Atkins Was Partly Right: Protein Makes Me Feel Full

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

ProteinIt took me a long time to get past my anger at the Atkins Diet for betraying me. Protein took the brunt of that resentment. After years of healthy eating, I’ve found that protein provides me with the benefit of satiety. It’s the reason some people lost weight on the Atkins Diet.

It doesn’t take much. Only about 4-8 grams of protein are enough to make me feel full. That’s one tablespoon of peanut butter. That’s 12 pistachios. That’s less than one ounce of beef. Protein has a lot of calories packed into a compact package. It’s the reason a lot of people had trouble losing weight on the Atkins Diet.

I make sure that I have a miniscule amount of protein with my breakfast, lunch, and snacks (dinner always takes care of itself). There are tons of ways to add a little bit of protein into your diet. I try to limit my protein intake to approximately 50 calories for a snack and 100 calories for a meal. That makes for tiny servings, but I don’t need a lot to get that feeling of fullness.

Protein that has helped me feel full:

  • Peanut Butter

  • Tuna fish

  • Nuts and Seeds (My favorites are almonds, pistachios, pine nuts and pumpkin seeds)

  • Beef

  • Chicken

  • Eggs

  • Refried Beans

Protein that I haven’t had good luck with:

  • Dairy Products: I know they have protein in them, but I’m hungry a couple hours after eating them, unlike other protein sources. I don’t understand it, but I’ve noticed the effect.

  • Egg Whites (like Egg Beaters, etc.): I know they have 10 grams of protein for those 47 calories, but I feel hungry very quickly after a serving of Egg Beaters. I don’t have the same effect with whole eggs.

  • Protein Fortified Cereals: I like the taste of Kashi cereal and Quaker Oatmeal Squares. I love the high fiber content, but the protein that they add to their cereal doesn’t get me as full. Their cereals say they have anywhere between 3-9 grams of protein, but I haven’t noticed any additional fullness.

  • Protein Shakes or Powders: I’m hungry within an hour of drinking these, especially if the shake is really sugary. I know a lot of people swear by this stuff, but they just don’t last for me.

  • Protein Bars: I might as well eat a candy bar. I get the same rebound sugar effect from these as a chocolate bar.

Be careful! It’s easy to overdo it on the protein. Make sure you measure consistently because I noticed that my portion sizes were creeping up, but I was still counting them as 100 calories. Make sure you weigh, count out or measure these items because they are so calorie-dense that a small miscalculation could result in large number of unexpected calories. If you accidentally eat a whole bag of carrots, the extra calories are negligible, but a whole bag of almonds can blow your allotment for the day.


4 Responses to “Atkins Was Partly Right: Protein Makes Me Feel Full”

  1. Braidwood Says:

    I’ve noticed the same thing with protein bars- rebound sugar effect.

  2. Laura Says:

    The reason whole eggs probably make you feel full and not Egg Beaters is because fats provide that sustained feeling of fullness as well.

  3. Anita Brooke Says:

    Increasing my protein has changed my life. I have energy whereas I didn’t before. I am not on any specific “diet” other than this protein, protein and more protein. A protein shake will get me through 4 hours without tummy growls. I can’t say that for any other food. I must say, however, that each scoop offers 20 grams of protein for only 110 calories. I am talking about the serious weight lifters protein, even though I DON’T do ANY weight lifting. Often I will add 2 OR even 3 scoops. That’s 40-60 grams for 330 calories. You don’t have to add sugar. Otherwise, I have had the same issues as you have with dairy, cereal and protein bars.

  4. Laura Says:

    I’ve noticed the same observations that you listed, except for dairy which I can’t have so I use soy/rice subsitute products instead of cow’s milk. Especially with the protein fortified cereals and the protein bars, it’s a complete waste of time for me to eat them, i’m just hungry again in an hour. I do better to eat a serving of plain or vanilla yogurt with a scrambled egg [not egg beaters] or some turkey bacon instead of the cereal.

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