Filling Fruits: Curb Your Cravings with Nature’s Sweet Treats

Ever wonder why some fruits leave you feeling full and satisfied while others just don’t cut it?  Welcome to the multi-faceted world of satiety!

In this article, we’ll show why many people find fruit filling—those delicious, satiating fruits that satisfy their sweet tooth, help manage their cravings, and support their weight loss goals.  

Get ready to explore how you can optimise your diet with nature’s sweet treats for a healthier, more satisfying lifestyle!

Although fruit contains a lot of sugar and minimal protein, some popular filling fruits get a surprisingly respectable satiety score.

  1. orange – 81%
  2. tomato – 77%
  3. strawberries – 76%
  4. grapefruit – 72%
  5. watermelon – 70%
  6. peach – 67%
  7. raspberries – 67%
  8. pineapple – 65%
  9. cantaloupe – 65%
  10. kiwifruit – 61%
  11. apricot – 59%
  12. blackberries – 53%

In the remainder of this article, we’ll give you a peek inside our satiety algorithm to decode some factors that make fruit hard to overeat.  

What is Satiety?

Satiety is simply the absence of hunger.  Foods and meals with high satiety scores make you feel full in the short term and give you the nutrients you need to crush your cravings with less energy over the long term.

The satiety score does not make a food ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It’s just a tool that you can use to help you make more informed choices, eat more or less without exerting unsustainable willpower, and fight hunger. 

How We Calculate Satiety

The amount we eat of a food depends on our cravings for energy from fats, carbohydrates, and nutrients like minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.

  • When our bodies need more of a particular nutrient, our cravings for foods containing that nutrient increase.  Once we’ve consumed enough, our appetite for those flavours diminishes, leading to a feeling of satiety.
  • When our food contains more than the minimum amount of a particular nutrient, we experience sensory-specific satiety.  Thus, foods with more of that nutrient become less appealing. 
  • The point where cravings switch to satiety is the bliss point (i.e. nutrient concentration that aligns with maximum energy intake).  
  • Foods that hit multiple bliss points are hard to resist.  Meanwhile, foods with nutrient concentrations further away from the bliss point (in either direction) are more challenging to overeat. 

Satiation vs Satiety Per Calorie

For fruit, it’s worth highlighting the difference between these three terms.  Understanding these factors can help identify the best fruits to keep you full.

  • Satiation is the short-term feeling of fullness that makes us want to stop eating.  For example, low energy-density, high-fibre fruit can help us feel full quickly.
  • Satiety is the absence of hunger, without consideration of how much energy you consume to achieve it). 
  • Meanwhile, satiety per calorie also considers the amount of energy we need to satisfy our hunger each day.
  • We experience sensory-specific satiety when we get more than the minimum amount of certain nutrients we need — we exceed our capacity to store more of that nutrient, whether protein, fat, carbs, minerals or vitamins.  As you’ll see, the fruit has a high concentration of a handful of vitamins, triggering sensory-specific satiety with less energy. 

Low Energy Density Fruit

While protein dominates the satiety equation for lower-carb foods, energy density is a dominant satiety factor in low-fat foods like fruits and vegetables.  Foods that contain a lot of fibre, such as low-calorie fruit, fill us up quickly, making them harder to overeat. 

The chart below shows the relationship between energy density and how much we eat. 

  • With its perfect blend of fat, carbohydrates, and minimal protein, the hamburger has the ideal energy density and texture to be overeaten. Meanwhile, chicken breast is hard to overeat due to its high protein content. 
  • Pure oil has a high energy density but is not as tasty as the fat and carb combo foods that hit all our bliss points, like the hamburger.
  • Towards the right, the juicy fresh tomato is off the chart.  You’d need to eat 11.1 kg (24 lbs) of tomatoes to get 2000 calories.  If all you had was tomatoes to eat, you’d never be able to get enough energy, so you’d lose weight.  Meanwhile, all the other fruits are on this low energy density spectrum, making them much harder to overeat than the hamburger.

