The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a non-restrictive satiating diet in men displaying various degrees of satiety efficiency. In all, sixty-nine obese men aged 41·5 (sd 5·7) years were randomly assigned to a control (10–15, 55–60 and 30 % energy as protein, carbohydrate and lipid, respectively; n 34) or satiating (20–25, 45–50 and 30–35 % energy as protein, carbohydrate and lipid, respectively; n 35) diet for 16 weeks, and were classified as having a low (LSP) or high (HSP) satiety phenotype. Both diets were consumed ad libitum. Changes in body weight, BMI, percent fat mass, waist circumference, satiety responsiveness and eating behaviour traits were assessed following the intervention. Dropout rates were higher in the control diet (44·1 %) compared with the satiating diet (8·6 %). Decreases in body weight, BMI and waist circumference were significant in both groups, yet HSP individuals lost more body weight than LSP individuals (P=0·048). Decreases in % fat mass were greater in the satiating diet (LSP: −2·1 (sd 2·1) %; P<0·01 and HSP: −3·0 (sd 2·5) %; P<0·001) compared with the control diet (LSP: −1·1 (sd 2·5) % and HSP: −1·3 (sd 2·6) %) (P=0·034). Satiety responsiveness was markedly improved in the satiating diet, whereas no significant changes were observed in the control group. Changes in dietary restraint (+3·3 (sd 2·9) to +7·2 (sd 5·5)), flexible control (+0·9 (sd 1·4) to +2·3 (sd 2·7)), rigid control (+2·2 (sd 1·5) to +2·5 (sd 2·8)), disinhibition (−2·8 (sd 3·7) to −3·2 (sd 2·6)) and susceptibility to hunger (−2·7 (sd 4·1) to −4·6 (sd 3·9)) were similar between the diets. Compared with the control diet, the satiating diet favoured adherence, decreased % fat mass and improved satiety responsiveness in both HSP and LSP individuals.