Satiety: The New Diet Weapon
Losing weight -- for good - may be about creatively managing hunger.
Turn Off Your Appetite continued...
In phase one of the diet, each day's meal plan has a flavor theme, such as pineapple, mint, pumpkin, or spinach. For example, on spinach day, the day's menu features a spinach-feta omelet, and toast or cereal for breakfast; two snacks of seven-grain crackers or baby carrots with spinach-yogurt dip; spinach and turkey chef's salad for lunch; and pasta fagioli with spinach marinara sauce, tossed spinach salad, and mixed berries for dinner.
In phase two, each meal or snack has its own flavor theme, and by phase three you'll know how to restrict flavors without a plan.
Implementing this diet requires at least some basic skills in the kitchen. You'll find few processed convenience foods in the plan. Katz tells WebMD the problem is the combination of ingredients found in many foods on supermarket shelves. "Some cereals contain more salt than potato or corn chips, and a popular pasta sauce has more sugar than chocolate ice cream topping. Yet we don't taste the salt in cereal because there's so much sugar that it masks the salt, just as the salt masks the sweetness of pasta sauce. We're dealing with stealth sugars and salts. They have a powerful influence on how much we eat, but they're below the radar screen."
Katz's wife, Catherine, developed the plan's recipes, taking into account feedback from the couple's five children. "The recipes have a strong French and Mediterranean influence, they're family friendly, provide perfect nutrition, and they're really delicious," says Katz. "We've always eaten this way, and we never have to count calories or worry about our weight."
Feeling Full Faster
Energy-dense foods pack a big calorie wallop in a little package. Think truffles or battered, deep-fried calamari. Energy density is a measure of calories per gram. Rolls, who is the Guthrie Chair of Nutritional Sciences at Pennsylvania State University in Pittsburgh, has studied how energy density affects satiety. "Satiety," she says, "is the missing ingredient in most weight loss programs."
Her volumetrics plan is based on eating balanced meals in which most of the calories come from foods with high volume and low energy density. For example, compare raisins (dried grapes) with fresh grapes. After eating one-fourth cup of raisins, you'd probably keep eating, but would you consume more than 1-3/4 cups of grapes? Both servings have 110 calories, but the grapes are plumped up naturally with water.
Water is a key ingredient in volumetrics. Not the water you drink with a meal. Studies show it doesn't influence satiety. But the water in fruits and vegetables or in a broth-based soup swell the volume and make you feel full faster.
Rolls advises choosing foods in proportions recommended in the Food Guide Pyramid and modifying calorie intake on the basis of the following four levels of energy density:
- Very low. Most fruits and vegetables, skim milk, and broth-based soups. Eat as much as you like.
- Low. Many cooked grains; cereals with low-fat milk; low-fat meats, beans, and legumes; low-fat mixed dishes; and salads. Eat relatively large portions.
- Medium. Includes meats; cheeses; high-fat mixed dishes; salad dressings; some snack foods. Eat in moderation.
- High. Includes crackers; chips; chocolate candies; cookies; nuts; butter; and full-fat condiments. Control portions carefully.
One strategy for filling up faster is to have broth-based soup or a big, low-calorie density salad as a first course. "Our studies show they do reduce subsequent intake in the meal," says Rolls. Don't cheat and scarf down a salad loaded with cheese, ham, and indulgent dressing. "If your salad is high in calorie density, it's worse. You don't compensate later."