What Is the Satiating Diet?

In This Article

The satiating diet is a realistic approach to safe and sustainable weight loss that promotes wholesome foods that are healthy and satiating. In other words, you will have the freedom to choose healthy foods that promote feelings of fullness and satisfaction. 

The satiating diet draws inspiration from the Mediterranean diet by encouraging you to eat healthy fats in moderate amounts and consume plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and certain dairy products like yogurt. Rather than dictating specific times of day to eat or not eat or only emphasizing calories and macronutrients, the satiating diet focuses on getting in touch with your body’s cues to hunger and making wholesome choices to satisfy those needs. 

What Experts Say

“The Satiating Diet is based on foods that help to promote feelings of satisfaction and includes foods from all food groups. While choosing foods you find satisfying is an important part of healthy eating, much of the promotion of this diet is focused on appearance and weight, rather than health, which can limit the sustainability and be harmful to body image.”

— Willow Jarosh, MS, RD

Background

The satiating diet plan is inspired by research out of Université Laval in Quebec City, Canada, that advocates for a diet high in protein such as fish and high in fiber such as whole grains, along with plenty of fruits and vegetables. It also includes a good amount of healthy fats and suggests eating certain dairy products like yogurt. And don’t forget the chili powder. The satiating diet urges you to get some capsaicin in your foods during the day. 

While the guiding principles of the satiating diet are not new, the research and data that the plan is based on is more recent. The results from the study showed the participants that followed the satiating diet lost a significant amount of weight and body fat, and they also reported feeling fullness after meals compared to the other participants in the group. This comes as no surprise, especially when you consider that the diet has a balanced approach to eating that discourages you from eliminating any food groups altogether. 

Since the satiating diet encourages you to make daily choices from all food groups, it is a safe and reasonable approach to weight loss for most people looking for a balanced meal plan they can sustain for a lifetime. Because of this, registered dietician, Emmie Satrazemis, RD, CSSD, the Nutrition Director at Trifecta, it is likely a fairly well-balanced diet and an acceptable approach supported by many health experts. “It really is just another way of explaining why eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet is beneficial for your health and weight loss, with a focus on hunger-fullness cues,” she adds.

How It Works

When following the satiating diet, you will focus more on what you can eat, and less on what you have to eliminate. That said, there are some recommended guidelines to help you plan your meals. Satrazemis explains that the satiating diet is mainly made up of whole foods that research suggests may play a role in reducing appetite and/or improving satiety. This includes healthy fats, lean proteins, and fiber-rich foods, using the following macronutrient breakdown:

  • 20 - 25% protein
  • 30 - 35% fat
  • 45 - 50% carbohydrates

Additionally, Satrazemis says the diet recommends at least 25 grams of fiber daily and also emphasizes the consumption of capsaicin-containing foods (hot pepper or red peppers). It also limits the intake of trans fats, hydrogenated fats, and saturated fats.

What to Eat

When following the satiating diet, you’ll focus on eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein, healthy fats such as olive oil and avocados, and certain dairy products like yogurt. 

Compliant Foods

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Whole grains

  • Lean protein

  • Oils, herbs, and spices, and specifically capsaicin

  • Yogurt

  • Eggs

  • Other low-fat dairy products

  • Legumes

Non-Compliant Foods

  • Foods with hydrogenated fatty acids

  • Foods with trans-fatty acids

  • Foods with saturated fatty acids

  • Alcohol (avoid in excess)

  • Caffeinated beverages (avoid in excess)

  • Salt (avoid in excess)

Fruits

Aim for four servings of whole, fresh fruits each day. Examples of servings include one apple, one orange, one medium-sized banana, and 1/2 cup of other fruits (fresh, frozen, canned). Also include raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, mango, papaya, and pineapple.

Vegetables

Aim for four servings of whole, fresh vegetables each day. Examples of servings include one cup of salad, one cup of vegetable soup, one medium-sized carrot, and 1/2 cup of vegetables (fresh, frozen, canned). Also include spinach, broccoli, peas, asparagus, kale, and plenty of other fresh veggies.

Lean Protein

Protein is recommended at each meal on the satiating diet. Include a serving of lean protein at each meal. Choose from lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products, nuts and seeds, tofu, and soy. 

Whole Grains

Five servings of whole-grain products that are rich in fiber (at least four grams of fiber per portion). Examples include one slice of whole-grain bread, 1/2 whole-grain bagel or pita pocket, 1/2 cup of brown rice (cooked), 1/2 cup whole-wheat pasta (cooked), ready-to-eat cereals, 3/4 cup of oatmeal, of four to six whole-grain crackers. 

Healthy Fats

The satiating diet recommends sticking to monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Good choices include olive oil, nuts such as almonds, cashews, and pecans, avocados, olives, and nut butters. 

Oils, Herbs, and Spices

The satiating diet champions the use of capsaicin, the appetite-curbing and metabolism-boosting substance that makes jalapeños and other peppers so hot.  

Legumes

The outline of the satiating diet directs readers to eat one legume meal per week. Focus on a vegetarian meal with plenty of adzuki beans, black beans, soybeans, anasazi beans, fava beans, garbanzo beans(chickpeas), kidney beans, and lima beans.

Recommended Timing

Since the satiating diet is more of a lifestyle than it is a diet with a start and end date, you can decide how to time your meals. There is no calorie restrictions or a set number of meals to eat each day. That said, the study did reference eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It also says to consume one snack each day.

