- Facts, Advantages and Disadvantages of Volumetrics Diet
- What is Volumetrics Diet?
- Some Of The Key Characteristics Of This Diet Are:
- Benefits of Volumetrics Diet
- Drawbacks of Volumetrics Diet
- Paleo? Volumetric? DASH? Popular diet plans have pros and cons that should be weighed.
- What the heck is the Volumetrics diet?
- What is the Volumetrics diet?
- Pros and cons of the Volumetrics diet
- What Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, Says:
- Volumetrics Diet
- Guidelines for the Volumetrics diet
- The Volumetrics diet and health
- Volumetrics Diet: Menu, Plan & Recipes
- Volumetrics Diet Plan
- Volumetrics Food List
- Volumetrics Eating Plan
- Volumetrics Diet Menu
- Volumetrics Recipes
- Does It Work?
- Things You Should Know
- What Is the Volumetrics Diet Plan and How Does It Work?
- Diet Showdown- Volumetrics
- Professor’s Volumetrics diet among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Diets of 2014
Facts, Advantages and Disadvantages of Volumetrics Diet
- By Sehat
Are you worried about the calories you are consuming? Do you want to stop this hassle of counting calories at each meal? If your answer is yes, you should take a closer look at Volumetrics diet.
Most of us run after diets that help us to lose weight and the fact is that we put very less effort to achieve our weight loss goals. We are often confused when it comes to choosing the right diet because there are so many of them available. The best way to choose a diet is to research a few thoroughly and find one that is practical and doable. Many people are now adopting the Volumetrics diet plan for various reasons. You too can benefit from this diet, if you understand the pros and cons of this diet.
What is Volumetrics Diet?
Volumetrics diets were created by a doctor named Dr. Barbara Rolls and she says that the main idea of this diet is to stop getting people to worry about their calorie intake. The Volumetrics diet proposes including certain types of food in the diet and increasing their quantity of intake. These foods will satiate your hunger and give you a feeling of fullness. This diet also claims people can eat more quantity of food and still lose weight.
Some Of The Key Characteristics Of This Diet Are:
- No Restriction: This diet does not stop you from eating various types of food
- Focus on Low Energy Foods: This diet encourages you to have low energy foods
- Unlimited Quantities: Volumetric diet asks you to eat more quantity than cut down your intake of foods
The idea behind this is high energy foods like fried foods, cookies, cakes, red meat are high in energy density. Even a small quantity of such food types gives you a lot of energy. On the contrary, low-energy foods, like soups, vegetables and salads, are low on calories. So, by increasing the quantity of low-energy foods, you can have your stomach’s fill and lose weight at the same time.
Benefits of Volumetrics Diet
The best benefit of volumetrics diet is that you can consume a lot of food and still lose weight. The foods that are included in this diet type mostly consist of empty calories. The diet is pretty flexible and does not restrict you to stick to certain food types, as long as they are low density.
- No Limits: You can eat as much as food you want until you stop feeling hungry. Eating plenty of food also helps to eliminate hunger pangs, depression and fatigue that are caused due to diet changes.
- Extremely Effective: Volumetrics diet is more consistent because it prevents people from controlling their appetite. Most people do not stick to other diets because of the restrictions laid on eating patterns. Whereas volumetric diets pose no such challenges.
- Backed by Scientific Research: Volumetrics diet is based on research and has won a lot of recognition from health experts, making it a reliable diet. This is not one of those fad diets that is available twenty to a dozen.
Drawbacks of Volumetrics Diet
The biggest disadvantage of this diet is that it helps you lose a lot of weight in a short time but you will have to change your eating habits. If you exercise too much, you may experience less or unsatisfactory results.
- Expectations: The expectations of this diet should be realistic to avoid disappointments. It does not promise a specific amount of weight loss.
- Not for Everyone: This diet may not suit everyone, because people who tend to eat a lot of food because of boredom or depression cannot put a tab on how much they eat. They will not stop eating because they are full and will continue to binge on foods.
- Hunger Pangs: It is tough to stay full for long periods of time on a low energy density food type. People feel hungry frequently.
- Lack of Variety: Some people do not like eating fruits and vegetables every day. Moreover, you need to completely avoid foods that are heavy on proteins.
This diet will work for people who are committed to it. Like every other diet, it does have its advantages and disadvantages. Volumetrics diet best suits those people who do not want to cut back on the quantity of their food intake.
Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)
Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad
Paleo? Volumetric? DASH? Popular diet plans have pros and cons that should be weighed.
All you have to do is check out the diet books on bestseller lists to know that “healthy eating” can take many different forms.
“A healthy-eating plan is one that includes a wide variety of foods from each of the food groups,” says Tricia Psota of the National Institutes of Health. “Foods should provide a healthy balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat, as well as vitamins, minerals and fiber.”
But even a perfectly nutritious plan won’t improve your health if it costs too much, lacks flavor or is hard to follow because the meals take too long to prepare. Consumer Reports recently evaluated the pros and cons of five nutrition regimens.
