Satiety: The New Diet Weapon

Losing weight -- for good - may be about creatively managing hunger

By Leanna Skarnulis
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

There's nothing new about taking in fewer calories to lose weight. What is new in fighting the battle of the bulge is a diet weapon that reduces calorie intake by managing hunger.

It's called "satiety." Not exactly a word that rolls off your tongue (pronounced "sa-TIE-atee"). It's a diet and nutrition buzzword for the state of feeling full, one word in a new vocabulary that includes terms like "energy density," "sensory-specific satiety," and "volumetrics."

If you've ever wondered why you fill up on a bowl of oatmeal but can eat three doughnuts before feeling satisfied, the reason is the comparative satiety levels of these foods. Susanna Holt, PhD, developed a satiety index, reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Taking 240-calorie portions of popular foods, she ranks them according to how they compare with a slice of white bread, which carries a rank of 100. Oatmeal has a high satiety level at 209, while a doughnut's rank is 68. Interestingly, a 240-calorie serving of boiled potatoes rank highest at 323, but French fries score just 116.