Resources and Tips

At this point, there is no one website, book, app, or specific plan to follow for the satiating diet. Other than the research from the 2017 study, many experts are basing a lot of their recommendations on the principles of the Mediterranean diet, as well as, drawing inspiration from the foundation that you should choose foods that provide high-nutrient content while being super filling at the same time so you don't feel deprived.

Modifications

The satiating diet lends itself nicely to any modifications you may need to make. If you are a vegetarian, include plant-based protein rather than fish or meat. For those with issues related to gluten, swap out gluten-containing products for gluten-free options. If you are allergic to dairy, you can eliminate any food sources of dairy. Since there is no maximum calorie requirement, pregnant women will be able to follow this plan and still meet their nutritional needs to keep their body and growing baby healthy.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Healthy and nutritious whole foods

  • Safe for most people

  • Nothing is off-limits

  • Promotes foods that are filling

  • Flexible and easy to fit into your lifestyle

  • Sustainable for the long-term

  • Affordable

Cons

  • Limited resources about the plan

  • No structured plan to follow

  • Lacks guidance about calorie control

  • Lacks guidance about incorporating less healthy choices

Pros

General nutrition

The satiating diet recommends many nutritious, whole foods that align with the USDA food guide. Satrazemis also points out that it uses evidence-based recommendations for these food choices. 

Sustainability and Practicality in the Real World

Since this is more about making healthy choices that fill you up, Satrazemis says it may be easier to stick to the satiating diet because it is designed to be more satisfying. Plus, the plan is intended to become a lifestyle, which means it is sustainable and practical. 

Flexibility

No food is off-limits in the satiating diet. Rather than following a “don’t eat” list, you are encouraged to make healthy, filling choices that are generally available and easy to incorporate into meals and snacks. Plus, since there are no special foods to buy, you may find it easier to adhere to the guidelines when dining out, at parties, or eating on the go.

Cost

Since the satiating diet does not require you to purchase special foods or supplements, there should be no additional costs to your grocery bill. If you see an increase in the amount you spend, it will likely be from eating more fresh produce and lean sources of protein.

Safety

In general, the satiating diet is safe for most populations. If you are on a supervised, reduced calorie diet, you will need to consult with your doctor or dietician before following this plan. Also, if you eat a special diet for diabetes, hypertension, or any other health condition, check with your doctor prior to starting the satiating diet.

Cons

Limited Resources About the Plan

Since the basic premise of the satiating diet came from a study, the only place to get information about the diet is in the study. Even then, the guidelines apply to the participants in the study. For people that prefer to access a book, website, or app outlining the details of the diet, following the satiating diet may present some challenges.

No Structured Plan to Follow

Unlike other popular diet plans, the satiating diet provides you with general guidelines to follow, but it does not go into detail about meal planning, timing, calories, or duration of the diet. This lack of sample meals, weekly calendars, and specific macronutrients can make a diet difficult to follow for some people.

Lacks Guidance About Calorie Control

The satiating diet does not suggest a calorie limit, instead, it advocates choosing satiating foods in the recommended servings. This may be difficult to manage, says Satrazemis since calorie control is the most important factor for weight management. If you have issues with portion control, it might be a good idea to talk with a registered dietician to come up with a calorie range that works for you.

How It Compares

The basic premise of the satiating diet focuses on a balanced, whole-foods way of eating that is sustainable, realistic, and easy to fit into your life. It is comparable to the USDA recommendations and aligns with many expert opinions about how to make eating a lifestyle and not a diet you follow for a set amount of time.

USDA Recommendations

The satiating diet is very similar to the USDA nutrition recommendations.

Food Groups

The satiating diet is very similar to the current USDA guidelines. Both plans encourage you to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, a variety of proteins, and healthy oils. Plus, they both advocate for limiting saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium. 

Similar Diets

The satiating diet looks similar to many well-balanced plans available to dieters. However, it does parallel many of the guidelines found in the Mediterranean diet.

Mediterranean Diet

  • General nutrition: Both plans advocate for fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein, healthy fats, whole grains, and small portions of dairy.
  • Flexibility: Both are extremely flexible and can fit into most lifestyles with ease.
  • Sustainability: Most people should be able to follow both plans safely for life.
  • Long-term weight loss: Research suggests the Mediterranean diet can support weight loss, which is similar to the research from the satiating diet.

A Word From Verywell

The satiating diet can help guide you toward a well-balanced, sustainable way of eating that allows you to enjoy healthy food from all the major food groups. Following the diet can lead to weight loss and an improvement in your overall health.

Adhering to a regular exercise plan and ensuring that you get quality sleep will also contribute to your weight loss goals. Since the satiating diet did not recommend a specific protocol for exercise, you will need to include that component in your overall plan.

Finally, it's important to remember that no one diet is right for everyone. If the satiating diet does not work for you, continue to try different plans until you can find one that you can stick with for life.

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Article Sources

  • Arguin H, Tremblay A, Blundell JE, et al. Impact of a non-restrictive satiating diet on anthropometrics, satiety responsiveness and eating behaviour traits in obese men displaying a high or a low satiety phenotype. Br J Nutr. 2017;118(9):750-760.

  • Dietary Guidelines for America. United States Department of Agriculture. December 19, 2018. https://www.fns.usda.gov/cnpp/dietary-guidelines-americans

  • Satrazemis E. Personal interview. June 2019.