've digested the potatoes, you hit the same mechanism.


on August 06, 2012
at 09:22 AM

I'm a volume eater as well. There's a thing called a Satiety index. I'm sure it's not accurate for everyone but it gives you the general idea. Potatoes are one of the highest per calorie, which isn't surprising to anyone who's ever attempted to eat a few pounds of baked potatoes in one sitting.




on August 05, 2012
at 08:14 PM

I notice that too - I eat parts of my meal one type of food at a time think I just like the feeling of finishing one thing and looking down at the plate going "look at all the other stuff I now get to eat."

It's possible that you were also less hungry for the second meal. I don't think two meals is really enough to establish a pattern like this.

Medium avatar


on August 05, 2012
at 08:22 PM

I've noticed this with other variegated meals, so it has happened before.



on August 05, 2012
at 08:09 PM

there's a difference between being "full" and eating enough for hunger. you eat three heads of lettuce and you will be full, but you didn't get enough calories to feed your hunger.

This is one of the reasons veggies are great. eat what you need, and fill up with low calorie veggies.


on August 05, 2012
at 07:53 PM

I don't know why, other than perhaps psychological factors: since you're eating more variety, your mind is satisfied thinking you've eaten more than you have. I suppose there could be more variety of nutrients as well, so your body is getting more of what it needs.

I'm a big fan of variety myself. My usual lunch is a huge salad with just about every vegetable I have in the fridge. I delight in the sensation of multiple flavors encountering my tongue and palate. I use multiple varieties of lettuce/spinach/kale, add some leftover meat and canned seafood, toss on some sort of cheese and then a bunch of seeds/nuts, some cucumbers, radishes, carrots, etc.



on August 05, 2012
at 07:52 PM

Volume perhaps? I know that I am a volume eater so a very large portion of low calorie food fills me up longer than a smaller portion of higher calorie food. I dunno...maybe you were still stuffed from the meat and potato feast! :)

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