The promise: Fresh food with a limit on fat, sodium and sugar. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension plan — better known as the DASH diet — is so heart-healthy that you might expect it to be tasteless and even difficult to follow. But it’s not, and it’s okay to make changes gradually.
The plan is heavy on vegetables, fruit, whole grains, low-fat or no-fat dairy, and lean protein; it’s light on saturated fat, added sugars and salt; and it meets the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Studies by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that the plan lowers blood pressure. But you don’t have to be at risk of heart disease to benefit from eating this way.
1 of 16 Full Screen Autoplay Close Skip Ad × Michelle Kwan, Sam Kass and an ex-surgeon general: ‘My worst eating habit as a kid’ View Photos We asked athletes, mayors, public health professionals and others for one food vice they had as a child — and how they managed to beat it. Here’s what they said. Caption We asked athletes, mayors, public health professionals and others for one food vice they had as a child — and how they managed to beat it. 1. Michelle Kwan, Olympic figure skater “I wasn’t born eating kale … When I was young, I would eat Junior Mints. All the older skaters would look at me and be like, Oh, she’ll grow out of it.’ I definitely did because by the time I reached puberty, it was time I had to change my eating habits. … I still have a sweet tooth. But I think it was very noticeable that it wasn’t serving me well and that I had to change that habit and to eat healthy.” Jeffrey MacMillan/for The Washington Post Buy Photo Wait 1 second to continue.
Pros: Studies have found that the DASH diet can lower blood pressure and decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, but not at the expense of satisfying your taste buds.
Cons: Portion sizes need to be carefully monitored, and keeping to the daily sodium recommendation — less than 1,500 milligrams per day for some people — can be a challenge.
The promise: Wholesome meals with family, friends and wine.
Researchers looking into what makes people who live in the regions along the Mediterranean Sea live long, healthy lives found that the answer goes beyond the food they eat; it also entails a way of life.
An easy way to know what is allowed on a Mediterranean-type meal plan is to ask whether your great-grandmother would recognize the food. If so, then chances are it’s on this plan: fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, healthy fats such as those found in canola and olive oil, and fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week. It also includes poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt in moderation, and sweets and red meat no more than a few times a month.
Pros: Studies have found that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of certain cancers, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Cons: Because it’s a way of eating as opposed to a structured diet, you need to figure out your own Mediterranean menu, not to mention what you’ll do to stay active.
1 of 11 Full Screen Autoplay Close Skip Ad × Fat Chance: 11 common-sense tips to eat, live healthier View Photos There are more than 40 synonyms for processed sugar on food labels. You don’t have to be a slave to potentially toxic sugar. Here are ideas from an expert, Dr. Robert H. Lustig, and his just-published “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease.” Caption There are more than 40 synonyms for processed sugar on food labels. You don’t have to be a slave to potentially toxic sugar. Here are ideas from an expert, Dr. Robert H. Lustig, and his just-published “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease.” 10. Escape processed sugar That’s perhaps Lustig’s biggest message. More than 600,000 food products sold in the United States contain sugar, and the labels often mask it under terms including ”fruit juice,” “date sugar,” “agave nectar” or “blackstrap molasses.” All contain fructose, which can fry your liver and cause the same diseases as does alcohol. Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post Buy Photo Wait 1 second to continue. Paleo
The promise: A meat-lover’s dream come true.
If cave people didn’t eat it, then you shouldn’t, either. That’s the premise of the paleo diet, although it has not been scientifically tested. The regimen gives a thumbs-up to lean meat, fish, seafood, fruit and non-starchy vegetables, and a thumbs-down to cereal grains, legumes, dairy products and processed foods.
Pros: The plan tends to be low in sodium and sugar, and the emphasis on fruit and vegetables makes it easy to meet goals for dietary fiber.
Cons: “Meeting the recommended intake of many nutrients is difficult,” Psota says. “Also, dieters following this diet long-term risk developing nutrient deficiencies, since entire food groups are eliminated.” So proceed on this food plan with caution.
The promise: Plant-based.
“Vegetarian” has become a catchall for any eating plan that doesn’t allow meat, chicken or seafood. A well-planned vegetarian diet, however, has just as many health benefits as any other nutritionally sound plan.
Pros: Research, including a study of 73,000 men and women published in JAMA Internal Medicine in June, suggests that following a vegetarian diet can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels and the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Cons: You might end up bulking up on starches, and menu options are limited when dining out. In addition, unless you plan appropriately, meeting your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin B12, calcium, Vitamin D, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish) can be tricky, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The promise: This approach is based on the science of satiety — that feeling of fullness at the end of a meal — and how it affects hunger and eating behavior. The staples of this plan — water-rich foods such as broth soups, fruit, vegetables whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meat and fish — not only help control hunger by filling you up; they also do it with fewer calories.
