Is the New Satiating Diet a Gimmick?

As anyone who follows our blogs knows, we’re not big on diets. Unless a doctor has set a diet with you, we generally think that the best plan is to eat sensible portions of healthy food while keeping treats to a minimum. Fad diets fall into and out of favor. People swear by them one minute and renounce them the next. What can seem like a great idea can turn out to be wrong, like the low-fat, high-carb ethos of the ’70s and ’80s.

So when we hear about a new diet trend, we pay attention to the known health impacts and what doctors say. In late May, researchers from the Université Laval in Quebec City, Canada, introduced the world to that they call the “highly satiating diet.” The diet claims to be nonrestrictive. It preaches sticking to foods that fill you up. For instance, they tout foods that are high protein, high fiber and rich in healthy fats. If those descriptions sound familiar, it’s because most people aiming for healthy eating praise them too!

However, the advice switches from common sense to a diet when they start breaking it down. According to the diet, you need four servings of whole fruit, four servings of whole vegetables, five servings of high-fiber grains a day and four ounces of protein at every meal. You also eat one snack a day, a legume-based meal a week, hot peppers and moderate amounts of unsaturated fats. The nutrient breakdown works out as 45-50 percent complex carbs (in the form of fruit, vegetables and whole grains), 30-35 percent fat (in the form of nuts, avocado and the like) and 20-25 percent protein.

This is from a highly respected team of satiety researchers,” said Dr. Barbara Rolls, director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at the Penn State College of Health and Human Development. “I think we need to aim for a high-satiety diet, and this looks healthy and fits in with dietary guidelines.”

However, other nutritionists do pause at the hot pepper recommendation. Saying there is a “magic bullet” food that will make or break weight loss smacks of a fad diet. While capsaicin in hot peppers may help lower appetite, the jury is still out on its effectiveness. If you like hot peppers, enjoy them, if you don’t, it’s probably not a big deal.  

The satiating diet and the USDA guidelines are very similar. It’s more like a detailed, slightly altered version of the guidelines than a standalone plan. For people who like their diet to be more regimented than just the USDA guidelines, this might prove to be impactful. However, people who are calorie counters will be disappointed that there isn’t a guide. People are different, so if this eating plan works for you, that’s great! If you would like to try it, it appears to researchers to be safe. However, the experts aren’t predicting radical short term results. As always, speak to your doctor if you have any concerns about making changes to your diet.
August 21, 2019
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