Early satiety: Why some people feel full after eating very tiny portions

Do you often feel full after eating a small meal? Do you find it difficult to indulge in even your favourite foods? You're not alone.

Myupchar December 25, 2019 14:29:40 IST
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Early satiety: Why some people feel full after eating very tiny portions

Do you often feel full after eating a small meal? Do you find it difficult to indulge in even your favourite foods? You are not alone.

Doctors call it early satiety and it can happen due to many reasons ranging from bowel problems to cancer.

The British Nutrition Foundation defines satiety as a feeling of fullness that occurs after a meal and suppresses hunger for a short while. As we eat or drink, our body sends a variety of signals to our brain. These include details about the sight and smell of food, the expansion of the stomach and the hormones released in the body during digestion. The flow of information between the gut and the brain tells you when it's time to stop eating. So if any of these signals are affected or interfered with, a person will feel full quickly or later than normal.

Since a person with early satiety can’t maintain a healthy diet, they are at risk of becoming deficient in various nutrients. It is important to find out the underlying cause and deal with it at the earliest.

Early satiety Why some people feel full after eating very tiny portions

Half-eaten food early satiety appetite hunger. Image: Ben Tishii Digital

Here is a primer on early satiety along with some of the ways to manage nutrient uptake.

Early satiety v/s poor appetite

Early satiety is a bit different from poor appetite. While poor appetite is when you don’t have a desire to eat, early satiety is when you feel full after eating a bit.

Poor appetite could be due to an underlying psychological or chronic health condition. On the other hand, early satiety is usually due to stomach ulcers, gas, constipation, gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying), GERD (acid reflux), irritable bowel disease, tumour or cancer of the stomach, pancreas or liver, ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdomen area) due to ovarian cancer or an enlarged spleen.

If you have early satiety, you may feel bloated and nauseated when trying to eat a normal-sized meal. In the long term, early satiety leads to nutrient deficiency.

Consult your doctor if the condition persists for several days or weeks at a stretch, if you start to lose weight without trying, have abdominal cramps, dark stools, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or get a fever and chills frequently.

How to manage early satiety

It is best to consult your doctor if you have a long-standing problem of early satiety. They may ask you some questions including the associated symptoms and your medical history to find out if you have an underlying condition. You may have to undergo some tests to rule out any serious problems.

Regardless of the condition, doctors usually suggest the following to prevent nutrition deficiency:

  • Add more nutritious liquids into your diet.
  • Keep tabs on how much you are eating. A diet log may help.
  • Check if certain foods make you feel satiated early.
  • Reduce fibre from your diet since it makes you feel full quickly.
  • Take several small meals in a day rather than 3 large meals.
  • Avoid foods that may cause bloating or gas.

If you have gastroparesis, your doctor may give you some medicines to help empty your stomach quickly.

For more information, please read our article on Constipation: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention & Treatment.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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