Pros: “This type of dietary pattern is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes,” Psota says. In addition, meals are filling and nothing is off limits.
Cons: Meal prep can be tedious for people who don’t like to cook.
Copyright 2013. Consumers Union of United States Inc.
For further guidance, go to www.ConsumerReports.org/Health, where more detailed information, including CR’s ratings of prescription drugs, treatments, hospitals and healthy-living products, is available to subscribers.
What the heck is the Volumetrics diet?
It’s called the Volumetrics Diet. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the Volumetrics diet?
The basic premise of the Volumetrics Diet is that you focus on foods that have a low energy density – in other words, foods you can eat a lot of for little kilojoule cost (think: non-starchy veg, lean protein and wholegrains). At the same time, you try to eat less energy-dense foods (i.e. foods that contain a stack of kilojoules in small portions like chocolate, biscuits and cake), and you should lose weight. See, I told you it was rational.
Pros and cons of the Volumetrics diet
Unlike most silly fads, I love that the Volumetrics diet includes all food groups: fruit and veg, protein, dairy (mostly reduced fat) and grains (particularly wholegrains). This combination of foods is actually recommended by the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which are backed by a raft of sound scientific research – so I’m all for it.
If weight loss is your goal, I’d bet my bottom dollar you’d see results with the Volumetrics diet. As a dietitian, reducing energy density is one of the key strategies I use to help my clients lose weight. The best part? By focusing on high-fibre, protein-rich foods, you’ll stay full and satisfied throughout the day (read: less likely to reach for the biscuit jar come 3pm).
Another bonus of the Volumetrics Diet is that there are no ‘forbidden foods’. Carbs, chocolate and ice cream are all on the menu – you’re simply encouraged to be sensible with portion size, because they contain a hefty dose of kilojoules. Again, it’s just sensible advice.
Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter for more stories like this.
The Volumetrics Diet plan also encourages movement, which earns it another gold star. That’s because being physically active is essential for overall good health (not just helping you fit into your favourite pair of skinny jeans). Engaging in a regular sweat sesh can do everything from reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, to improve your mood and help you sleep better.
But (you knew there’d be a ‘but’, didn’t you…), it’s not all sunshine and daisies. Despite the positives, there’s one problem I need to draw your attention to. The Volumetrics Diet is sold as a 12-week program, which is one of my pet peeves when it comes to the world of dieting. Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, a healthy lifestyle, body and mindset cannot come to fruition in a (relatively) short time frame, either. There’s no such thing as a quick fix – you’ll need to stick to it far longer than the initial 12 weeks to see long-term results.
Overall, I’m surprised to say that I’m actually in favour of the Volumetrics Diet. It promotes a sensible way of eating that isn’t overly restrictive, and encourages you to be physically active, too. What’s far more important than nailing this 12-week diet, however, is that you stick to its basic principles in the long term: choose nutritious core foods most of the time, and enjoy energy-dense, nutrient poor foods only occasionally (and in moderation, of course).
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can connect with her at www.honestnutrition.com.au or on Instagram @honest_nutrition.
Simple tips for weight loss
Here are some simple tips for weight loss including exercise, portion control and healthy eating.
What Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, Says:
Does It Work?
Absolutely. The advice boils down to a nutritious and sensible diet that any nutritionist would recommend: Cut calories and unhealthy fat, with lots of high-fiber vegetables and fruits.
Rolls has excellent credentials. She’s a professor of nutrition and head of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University. She has also written more than 200 research articles. Volumetrics is largely based on the work done in her lab and is backed with solid scientific evidence.
This plan is more of a lifestyle change that will help you make wiser food choices, which will lead to sustainable and long-term weight loss.
Is It Good for Certain Conditions?
The Volumetrics plan is easily adaptable to most health conditions, as well as weight loss.
Losing weight is helpful for a wide variety of conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep apnea, arthritis, and more. Weight loss may even reduce your need for medications.
Check with your doctor before switching to this plan.
The Final Word
Enjoying a diet based on foods that are naturally high in water and low in energy density is a great strategy to satisfy hunger and fill up on fewer calories. The Volumetrics plan will teach you how to make better food choices and slash calories without deprivation.
This plan is ideal for anyone who wants to eat a healthier but flexible diet. There’s advice for people who rely on fast food or eating out. It’s ideal for those who like to cook, with recipes to help you prepare delicious foods that are in line with your weight loss goals.
If you are trying to lose weight and like the idea of feeling full and satisfied after you eat, you may want to check out the Volumetrics Diet. This post describes the Volumetrics Diets – what it is, the pros and cons, and whether or not it is effective for weight loss.
What is the diet?
