Why “mouthfeel” is important to help you lose weight

Have you ever heard about “mouthfeel”? It’s defined as “the tactile sensation a food gives to the mouth” by dictionary.com and as “the sensation created by food or drink in the mouth” by Merriam-Webster. There is a theory I have heard that it could be one of the essential components of food that leads to satiety – or how satisfied we feel after eating a particular food.

“Satiety” stops us overeating

The more satisfied we are, the less likely we are to overeat. A study done by Drewnowski and Almiron-Roig called Fat Detection: Taste, Texture, and Post Ingestive Effects described how, “fat plays a unique role in the human diet. In addition to being the most concentrated source of dietary energy, fat contributes to the texture, flavour and aroma of a whole variety of foods. In general, the most palatable foods are those that are both energy-dense and high in fat content. The taste, smell, mouthfeel and hedonic properties of fat all contribute to the popular concept of fat ‘taste’.”

I used to avoid eating fat, oil and butter

For a long time, I thought that restricting the fat in my diet was a good way to keep my weight under control. I avoided things like butter, cream, full fat cheese and milk. It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I realised that even though lots of these “low fat” products had (technically) less fat, they had just as many calories (and in some cases, even more) and usually were packed with even more salt, sugar and other preservative agents than their more natural “full fat” counterparts.

What is the “satiety index” and how could it help you lose weight?

An Australian researcher came up with something called the “satiety index” which many websites have been calling “ground-breaking” and “exciting”. Suzanne Holt from the University of Sydney conducted an experiment where she asked students to eat various calorie-controlled meals then rate their hunger and satisfaction levels. They scored 38 different foods and came up with some surprising results, including that potatoes were a whopping three times as satisfying as bread.

In general, natural foods tended to score higher on this scale, leading many to conclude that preservatives are the killer when it comes to over nourishing our bodies in a responsible, considered way. So what is a “natural food”?

A recent US study on organic food causes outrage

There has been outrage in the US media lately about the recent findings that organic food is no more nutritious than conventionally grown food, with lots of organic advocates up in arms about a published report. A study was released by the Annals of Internal Medicine in the US that found while organic foods do have some safety benefits over conventional foods; nutritionally speaking they have little more to offer the consumer.

To investigate the claims, the University of Stanford looked at around 250 studies that compared the nutrients in organic versus ordinary store-bought food – and then compared the health outcomes of eating these foods.

The researchers found very little difference in the foods’ nutritional content – but admitted that organic foods were guilty of much higher phosphorous levels. On the up side, organic produce was 30% lower for pesticide residues than regular foods; a welcome finding for anyone health-conscious.

I do not buy organic – too expensive!

Personally, I don’t eat organic food with any great determination primarily because it is very expensive where I live (in Sydney, Australia). A few organic carrots could cost me five bucks and the same money could get me nearly 10 pounds of regular carrots at the supermarket – the extra cost just doesn’t seem worth it; so I generally avoid buying organic produce.

I add fat to my food for “mouthfeel”

As for mouthfeel, I have come to the conclusion that natural, fatty foods are no problem for me when eaten in moderation. I love butter, milk and even cream, but I limit these foods to a tiny amount at a time. I used to avoid butter and even oil but now I know that just a teaspoon or half teaspoon on my dish can make the world of difference to how satisfied I feel at the end of it – this helps me not to overeat.

I once saw a documentary about a woman who had written a book about losing weight with butter. I have written before about crazy diets and maybe I will do some research on her and see if I can find out more. I’ll let you know how I go.

Please tell me…

Question: do you avoid butter and fat etc. to lose weight or keep your weight low – or do you include it in your diet in moderation? Please let me know in the comments section below!


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