Satiation and Bread

While satiety is often viewed from a scientific angle, it has also been viewed as something that is achieved by integrating different foods into one’s diet.

In our business as breadmaking experts, we are required to move around various countries in the world and reproduce loaves of all origins in our world-class Baking Center network. We note that despite the diverse array of people, raw ingredients, cultures and usages, bread in its various forms is one of the staples in our diet and forms an integral part of mankind’s daily diet.

Once defined as a ‘sacred food, a reason for riots, a companion in misery and a strategic product’ (Reuters – 1999), bread is a dietary staple in many parts of the world and sometimes closely controlled by the authorities in terms of raw ingredients (type and amount) and price.

Its makeup and structure make it a highly satiating food, rich in slow sugars and low in fat, unlike so many snacks consumed today between meals.

The satiating properties of bread are influenced by its ingredients and recipe:


  • Type of cereals used and the corresponding rate of extraction (fiber content)
  • Fermentation agent used (sourdough or yeast)
  • Amount of fermentation agent (dictating the volume of loaf, aroma and crumb texture)
  • Hydration rate (the presence of milk, fat, and/or sugar)


  • Mixing (speed and time)
  • Shaping (greater or lesser degree of gas release, crumb texture)
  • Scale (crumb and crust ratio)
  • Fermentation (first rise, final proof, and time/temperature ratios)
  • Baking time and process (thickness of crust and preservation of product)

The reasons for bread’s satiating powers are only just beginning to be understood, or indeed exploited, hence the tremendous variety of bakery products now available together with their benefits for the consumer.

There is no such thing as a truly ‘satiating’ loaf. Aside from its composition, we must take into account the expansion of the finished product. Thus, the mantou is a steamed bun with a very dense crumb (air holes achieve 1.5 to 2.5 ml/g) and considered by the Northern Chinese to be satiating.

By comparison, the texture of a French baguette has more air holes (5 to 6 ml/g), and many more, when you look at the ‘African’ baguettes of Nigeria (10 to 12 ml/g) such as those found in Nigeria.

These two types of bread are very different in terms of structure and composition. They also form part of the eating habits specific to each nation, and thereby highlight the influence of cultural and psychosocial factors on satiety.

View of the Nutritionist

By Andrea Leibinger, Expert in Nutrition in Switzerland

Satiation is one of the fundamental factors in our diet. Although its definition may vary depending on who you are talking to (satiation can be a state, a feeling or a time interval), the idea is always the same: satiation is expressed as a lack of hunger and/or thirst, a drop in appetite, satisfaction, or sense of feeling full.

Even to this day, the mechanisms surrounding satiation are not all clear: intake (nature and/or frequency), expenditure of calories (individual activity level and/or metabolism), and psychological state are key factors.

Satiation comes about with the ingestion of one or more foods, which offer properties of varying degrees of ‘satiation’.

The satiation index may be evaluated on a scale of 0 to 500 in increasing units as an immediate effect or over the long-term. That same satiating power will be influenced by:

  • Component parts of the food (e.g. water, lipid, fiber, and/or protein content) and also pH.
  • The food’s degree of processing, or level of refinement, and the availability of nutrients (glycemic index).
  • Its preparation, for example, its degree of cooking
  • Its density—satiation is physical, as well as psychological, meaning the ingested volume should therefore also be taken into account


The amount ingested will have a direct impact on how quickly the feeling of satiation arises and its intensity, this latter being itself influenced by the palatability and appeal of the food (visual, olfactory, gustatory), as well as its digestibility and chewiness.

The environment, the organization of meal times and the individual’s state will also impact upon satiation: the frequency of meals, the duration (the feeling of satiation typically comes about 30 to 35 minutes after the start of ingestion), the combination and the order of ingestion of the foods, whether or not they are easy to eat, and cultural phenomenon.

Neurosciences recently highlighted numerous interactions that had hitherto remained overlooked or unknown, notably within the framework of studies into dietary behaviors such as stress and disorders such as bulimia and anorexia.

By way of its composition, bread offers many beneficial properties:

  • Its fiber content gives it a high moisture retention potential, improved intestinal content and preventive action in certain diseases (cancer, cardiovascular diseases).
  • Rich in complex carbohydrates, which are slow to be assimilated, bread helps to prevent the cravings that many children have mainly in the morning and in the afternoon between meals.
  • Its protein content and the type of protein (plant) are also beneficial from a dietary point of view.
  • Low in fat and high in micronutrients, bread, according to the public health authorities, should be eaten throughout the day in the recommended daily amount of approximately 185 g.

