Fad diets come and go—and most often, it’s for the best. (We’re looking at you, Master Cleanse!) But thankfully, there’s been a recent influx of popular diets that focus on nutrition—rather than restriction—for weight loss. One of the newest on the scene is the satiating diet. Stave off hanger while still eating some of my favorite foods? I had to see what this one’s all about.
What is the satiating diet?
True to its name, the satiating diet focuses on healthy food groups that promote feelings of fullness. Furthermore, the key foods also have properties that boost metabolism, reduce body fat, and lower blood sugar. Think water-packed fruits and veggies, lean protein, whole-grain fiber, and healthy plant-based fats. There’s also one secret sauce that spices things up in the equation: hot peppers. (Double pun very much intended.)
The satiating diet has been compared to both the Mediterranean diet and keto diet. First, the Mediterranean diet incorporates the same percentage of healthy fats. However, the satiating diet ups lean protein while reducing carbs. Next, while the keto diet also champions fatty foods, they don’t necessarily have to be “healthy” and plant-based. (High-fat cheese, pork, butter, and cream all get the green light.) Furthermore, the keto diet highly restricts carb intake, whereas carbs amount to nearly half of a satiating diet meal.
The research behind the satiating diet
Researchers at Laval University in Quebec conducted a 2017 study that tracked weight loss and feelings of fullness in obese men. The first group followed the satiating diet. The meal breakdown includes:
- 20 to 25 percent of calories from protein
- 30 to 35 percent from fat (aka lipids)
- 45 to 50 percent from carbs
Meanwhile, the second group followed a diet modeled on Canada’s standards for healthy eating. Those meal portions included:
- 10 to 15 percent of calories from protein
- 30 percent from fat
- 55 to 60 percent from carbs
The researchers measured results after 16 weeks. Participants in the first group boasted greater weight loss, decreased fat mass, higher satiety, and better adherence to their regimen. While the first two benefits are great for losing inches, the latter two are crucial for promoting healthy, sustainable weight loss.
Satiating diet food list
Interested in trying out the satiating diet? Here’s a breakdown of the foods and daily portions you’ll need to succeed, plus why exactly they’re important:
Whole fruits and veggies: 4+ servings each
The merits of enriching your diet with fruits and veggies are endless. First, of course, you get a healthy dose of key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Next, eating a variety of plants promotes gut diversity, which supports your microbiome for optimal health. As far as weight loss goes, a 2004 study found that middle-aged women who maximized their fruit and veggie intake the most had a 28 percent lower chance of major weight gain. In terms of body fat, studies suggest that people who follow plant-based diets benefit from lower BMIs (body mass index).
Lean protein: 4 servings
The satiating diet advises that each meal should include lean protein. If you can’t meet the four-serving quota in your meals, it can carry over to snacks. Healthy protein sources include fish, eggs, tofu, and lean poultry and meat. Dairy is also allowed under the satiating diet. Just be sure that the fat content in yogurt is below two percent, cheese 20 percent, and milk one percent.
Higher-protein diets impressively cover every benefit of the satiating diet. A 2015 review confirmed that higher-protein diets support both weight loss and body mass loss, plus a smaller waist size. Even further, higher protein intake amounts to greater levels of fullness and elevated satiety hormones.
High-fiber whole grains: 5 servings
The satiating diet prizes whole grains that have at least four grams of fiber per serving. It should come as great news to carb lovers, as whole-grain bread and whole-wheat pasta are approved satiating diet foods. Other high-fiber, whole-grain sources include oatmeal and brown rice. The best of the bunch, however, is chia seeds, with a whopping 5.5 grams of fiber per tablespoon.
One 2019 study found that diets rich in whole grains can reduce body weight as well as low-grade inflammation. Another 2017 study found that substituting refined grains for whole grains induces calorie loss and speeds up metabolism.
Plant-based and healthy fats: in moderation/from other food groups
As far as healthy fats go, aim for monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). MUFA food choices include nuts, avocados, and olive oil. PUFA selections include fish (salmon, albacore tuna, trout), walnuts, and flaxseed oil. The satiating diet advises against trans fats, hydrogenated fats, and saturated fatty acids. These include standard diet don’ts such as fast food, margarine, and high-fat meat and dairy.
Legumes: 1 meal weekly
Another staple of the satiating diet is one legume-based meal per week. Legumes include varieties of lentils, beans, and peas. This category does double duty, as most legumes are rich in both plant-based protein and fiber. A 2008 review confirmed that when paired with whole grains, legumes can help reduce weight gain. Get your weekly fix by eating hummus with a whole-wheat pita or making good old-fashioned beans with brown rice.
hot peppers: AS much as you can handle
Finally, here comes the hot take. (Pardon the pun once more.) The inclusion of hot peppers and spicy sauces may come as a surprising element of the satiating diet. However, research shows that capsaicin—the active substance in hot peppers—facilitates weight loss. Another study found that eating hot red pepper helps decrease appetite. Unfortunately for those with more mild palates, bell peppers don’t make the cut. But I for one will confidently continue to spice up my life with pickled jalapeños, chipotle salsa, and Sriracha galore.