Well, it turns out, that unsatisfied feeling might just be in your head. NPR has explored the psychology behind what makes us feel full, citing a study by Columbia Business School professor and psychologist Alia Crum. In the study, Crum created a big batch of vanilla milkshakes, which were labeled either as a 140-calorie, low-sugar diet drink called "Sensishake," or as a 600-calorie, full-fat shake. (The drinks actually contained 300 calories per serving.) The researchers found that those who drank the "600-calorie" shake experienced a much bigger drop in the level of the hormone ghrelin in their blood than those who were served the "Sensishake."
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It seems, then, that your perception of what you're eating plays a big role in how satisfied it makes you feel. If this is true, it could have a major impact on the way we think about food — and how it's labeled. And, it really makes you wonder: If good-for-you options were marked as being high-cal, would we find it easier to just order a salad? (NPR)