The Volumetrics Diet is based on eating low-calorie, low-density, high-volume foods so you feel full after meals. The idea is to help you lose weight without feeling deprived during the process. The diet was created by Barbara Rolls, PhD, a nutrition professor and researcher at Penn State University. Rolls’ approach is based on the notion that the volume of food we consume fills us up, regardless the amount of calories. Food is divided into four categories, ranging from low calorie-density (broth-based soups, vegetables) to high calorie-density (chips, cookies, candy). Rolls encourages us to think about food choices and choose lower calorie-dense foods when possible. Participants track daily calorie intake and exercise. This approach is different from diets that focus on recommended foods you may or may not like that leave you feeling deprived and frustrated, and cause you to give up. Instead, Rolls focuses on making smart food choices that fill you up with fewer calories.
- The Volumetrics Diet guides you to eat healthier, filling foods but is flexible and allows favorite indulgences.
- It teaches you how to select larger amounts of foods that fill you up without blowing your calorie budget.
- It emphasizes higher-fiber, lower-fat foods and so is consistent with health prevention guidelines.
- It can be adapted for all types of eating styles and therapeutic diets, such as kidney or allergy diets.
- All foods can be included in this diet. Individualizing the plan is recommended.
- It can be personalized per one’s food budget allowance.
- It promotes a reasonable, healthy weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week.
- Calculating the caloric density of a food using the mathematical formula may be cumbersome for some people.
- Focusing on the caloric density alone might not be enough for certain medical conditions. People with diabetes who need to count carbs, people who have had weight loss surgery, and people with kidney disease will want to use a comprehensive nutrient tracker.
- Minimal social support is offered with Volumetrics.
- Exercise guidance is minimal with no specific guidelines provided.
- The diet comes at a monetary cost.
- Cardiovascular disease: Some research suggeststhe potential for a low-energy-dense diet to benefit factors affecting cardiovascular disease, but sufficient evidence is lacking to fully support this.
- Type 2 diabetes: In a large observational study, women who ate diets higher in energy density had a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes as compared with women who followed a lower-energy-dense diet.
- Breast cancer: One large observational study determined that women who had the highest-energy-dense diet had a higher risk for postmenopausal breast cancer compared with women who followed the lowest energy-dense diet.
- Weight loss: Several systematic reviews and meta-analyses of observational studies have found lower-energy-dense diets to be associated with lower body weights. Evidence from randomized controlled trials have also shown lower-energy-dense diets to be helpful for weight management and weight loss maintenance.
- Low-fat dairy.
- Whole grains.
- Lean meat.
- Lean meats and a vegetarian salsa.
- Fish garnished with fruits and vegetables.
- Vegetarian bean soups.
- Low-fat cottage cheese with fruit.
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with grated zucchini, chopped apple, and cinnamon
- Lunch: Salad topped with veggies, grilled chicken, chickpeas, and light dressing
- Dinner: Pasta tossed with steamed broccoli and cauliflower, black olives, and low-sugar marinara sauce
- Dessert or Snack: Berries with yogurt
- By Renee Cherry @reneejcherry
- Category 1 includes “free” or “anytime” fruits, non-starchy vegetables (such as broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms), and broth-based soups.
- Category 2 includes reasonable portions of whole grains (such as brown rice and whole wheat pasta), lean proteins, legumes, and low-fat dairy.
- Category 3 includes small portions of foods such as breads, desserts, fat-free baked snacks, cheeses, and higher-fat meats.
- Category 4 includes sparing portions of fried foods, candy, cookies, nuts, and fats.
Sarah Downs, MBA, RDN
Health & Nutrition
- low-fat dairy
- whole grains
- lean meat
Barbara Rolls, professor of nutritional sciences and Helen A. Guthrie Chair in Nutrition at Penn State
IMAGE: Chuck Fong
You have to purchase the book. The latest version is The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet: Smart, Simple, Science-Based Strategies for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off, by Barbara Rolls and Mindy Hermann. William Morrow Cookbooks, Harper Collins Publishers, 2013. It is available on Amazon.com. A sampling of prices include $16.99 for paperback, $11.69 for paperback with Amazon Prime, $8.99 for the Kindle edition and $36.52 for hardcover. It includes a 12-week diet plan and over 100 recipes. Note: Look for Barbara Rolls as author. There are other books written with similar titles. Unless you use a phone app to track your steps, you will also need to purchase a pedometer or step counter device.
This is a do-it-yourself program. You would need to develop your own support system. There is a Volumetrics Facebook page with some online chat available.
This diet appears to be a common-sense, effective plan that focuses on fullness rather than deprivation, and guides people to focus on lower calorie, lower fat, higher fiber foods from all food groups. US News & World Report ranks diets annually, using input from a national panel of health experts. Diets are ranked according to ease of following, nutrition, safety, effectiveness, and protection against diabetes and heart disease. In 2017, the Volumetrics Diet tied for #2 in Best Weight-Loss Diets, tied for #4 in Best Diets for Healthy Eating, and tied for #8 in Best Diets Overall.
Does it work?
