Ideal Diet for Weight Loss and Satiety
by Eleanor Kurtus, PhD (revised 10 August 2015)
There are many diet plans touted by all sorts of experts as being the best plan for quick and easy weight loss. Unfortunately a great many of them are not based on scientific wisdom and may actually compromise or be harmful to your health, as well as cause rapid weight gain once the diet is stopped. You need to choose wisely.
Definition: Satiety is the sense of feeling full and satisfied.
Questions you may have include:
- How can I achieve permanent weight loss?
- What is the healthiest diet for weight loss?
- What affects satiety?
This lesson addresses those questions and the scientific understanding that supports the answers.
Sensory receptors in the digestive tract
The gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) runs from the mouth to the anus and includes the organs needed for digestion, i.e. mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. A nervous system, called the enteric nervous system, lies within the layers of the GI tract. The enteric nervous system contains neural networks and communicates with sensory receptors that constantly monitor digestive activities.
The sensory receptors of interest are the chemoreceptors that monitor the calorie and nutrients of each mouthful of food and the mechanoreceptors that respond to pressure and stretching . These receptors monitor changes within the GI tract and signal the enteric nervous system, which in turn signals muscles and hormone-producing cells.
The GI tract, the brain and the spinal cord are also in two-way communication. That is, information about digestive activity is being signaled to the body, and sensory and emotional data from the brain and spinal cord are also interacting with the GI tract. Sensory and emotional information are things such as the sight and smell of food, fear, anger, and sadness, all of which have potential to affect digestive functions.
Digestion begins in the mouth. As food is chewed, saliva—consisting of water, mucus, enzymes and antibacterial agents—is released. The saliva helps to dissolve some of the food components so that the taste buds can process them. Cells relating to both taste (gustatory) and smell (olfactory) begin their process of signaling the brain and the process of enjoying the food begins.
The complex system of chemoreceptors in the digestive tract recognizes and tabulates calories and nutrients of everything that is being consumed. This data is sent to the brain and influences the dietary drive to eat. The mechanoreceptors in the digestive tract are also working to signal activity.
Activity in the stomach also stimulates the mechanoreceptors. The stomach has a remarkable ability to expand. It has a special lining composed of pleats called rugae. These pleats are folded when the stomach is empty and open up as food is consumed. As the stretching occurs, a neural response is sent to the brain via the mechanoreceptors to signal that it is becoming full. BTW, the stomach can expand from a volume of approximately ¼ up when empty to about 1 to 2 quarts when full.
Satiety is the result of being filled biochemically (with nutrients) and mechanically (with the expansion and pressure on the stomach and digestive tract).
Eat more to weigh less
Understanding the anatomical basics about satiety, as described above, helps us to understand the type of food plan that should be used for weight loss and maintenance. Food restriction and limiting the choices and amounts of food often results in lack of satiety, or a state of hunger and wanting more.
Research has shown that the volume of food affects satiety. A higher volume of low-energy-dense foods can satisfy hunger and assist with weight loss. Eating a higher volume of food, even with a lower amount of calories, leads to feeling more satisfied.
The key to successful dieting is this:
Eat a high-nutrient diet and eat large amounts of the right food.
Eating foods with too few nutrients is bad for your health. Restricting food and food choices often leads to a lack of satiety and results in a rebound effect, where the individual eats more and gains back weight.
Rapid Weight Loss: Eat to Live – Six Week Plan
When you start this plan, you will be beginning an exciting journey. Biochemical and physiological changes will transform you forever. Your body will undergo a remarkable self-healing and weight will drop effortlessly. The Six Week Plan has been developed by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, based on his analysis of thousands of research studies.
Note: This plan is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a physician. If you are on medication or if there are any symptoms that may require diagnosis consult a physician.
Most people who follow this plan quickly lose weight and may need to adjust medications that they are taking. If can be dangerous not to adjust your medication. Please seek medical care and treatment from your health care professional.
The Eat to Live guidelines for rapid weight loss consists of the following amounts and types of food. The guideline is to only eat the amount of food that is comfortable for you. Do not overeat or stuff yourself. There is no need to count calories.
Raw vegetables (goal 1 lb daily)
Cooked green and non-green nutrient rich vegetables (goal 1 lb daily), non-green vegetables are eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower
Beans, legumes, bean sprouts, and tofu (goal 1 cup daily)
Fresh fruits (at least 4 daily)
Cooked starchy vegetables or whole grains, such as butternut and acorn squash, corn, white potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes, bread, cereal, (not more than 1 cup daily)
Raw nuts and seeds (1 oz max daily)
Avocado (2 ox max daily)
Dried fruit (2 tblsp max daily)
Ground flaxseeds (1 tblsp max daily)
Between meal snacks
An effective diet helps you to both lose weight and keep it off. An effective diet promotes satiety while supplying optimum level of nutrients. The feeling of satiety comes from multiple pathways in the body.
Blatt, A.D., Roe, L. S., & Rolls, B. J. (2011). Hidden vegetables: an effective strategy to reduce energy intake and increase vegetable intake in adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93:4, 756-763.
Fuhrman, J. (2011). Eat to live: The amazing nutrient-rich program for fast and sustained weight loss. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
Ledikwe et al. (2006). Dietary density is associated with energy intake and weight status in US adults. American Journal of clinical Nutrition, 83:6, 1362-1368.
McGuire, M. & Beerman, K. A. (2011). Nutritional sciences: From fundamentals to food. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Rolls et al. (1998). Volume of food consumed affect satiety in men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67:6, 1170-7.
Eat to live
Resources and references
Dr. Joel Fuhrman - "How to live, for life" website
Super Immunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrmann (2012)
Secrets of Healthy Cooking by Dr. Joel Fuhrmann (2007)
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Ideal Diet for Weight Loss and Satiety