Protein: Fruit Doesn’t Cut It  

Toward the right of the protein chart, we see that the sirloin steak is super satiating, with 60% protein.  If we need more protein, the steak will quickly satisfy our needs and trigger sensory-specific satiety. 

Meanwhile, if we need protein, the fruit will look pretty unappealing.  If we eat only fruit, we may crave steak for more protein.  But if we need protein, we’ll quickly lose interest in the fruit and search for higher protein foods.  The very low protein content of fruit makes us eat less of it.   

Sugar: Beyond the Goldilocks Zone

Many people on a very low-carb diet find sugar ‘addictive.’   Sugar becomes super seductive because they’re already getting heaps of energy from fat and protein. 

Adding sugar enables these people to fill their glucose fuel tanks as well.  Filling all our fuel tanks — fat, glucose and protein —is baked into our DNA to maximise fat gain for survival, so we get a bigger dopamine hit. 

But as with all nutrients, sugar has a bliss point.  Once we get more than this, we experience sensory-specific satiety for sugar.  If our glucose fuel tanks (i.e. glycogen in our liver and muscles) are already full, we won’t crave more fruit.   

Because they already have heaps of sugar in their system, Fruitarians are unlikely to go into a feeding frenzy for even more fruit.  However, they might crave the fatty steak if it was available to bring them back towards the bliss point balance that tops off all their fuel tanks. 

In the context of excess energy intake, fructose can be converted to fat in the liver and stored on our body, which can contribute to fatty liver disease.  However, while high fructose corn syrup in ultra-processed foods is problematic, the fructose in fruit is generally not a concern because it typically leads to greater satiety, so the fructose is used and not stored. 

Fat: The Satiety Lever

The flip side of high carbs and sugar is low fat. Low-fat foods are super hard to overeat. Because they have such a low energy density, we struggle to get enough energy. Hence, very low-fat foods, like fruit, are hard to overeat. 

Vitamin C in Fruit  

Vitamin C is a nutrient that we usually have a weak craving for because most people get enough.  Imagine biting into a fresh grapefruit.  The strong taste signals to our appetite that we only need a little to get all the vitamin C we need, so we don’t binge on fresh grapefruit or orange.  As you can see in the chart above, all the fruits have vitamin C.

But at high concentrations, vitamin C tastes bitter, triggering sensory-specific satiety.  If you’ve even tried powdered vitamin C supplements (i.e. ascorbic acid), you’ll know it tastes bitter.  If you take too much of it, you’ll get diarrhea because your body is trying to flush out the excess quickly. 

Similarly, you don’t need to eat a lot of fruit or vegetables to experience sensory-specific satiety for vitamin C.  Two large oranges are enough to exceed the Optimal Nutrient Intake for vitamin C

Potassium in Fruit

Potassium is a significant satiety factor in our satiety algorithm.  As shown in the chart below, on a calorie-for-calorie basis, fruit has heaps of potassium, pushing us above the Optimal Nutrient Intake and triggering sensory-specific satiety with less energy. 

Satiety vs Nutrient Density: Fruit

The chart below shows a wide range of fruit’s satiety and nutrient density scores.

  • Towards the right, we see that oranges and grapefruit are satiating but not exceptionally nutrient-dense. 
  • Towards the top of the chart, tomatoes and strawberries have a more respectable nutrient density. Still, they’re not as nutritious as non-starchy vegetables and organ meats. 

To explore the landscape of fruit and other high-satiety nutritious foods, check out our interactive food search tool to learn more.  For greater satiety, choose foods towards the right.  To nourish your body, choose foods towards the top of the chart. 

If you’d prefer, you can download printable high-satiety food lists in our Optimising Nutrition Community here

Is Fruit Good for You?

Fruit is more than nature’s candy; it can be a satiating and moderately nutritious snack to balance your nutrient profile.  Despite their natural sugars, fruits offer numerous health benefits, making them an excellent dietary choice for a balanced diet.