The Volumetrics Diet does have research to back it up. A 2007 study, co-authored by Rolls in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), concluded that reductions in energy (calorie) density were associated with weight loss and improved diet quality. Another 2007 study, co-authored by Rolls, concluded that reducing energy density is an effective approach to managing body weight while controlling hunger. A 2008 study in the AJCN showed decreasing energy density is a way to prevent weight gain and obesity in both a short and long term time period.
Who would most benefit from this diet?
This program would be a good fit for someone who often feels hungry and wants to feel satisfied after eating meals and snacks.
Is it viable long term?
Yes, Volumetrics Diet is safe, includes all food groups, and is effective long term.
Do I like this diet?
Yes. I would recommend this program for someone who often feels hungry and desires gradual, healthy weight loss.
For more information on Volumetrics Diet:
For basic information about Volumetrics Diet and other diets, check out WebMD’s Weight Loss & Diet Plans A – Z and U.S. News & World Report’s Best Weight Loss Diets.
Weight Loss->Diets Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE – Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)
The Volumetrics diet was developed by Dr. Barbara Rolls, a nutrition professor at Penn State University, with the intention of creating a dietary approach that emphasizes healthy eating patterns rather than a structured, restrictive diet.
The Volumetrics series of books is centered around dietary “energy density” and “nutrient density.” Foods with high energy density have a higher calorie content in a given portion, while those with low energy density have fewer calories per portion. Similarly, foods that are nutrient-dense provide high levels of nutrients relative to the calories they contain, often having little or no saturated fat, sodium or added sugars.
The Volumetrics diet emphasizes eating low-energy-dense, high-nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Conversely, high-energy-dense foods, such as those with a high proportion of unhealthy fats or sugar and little moisture, are recommended to be limited. The idea is that by focusing on eating foods that are lower in calories and higher in water and important nutrients like fiber, the body will feel satisfied while still losing weight.
Guidelines for the Volumetrics diet
Instead of singling out specific foods or food groups to avoid, the Volumetrics philosophy is more about what to eat. Foods are divided into four groups based on their energy density that help with meal planning and portion control.
Group 1: Foods including non-starchy fruits and vegetables, nonfat milk and broth-based soups
Group 2: Foods including starchy fruits and vegetables, grains, breakfast cereal, low-fat meat, legumes and low-fat mixed dishes
Group 3: Foods including meat, cheese, pizza, French fries, salad dressing, bread, pretzels, ice cream and cake
Group 4: Foods including crackers, chips, chocolate candies, cookies, nuts, butter and oil
Foods contained within Group 1 are very low in energy density and are considered “free” foods to eat any time. The energy density increases from Groups 2 to 4, so more attention to portion control is needed with foods in these groups to avoid excess energy intake. Portion sizes and specific inclusion of groups will vary from person to person, but most will fall into a similar pattern of three meals and two to three snacks each day. Followers of the Volumetrics diet can keep track of what they eat and drink in a food record to monitor progress and identify common patterns, but exact measurements aren’t required. In addition to the food component, the Volumetrics diet provides specific plans for increasing exercise to at least 30 minutes per day most days of the week, an amount supported by the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
One of the benefits of the Volumetrics diet is that it doesn’t put any foods on a “do not eat” list, which gives people the freedom to choose where high-nutrient-dense foods and drinks fit within their overall eating pattern.
Some research suggests that the more we restrict a particular food or food group, the more we want it, so building in “room” for certain favorites offers a healthier way of framing caloric splurges. Specifically, small portions of foods considered to be healthy and energy-dense, like common cooking oils (e.g., olive and canola oils) and nuts (e.g., almonds and walnuts), are recommended. These foods provide essential fatty acids that our bodies use for vitamin and mineral absorption, energy production and maintaining cell health; and this diet acknowledges that they are important to include rather than skip altogether.
The Volumetrics diet and health
While more analysis is needed on the role of energy density in weight management and the prevention of overweight and obesity, there is research supporting the use of a low-energy-dense diet to improve appetite control and help achieve weight-loss goals. By emphasizing whole foods and personalization of the diet rather than cutting out entire food groups or placing strict rules on food consumption, the Volumetrics diet is likely to be a more sustainable eating pattern than popular, quick-fix fad diets.
Some research has also been done on the connection between energy density and specific health outcomes:
Most of these condition-specific studies have been observational in design, meaning that they can’t prove cause and effect like randomized controlled trials (RCTs) can (that is, that a lower-energy-dense diet caused a lower risk for disease development). Studies on the impact of energy density on body weight have been tested in RCTs with positive results. That said, larger and longer-term RCTs are needed to fully understand the effects of energy density on specific health conditions and in different populations.
This was written by Madeline Radigan, with contributions from Ali Webster, PhD, Kris Sollid, RD, and Alyssa Pike, RD.