View of the Breadmaking Specialist for Asia

By Au Yang, Master Baker in Asia

Satiation and culture are closely linked. Asia and China, in particular, depend on a dietary model based on 3 staple foods: rice, noodles and bread (often steamed). Although famine today has more or less been eradicated, collective memories are deeply scarred and thrift is one of the immediate consequences (the Chinese are strong savers and need this security to ensure their everyday peace of mind).

Rice, noodles, and mantou are never usually served on their own, but accompanied by meat, fish, eggs, or vegetables that are often presented as fillings or as toppings. The rice, noodles or bread serve a functional purpose to achieve an appropriate level of satiation, while the accompaniment comprises the pleasurable side of the meal.


However, the rise in the middle classes and the introduction of dietary products from the West, notably via southern China, has tended to alter these traditional habits. For example, today bread consumption is widespread for breakfast in Hong Kong and it is not uncommon to see it served at the dinner table in certain restaurants, or incorporated into the meal.

In Asia, there has not, as yet, been a bread product with solely a satiating function. Their formulation in Asia is, in effect, governed by 3 factors:

Desired effects and functionalities

  • Regulatory, economic and technical environment.
  • Acceptability of solution proposed in technical and marketing terms (including flexibility of end customer towards changes).

In Europe, where bread is considered intrinsically ‘natural’ and ‘nutritional, they remain inflexible over this last point. However, in Asia, there is no such cultural reference for a ‘good traditional loaf’. The variety is enormous, ranging from sweet to salty, and products have a very short life. Therefore in the Asian market, new developments are not only welcome; they are necessary for bread’s sustainable existence.

With the one exception of mantou, where any change would be considered ‘suspect’ (some sellers mention the fact that it is ‘made without yeast’), new bread caters to the trending concept of indulgence (e.g. rich, melt-in-the-mouth), luxury (where bread has an aesthetic finish or premium packaging often exceeds the cost of its contents) or the snacking trend (food eaten on-the-go, snacks eaten at the office, or sandwiches at lunch time).

Ultimately, Asian bread products get their satiating properties through the follow properties:

  • Raw materials
  • Bread made with milled flour (small amounts of damaged starch)
  • Bread made with sourdough (acidity)
  • Bread made with wholemeal flour (fiber content)

Choice of process

  • The use of boiled flour (a technique imported from Japan, which lends sandwich bread its typical texture and softness)
  • Long process at a moderate temperature (a technique imported from Western Europe, especially France)

Ultimately, in the Asian market neither public authorities, consumers, or retailers have expressed a desire to propose bakery goods that are labeled or promoted as ‘satiating’. There is little likelihood that the Chinese consumer will turn to Western bread for this particular property, since steamed buns, rice and noodles already cater to this effect and do so in their natural state, without any special formulation or preparation technique.

View of a Maghrebi Specialist

By Mohand Ameziane Meziani

In the Maghreb region of North Africa, wheat has been firmly rooted in the region’s culture and tradition for years. Here, food is a fundamental part of family life—viewed as an important communal family activity. In Maghreb, bread is the key factor in satiation as a food that is accompanied by other things such as figs, dates, olive oil, soup, or meat and not served at the table as an “optional” extra.


Taking the form of a crepe (Kesra), a flatbread or baguette, bread is served as is, or stuffed with meat and spices, vegetables and herbs, and/or seeds such as nigella, fennel, or Sanoudj.

In this region, bread is made from wheat flour and/or wheat semolina (soft wheat and/ or hard wheat), and can be salty (bread or pizza) or sweet, oven-baked, baked on a hob, in a tajine and even on embers or hot sand.

Bread is eaten everywhere all year long. Consumption reaches a high peak in certain regions and at certain times of the year (for example, during Ramadan).

Algeria, for example, is, in fact, ranked at the no. 3 position in the world for bread consumption, and often ranks in first place if household production is included, with a daily output of nearly 50,000,000 loaves (48 to 70,000,000 according to sources in 21,000 bakeries).

From an early age to old age, bread is a companion wherever the people of the region are and whatever their status (rich or poor). Those who must deny themselves bread for health reasons must also suffer the consequences—most notably satiation). For this reason, Bakeries are now proposing nutrition and health quality products, such as gluten-free bread for those with celiac disease.


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