  1. Nutrient Density: Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, fruits like oranges and strawberries boost immune function and overall health.
  2. High Fiber Content: Fruits like raspberries and blackberries are high in fibre, which helps digestion and keeps you full longer, which helps with weight management.
  3. Low in Calories: Most fruits are low in calories, providing a sweet, satisfying snack that can help curb cravings for unhealthy foods.
  4. Hydration: Along with the electrolytes, the high water content in fruits like watermelon and cantaloupe helps keep you hydrated and adds volume to your diet.
  5. Natural Sugars: Natural sugars in fruits are balanced with fibre, moderating blood sugar levels better than processed snacks.
  6. Antioxidants: Fruits like blueberries are rich in antioxidants, protecting your cells and supporting brain health.

However, while the fruit is an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C, you’ll need to ensure you get your protein and other nutrients like omega-3 and B12 from a balanced diet. 

Is Fruit Good for Diabetes? 

Fruit for people with diabetes is a controversial topic. 

On one extreme, we have plant-based groups like Mastering Diabetes, which advocate for a very high carb, high fruit intake for people with Type 1 Diabetes.  This puts them at the high-carb, low-fat extreme, where people typically eat less.  Because it addresses the root cause of insulin resistance — energy toxicity — weight loss leads to improved insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose overall.

On the other end of the spectrum, we are the keto community, which keeps its carbs low, moves it away from the fat-and-carb danger zone and leads to better glucose stability and satiety. 

High intakes of refined carbohydrates can lead to reactive hypoglycaemia and increased hunger when glucose levels crash. If this is the case, it is wise to limit your fruit intake. 

Some summer fruit is likely fine. If you eat minimally processed, seasonal foods, you’ll likely avoid the carb-and-fat bliss point combo. But if you’re trying to lose weight and prefer a low-carb diet, keeping your carbs under 20% is ideal for satiety. 

In our Data-Driven Fasting and Macros Masterclass, we suggest people avoid foods that raise their glucose by more than 30 mg/dL or 1.6 mmol/L, indicating that they have overfilled their glucose fuel tank. 

However, if you’re lean and active, fruit can be a healthy snack or dessert in a nutrient-dense diet.  Overall, including various fruits in your diet can support weight loss, enhance satiety, and provide some nutrients that are harder to get from meat, seafood and dairy.  

For more details on finding the right balance of fat vs carbs, see Macros to Reverse Insulin Resistance and Achieve Optimal Health.

Your Personalised Satiety Formula

While our satiety formula is calibrated using 619,301 days of data from people eating a range of diets all over the world, unfortunately, there is no perfect one-size-fits-all satiety algorithm.

The nutrients you need to prioritise to crush your cravings are unique to you.  To understand your priority nutrients and the foods and meals that will complete your unique nutritional fingerprint, check out our free Nutrient Clarity Challenge

Optimise Your Diet for Higher Satiety

If you need help optimising your diet for greater satiety, you can join our Macros Masterclass.  Over four weeks, we guide our Optimisers to find the right balance of protein, fat and carbs, along with the shortlist of nutrients that provide greater satiety for most people. 

Level Up Your Nutrition Game

Once you’re ready to take your nutrition to the next level and move from the bliss points towards the optimal nutrient intakes for all the essential nutrients, you’ll love our Micros Masterclass.

Summary

Filling fruits are more than just a sweet treat; they are a powerful tool for managing hunger and maintaining a healthy diet.  By understanding the satiety scores and nutrient profiles of different fruits, you can make more informed choices that help you feel full and satisfied.  

High-fibre fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and strawberries curb your appetite and provide essential vitamins and minerals.  By incorporating these filling fruits into your diet, you can enjoy natural, nutritious snacks that support your weight loss goals and overall health.  

Remember, the key to lasting satiety is balancing your nutrient intake, and fruits play a crucial role in this equation.   

What’s Your Experience? 

We’d love to hear from you!  Which fruits do you find most filling and satisfying?  Share your experiences and tips in the comments below and join the conversation with our community!

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