Volumetrics Diet: Menu, Plan & Recipes
The Volumetrics diet has quickly gained popularity due to its easy-to-understand premise. The diet revolves around foods that have a low caloric density—foods such as fruits and vegetables that contain few calories for their overall sizes. These foods are traditionally associated with wellness and fitness, which makes them a great choice for those looking for a boost to their energy levels. Coupled with enhanced nutrition, enhanced energy levels make it easier for dieters to take part in physical activity, which can further help shed pounds and tone the body. The plan offers dieters fed up with many trends the option to eat more while losing weight.
Volumetrics Diet Plan
When the proponents of the diet plan speak about eating more, they are actually referring to the volume of food that you take in throughout the day. By cutting out foods that have a low volume and high caloric value, the diet forces you to choose low-calorie foods that are filling or to eat greater amounts of foods with a lower caloric density. That’s where the volume in Volumetrics comes from: you are likely to increase the overall volume of food that you consume and make healthy choices about what you eat while still losing weight.
The difficulty of the plan lies in meal preparation. Because your food choices are limited, you must often prepare meals ahead of time and plan your full week’s dining activities in advance. You also cannot indulge in fast food or many restaurant meals while on the diet .
Volumetrics Food List
The food list lies at the heart of this plan. The basics are similar to many low-calorie intake programs. These include:
The restriction on the foods you eat can make meal planning one of the most difficult aspects of the program. Also, a reliance on fruits and vegetables as the bulk of your caloric intake may be off-putting to some dieters who prefer red meats and higher fat content.
Techniques used in food preparation are also important. Deep-fried foods and similar cooking methods that involve adding calories through sauces or oils should be avoided as these additives are not low-calorie and high-volume foods. Similarly, seeds and nuts are allowed only in exceptionally small quantities, and it is suggested they should be added to the diet only to meet nutritional needs for essential oils. Alcohol is prohibited.
Volumetrics Eating Plan
Unlike many plans that have set meal schedules, this diet allows you to eat as you enjoy or your schedule permits. The diet’s premise is that you will feel fuller and, thus, cut down on your food intake as well as substituting low-calorie options for many less healthy foods. You should eat only when you feel hungry, and the recommended thirty minutes or more per day of exercise may also help cut down on hunger pangs while keeping you feeling refreshed throughout the day.
Those who feel hunger immediately after working out should plan for a light snack that meets the low-calorie and high-volume metrics of the plan. A standard week on the plan requires you to carefully evaluate your food choices and set up your meals to match your schedule. Dieters may benefit from planning meals in advance and eating as hunger arises instead of at predetermined times.
Volumetrics Diet Menu
The menu available under the plan is limited to those items found in the food list. Fortunately, the relatively wide spread of options within those items allows you to get creative with how you handle your food intake. Possible meal options include:
Low-fat cottage cheese and yogurt are especially helpful on this plan. Remember to choose the sugar-free varieties of yogurt, as added sugar will increase caloric intake.
One popular recipe for those under this program includes combining cottage cheese with your favorite fruits and vegetables. On its own, cottage cheese has a strong dairy aroma and a texture. Mixing this with berries, which contain antioxidants along with the benefits of fruit, and brightly colored vegetables can give you a great light snack or lunchtime meal.
Another recipe includes preparing lean meat, such as chicken or fish, ahead of time by grilling it until the meat is firm and moist. You should then dice your favorite vegetables and fruits into small, cube shapes and store them separately. When you’re ready to eat, reheat the meat to a comfortable temperature and add the diced fruits and vegetables. The salsa adds even more nutrition and flavor to an already low-calorie meal. Typically equal volumes of meat and vegetables are used, with half the initial volume being diced fruit.
Does It Work?
Lowering caloric intake and increasing, or at least maintaining, exercise levels is a good way to shed pounds. The plan espouses nutrition as a major component, making it a healthy choice for those looking for a long-term eating solution. Even better, the plan has noted benefits for your heart and is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes. The plan was created by a Penn State University professor, and it has proven a great choice for many looking to shed pounds and make a shift towards healthy eating. It has earned recognition for its safe and sound methods as well as nutritional balance.
Things You Should Know
The biggest downsides to this plan are its cost and meal preparation times. You will spend quite a bit of time planning what foods you plan to eat in the week ahead and preparing them on a weekly or daily basis. Because it has a heavy focus on fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean meats, the main ingredients can become costly. This is especially true if you are converting your whole family to the diet to support some members or encourage healthy eating habits. Family members can help pitch in to make the preparation and cooking aspects of the plan easier, however. The benefits usually outweigh the downsides for most on the Volumetrics diet.
What Is the Volumetrics Diet Plan and How Does It Work?
Photo: Westend61 / Getty Images
You’ve seen at least one photo comparing the calories by volume in two different foods. You know the ones-a huge pile of broccoli beside a tiny cookie. The underlying message is that you get waaaay more bang for your buck with the broccoli. Use this principle to create an eating plan for weight loss and you’ve got the Volumetrics Diet. The premise: By eating larger portions of low-calorie foods (e.g., broccoli) and smaller portions of high-calorie foods (e.g., cookies), you’ll feel satiated while consuming fewer calories. (Related: This Diet and Workout Plan Claims to Help You Hit Your Goal Weight In 80 Days-but Is It Even Safe?)
