Gnawing hunger can undo even the most determined diet attempt. A ravenous dieter is more likely to break down and binge on whatever is around, no matter how sweet or fatty. Yet some plans and approaches, especially those that severely restrict calories or outlaw snacking, expect dieters to suck it up, and the heck with their growling stomach.
Here's a look at 7 plans and approaches that don't keep you perpetually hungry, ordered by their U.S. News Best Weight-Loss Diets ranking. All 7 provide adequate daily calories, spread among meals and snacks, and emphasize choices that will keep you feeling satisfied that you've had enough.
Volumetrics. This approach explicitly promotes satiety, the clinical term for that satisfied feeling. Since some foods are less energy-dense than others—they have fewer calories per ounce or gram—you can fill your plate, and your stomach. Volumetrics emphasizes fruits, veggies, soups, and other low-density foods. Other perks that fend off hunger: There's no calorie cap, so you can eat as much as your body tells you it needs (but you have to listen to what it says), and the daily menu includes plentiful snacks and even dessert.
Eco-Atkins Diet. Hunger shouldn't be a problem on this plan, a twist on Atkins that calls for 31 percent of daily calories to come from plant proteins, 43 percent from plant fats, and 26 percent from carbs. You'll eat lots of beans, veggies, and whole grains, which take longer to digest. In a 2009 Archives of Internal Medicine study, Eco-Atkins participants rated their program nearly twice as satisfying as did those in a high-carb group.
Mediterranean Diet. You're free to figure out how many calories to eat to lose or maintain weight. Since you're not tied to a restrictive calorie cap, it's OK to schedule frequent meals and snacks that will fend off stomach rumbles. Plus, fiber is filling, and you'll be eating lots of fiber-packed produce and whole grains. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and legumes, as well as plenty of fish and seafood, with ample protein that quells hunger effectively.
Vegetarian Diet. Want 2,000 calories a day, or even 2,500? Have a meal or snack every few hours? It's up to you—so you should never have to feel uncomfortably hungry. Most healthful vegetarian diets revolve around fiber-packed veggies, fruits, and whole grains, which should help promote satiety.
Macrobiotic Diet. There isn't "the" macrobiotic diet, but on any of its many variations, whole grains—brown rice, barley, oats, rye, and buckwheat—make up the bulk of the menu. Vegetables, including the leafy green and root varieties, along with beans and soybean products, are also encouraged. With so much fiber and no calorie cap, you shouldn't go hungry.
Abs Diet. Stomach pangs shouldn't be a problem. You'll eat six times a day and there's no calorie-counting. The Abs Diet's regular snacks and meals keep hunger at bay, as do the 12 nutrient-packed Abs Diet Powerfoods, which include peanut butter, eggs, and beans.
Dukan Diet. You won't go hungry on Dukan. Dieters begin with an all-you-can-eat, pure protein "Attack" phase, and when they move on, they continue loading up on high-protein choices like lean beef, veal, pork, venison, liver, and low-fat turkey and chicken. Keeping tabs on calories isn't part of the plan, either.
Next list: Diets for Dessert Gottahaveits