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Volumetrics Diet

Weight Loss Pill ApprovedThe Volumetrics diet is a way of losing weight while still eating enough to feel full and satisfied. Rather than providing a structured, restrictive diet, the Volumetrics eating plan teaches you to recognize low energy-density foods and avoid high energy-density ones.

Developed by nutritionist Barbara Rolls, director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State, the Volumetrics diet is based on the simple fact that people like to eat. Eating is as much about social engagement as it is about sustenance, and very few people can realistically limit their intake to the minimum requirement for daily functioning. Rolls argues that adopting too severe a diet will ultimately fail, and that most people eventually go back to their old ways.

With the Volumetrics eating plan, you can feel full by eating low-calorie foods in large quantities. Rolls claims that some adherents will actually end up eating more than they did before, and still lose weight. Best of all, no one food type is banned altogether. But is the plan one of the best diets for lasting weight loss?

How does it work?

Evaluating the energy density of foods is the key component of the Volumetrics eating plan. Energy density is the number of calories in a specific weight or portion-size of food. Those with a high water content, like certain fruits, have very few calories, even if you eat a large portion. They fill you up without making you put on weight.

Foods high in fat, such as pork, are extremely energy dense, so you pile on the calories without having to eat too much. Rather than outlawing these foods entirely, the Volumetrics diet shows you how much low energy-density food you can eat for the same intake of calories. If you’d rather eat a handful of chips than a whole bowlful of watermelon then you can. Nothing is forbidden. Volumetrics is about appreciating equivalency between small portions of high energy-density foods, and large portions of low energy-density foods.

What can I eat?

The only thing you need to understand before going on the Volumetrics diet is the energy density of foods, from low to high. Foods are broadly divided into four categories:

  1. Very low density foods, such as non-fat milk, soups and broths and non-starchy fruits and vegetables.
  2. Low density foods, including starchy fruits and vegetables, grains, cereals and lean meat.
  3. Medium density foods like meat, cheese, fries, bread, and ice cream.
  4. High density foods, such as chips, chocolate, cookies, nuts, butter and oil.

By concentrating on as many category 1 foods as much as possible, you can achieve satiety without putting on weight. Throw in a few category 2 foods to complete each meal, limit category 3 foods, and try to avoid category 4 foods altogether. 

Volumetrics recipes

Ingredients on the Volumetrics food list are similar to the ones you might find with other low-fat diets. Lean proteins like fish, soups and foods high in fiber all feature heavily. Anything with a high water content is also good, such as apples, grapefruit, watermelon and tomatoes, all of which are at least 90% water.

Snacking on foods like these is encouraged in order to bridge the gap between meals without eating fat or sugar. There are plenty of Volumetrics recipes out there, both online and in Rolls’ book. A typical main meal might be a lentil soup, made from vegetable broth or bouillon, celery, onion and garlic, with plenty of filling, high-fiber lentils. Breakfast might be oatmeal pancakes with fresh blueberries.

How much weight can I lose?

Volumetrics is designed to be effective in the long-term, so unlike crash diets that make you shed 10 pounds in a week, progress is slow and steady, usually amounting to one or two pounds per week. Rolls’ advice is to lose somewhere between 5% and 10% of your current body weight, over the course of a few weeks.

Weight loss isn’t the only health benefit of the Volumetrics eating plan. Consuming fruits, vegetables and whole grains but very little saturated fat or salt is considered the best way to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and can help prevent heart disease. It also minimizes the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Are there drawbacks of the Volumetrics diet?

In the medical community, Volumetrics is considered by many the best diet to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way. However, some critics have voiced doubt that the sensation of fullness from certain items on the Volumetrics food list will last much longer than a couple of hours. High water-content food is absorbed into the body at a much faster rate, rendering any sense of satisfaction fleeting.

It may not be ideal for compulsive overeaters who eat for comfort or habit, so a huge shift in attitude and lifestyle is vital to making the diet work. Some people will need more hands-on guidance to help them lose weight, with advice and counseling from physicians.

How to lose weight for the long-term

Volumetrics is a sensible, achievable diet that, in conjunction with regular exercise can be adopted long-term for a healthier lifestyle. But it may not suit everybody. For a custom-made health plan designed by doctors, treatment at The Center for Medical Weight Loss may be more suitable than trying to follow the Volumetrics diet at home.

Experts at the Center can personalize weight loss programs to fit individuals who have been unable to lose weight on their own. Their physician-led treatment takes into account a patient’s medical history and lifestyle, so their advice is catered to an individual’s needs. Coaches and nutritionists can help strike the right balance between eating and exercise. To find a Center in your neighborhood, please enter your zip code in the box to the right.  Special introductory offers are available to first-time customers in most locations.