Volumetrics is a diet plan that was created by Barbara Rolls, Ph.D. She’s released three guides, The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan (2005), The Volumetrics Eating Plan (2007), and The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet (2013), each explaining the reasoning behind the diet with tips, food lists, and recipes. The golden rule of the Volumetrics diet is that you should eat larger portions of low-calorie foods, like vegetables and fruits, and be more restrained when it comes to high-calorie foods such as dairy and meat. In The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet, Rolls refers to water as a “magic ingredient” to lower the caloric density of a meal. Meaning: Adding water to a meal adds density (or volume) without calories, so soups and smoothies, as well as foods containing high amounts of water (think cucumbers and watermelon), are encouraged.
What are the rules of the Volumetrics diet?
Rolls recommends eating low-calorie fruits and vegetables with every meal, eating a lot of salads and broth-based soups, and limiting snacks, desserts, and other high-fat foods. In The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet, she splits foods into four categories by caloric density. Category 1 includes low-calorie foods such as fruits and non-starchy veggies that she says you can eat freely. Category 2 includes whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy and should be eaten in “reasonable portions.” Category 3 includes breads and fattier meats and dairy, which should be eaten in smaller portions. The highest caloric density foods in Category 4 should be limited the most: desserts, roasted nuts, and high-fat meats. Additionally, the book suggests eating protein throughout the day and including whole grains.
The idea of prioritizing low-calorie density foods certainly isn’t exclusive to the Volumetrics diet. WW (formerly Weight Watchers) also uses a point system with foods with lower caloric densities costing fewer “points.” Noom, a weight-loss app targeted at millennials, likewise splits foods into green, yellow, and red categories from lowest to highest caloric density. Kroger’s OptUP app takes caloric density as well as saturated fat, sugar, and sodium into consideration to score grocery store items from 1 to 100. (Related: The Best Free Weight-Loss Apps)
What are the pros and cons of the Volumetrics diet?
A big benefit of the Volumetrics diet is that the foods you can eat in abundance on the Volumetrics diet are also some of the healthiest. “The focus on fruits and veggies means you’ll get the vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that your body and mind need,” says Samantha Cassetty, R.D. (Low-calorie produce is high in fiber-the most important nutrient in your diet.) And the Volumetrics diet can be an effective way to encourage weight loss without feeling hungry, says Cassetty.
On the other hand, it also encourages cutting back on high-calorie foods that are good for you. “Limiting healthy fats isn’t ideal,” she says. “Foods like nuts, nut butter, and avocados may not be low in energy density (calories), but they keep meals tasty and satisfying. Plus, in my experience, balanced meals that contain healthful fats help people stay fuller longer. Fruits, veggies, and broth-based soups only get you so far.” In addition, healthy fats contain compounds that help lower inflammation, which might help with weight loss, she says. Plus, a recent study of nearly half a million people found that diets of any kind that restrict entire food groups (in this case, healthy fats) can actually lead to a shorter life span.
Additionally, The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet emphasizes the principle of calories in vs. calories out, which many nutrition experts consider to be an oversimplification of how our metabolisms function. As a result, foods like fat-free ranch dressing, which often have added sugar, fall under Category 2, while more nutritious avocado and eggs are listed in Category 3, and olive oil is in Category 4. Seems weird that a healthy, Mediterranean diet staple food like olive oil would be on the “limited” category 4 scale, right? Experts agree: Even when it comes to losing weight, focusing on food quality rather than counting calories can still be effective.
What does a sample Volumetrics diet plan look like?
Here’s an example of what a day following the Volumetrics diet might look like, according to Cassetty:
Diet Showdown- Volumetrics
The Volumetrics diet, created by terrific research done by Dr. Barbara Rolls, focuses on feeling full or utilizing the volume and calorie density of foods. Volumetrics is ultimately about getting more mileage out of what you eat. Registered dietitian Sarah Downs tells us the details about this eating pattern.
What is the Volumetrics diet?
Sarah Downs: “Rated by U.S. News as the #8 in “Best Diets Overall,” the Volumetrics diet’s primary goal is sustainable weight loss. The theory is that people tend to eat the same amount or volume of food each day, regardless of how many calories they take in. Because most of the foods in this diet are low in calorie density, by filling up on these types of foods you will be consuming fewer calories without less food.”
What are high- and low-density foods?
Sarah Downs: “Energy density refers to the number of calories in a food compared to the volume/weight of the food.
High-density foods have a lot of calories for not much food and little nutrition. Examples of high-density foods are candies, cookies and chips.
Low-density foods have fewer calories with more food or volume. Examples of low-density foods include non-starchy fruits and veggies, non-fat milk and broth-based soups.
