The Volumetrics Eating Plan
What Is The Volumetrics Eating Plan?
The Volumetrics Eating Plan is based on a basic fact: people like to eat. And if people are given the choice between eating more and eating less, they'll take more almost every time.
Unlike diets that are based on deprivation, the Volumetrics diet doesn't try to fight this natural preference. Its creator, nutritionist Barbara Rolls, PhD, argues that limiting your diet too severely won't work in the long run. You'll just wind up hungry and unhappy and go back to your old ways.
Rolls' approach is to help people find foods that they can eat lots of while still losing weight. The hook of Volumetrics is its focus on satiety, the feeling of fullness. Rolls says that people feel full because of the amount of food they eat -- not because of the number of calories or the grams of fat, protein, or carbs. So the trick is to fill up on foods that aren't full of calories. Rolls claims that in some cases, following Volumetrics will allow you to eat more -- not less -- than you do now, while still slimming down.
Rolls, with co-author Robert A. Barnett, made her case in 2000 with The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan. In 2005, Rolls followed up with The Volumetrics Eating Plan, which restates the basics of the diet and provides further recipes.
Rolls has excellent credentials. She a professor of nutrition and director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State University. She is also the author of more than 200 research articles. Volumetrics is based, in large part, on the work done in her laboratory.
What You Can Eat on the Volumetrics Diet
Rolls doesn't ban food types as part of the Volumetrics diet. She doesn't divide foods into the good and the bad. But she does urge people to evaluate foods based on their energy density. This concept is crucial to the whole diet.
Energy density is the number of calories in a specified amount of food. Some foods -- especially fats -- are very energy dense. If you eat foods with high energy density, you rack up calories quickly. If you go with less energy dense foods, you can eat more and get fewer calories.
Very low-density foods include:
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Nonfat milk
- Soup broths
Very high-density foods include:
Volumetrics relies heavily on foods with a high water content -- such as many vegetables and fruits -- since they will fill you up without adding a lot of calories. Just drinking water isn't enough, Rolls says. It will quench your thirst but not sate your hunger.
Rolls's books are also full of recipes, including many for foods with a lot of water -- like soups, casseroles, stews, and fruit-based desserts. The recipes also use a lot of tricks familiar to low-fat diet veterans: cutting the oil, butter, eggs, cream, and using skim milk, egg whites, yogurt, and applesauce instead.
Rolls also suggests eating lots of foods with filling fiber, along with adequate portions of lean protein and some healthy fats from fish and other sources. Of course, energy-dense foods -- like sweets, fats, and alcohol -- are still allowed. You just have to eat them sparingly.
While the hook of Volumetrics is clever, it essentially boils down to the sensible diet that any nutritionist would recommend: lower-calories, lower-fat, with lots of vegetables and fruits.