Answered by Randi Glatzer on Monday, June 1, 2009
There's no denying that fats, which turn up in treats and comfort foods like ice cream, cookies, and buttery mashed potatoes, can help satisfy you mentally and emotionally more than some nonfat foods, says Wahida Karmally, R.D., director of nutrition at the Irving Center for Clinical Research at Columbia University. But physical fullness is based on two things: calories and bulk, says Karmally. Fats win hands-down on providing the most calories; a gram of fat has a 9 calories, compared to only four calories in a gram of carbohydrate or protein. But foods with bulk or volume—such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains—will give you the same feeling of fullness without putting on extra pounds. Eating fat, says Karmally, "is a very inefficient way of getting full. If people want to get a feeling of fullness, they shouldn't concentrate on the fats, which will give them the calories, but on whole grains and vegetables, which will not only give them a feeling of fullness but will also give them nutrients." So, your mind aside, you'll get the same physical satisfaction from a chocolate chip cookie (about 150 calories) as you will from a medium orange (about 60).