For example, a breakfast that includes eggs, whole wheat bread, fruit and milk have the same amount of calories as a breakfast of two donuts. The difference? The volume or weight in grams of the first breakfast is much larger than the donut breakfast, or more food for fewer calories.”
What can you eat? What can you not eat?
Sarah Downs: “There is no restriction within this eating plan, but you do need to be mindful of the energy density of foods. It includes eating three meals a day with a few snacks in between (and you can even have dessert!). There are four categories that different foods fit into:
The plan encourages people to base eating decisions on categories 1 and 2, have smaller portions of category 3 and keep those in category 4 to a minimum.”
What are the health benefits?
Sarah Downs: “The benefits to including more nutrient-dense foods include weight loss, improved heart health and improved overall health.”
Registered Dietitian Rating?
Sarah Downs: “B+ The Volumetrics Diet is not restrictive, promotes increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and is easy to follow. It also doesn’t abandon physical activity and encourages adding increased steps and movement each day in order to reach an ultimate goal of 10,000 steps a day.”
The Image “It’s so easy and delicious to eat #healthy #food at Cafe Lago. Love the flavors in their #gazpacho #soup and any #salad with Dallas #Mozzarella Co. cheese” by Dallas Foodie is licensed under CC BY NC-ND 2.0.
About The Experts
The Volumetrics diet is an eating plan that aims to help you quit on-and-off dieting by living a healthy lifestyle based on nutritious food and regular exercise. Developed by Dr. Barbara Rolls, the Volumetrics diet plan focuses on the energy density of foods. According to Dr. Rolls, awareness of the energy density of food, which is the number of calories in a specific amount of food, is the key to achieving healthy, long-term weight loss.
Volumetrics relies on foods with a low-energy density and high water content, such as fruits and vegetables. Dr. Rolls believes that by eating low-calorie foods you can eat as much as you’d like and eliminate the feelings of hunger, fatigue, and depression that often accompany other diets.
This low-calorie, high-volume eating plan includes foods with a lot of water and fiber, since both supposedly increase your sense of fullness. It doesn’t ban any food, and you can enjoy calorie-packed foods as long as you stick within the recommended calorie intake.
Foods with low energy density include:
Dr. Rolls believes the key to healthy weight loss is to fill up on low-calorie foods. On the Volumetrics diet, you’ll decrease your caloric intake, which encourages weight loss. The diet promises a 1- to 2-pound loss each week, and it promises that you’ll maintain a steady weight loss for as long as you stick to the plan. The Volumetrics diet also promises that it won’t drive you to give up and fall back on bad habits.
Professor’s Volumetrics diet among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Diets of 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Volumetrics diet — created by Barbara Rolls, professor of nutritional sciences and Helen A. Guthrie Chair in Nutrition at Penn State — has been ranked No. 6 out of 32 diets in the Best Diets Overall category of the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Diets 2014. The government-endorsed Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) received the top spot in the Best Diets Overall category.
According to U.S. News, “Volumetrics outperformed its competitors in many categories. It earned particularly high marks for being safe and nutritious, and experts said it could have a positive effect on heart health and diabetes.”
In addition to ranking highly in the category Best Diets Overall, Volumetrics also ranked No. 4 in the category Best Diets for Healthy Eating, No. 5 in the category Best Weight-Loss Diets, No. 5 in the category Easiest Diets to Follow, No. 8 in the category Best Diabetes Diets and No. 11 in the category Best Heart-Healthy Diets.
Volumetrics is based on Rolls’ decades of research on diet and nutrition, which shows that lowering the calorie density — or calories per bite — of food can help people feel full while eating fewer calories. For example, in one study, she and her colleagues found that participants ate 800 calories fewer per day and never missed them when they used Volumetrics principles to reduce calories per bite by 30 percent and serving size by 25 percent.
“There is no magic way to get around the fact that to lose weight you must reduce the calories you consume to below the number you burn,” said Rolls. “However, cutting calories doesn’t have to leave you feeling hungry. You can carefully choose the foods you eat so that you feel full and satisfied on fewer calories.”
Rolls has published three books focusing on Volumetrics principles. The first, titled “The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan,” published in 2000. The second, titled “The Volumetrics Eating Plan,” published in 2005. The third, titled “The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet,” published in 2012.
The Best Diets 2014 rankings were made by a panel of health experts, including nutritionists and physicians specializing in diabetes, heart health and weight loss. These experts scored each diet for short- and long-term weight loss, ease of compliance, safety and nutrition.
“Best Diets 2014 is designed to help consumers identify a diet that suits their specific needs, whether they are trying to lose weight, control a chronic disease or achieve a healthier lifestyle overall,” said Angela Haupt, health and wellness editor for U.S. News. “We assembled top experts and developed the tools and rankings to provide a resource for the thousands of Americans struggling to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.”
To learn more about U.S. News and World Report’s Best Diets 2014, go to: http://health.usnews.com/best-diet.