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Volumetrics

The Promise

What if you could eat a lot and still lose weight?

You can on Volumetrics, created by Barbara Rolls, PhD. Unlike diets that are based on deprivation, the Volumetrics approach helps people find healthy foods that they can eat lots of while still losing weight.

The hook of Volumetrics is its focus on feeling full. Rolls says that people feel full because of the types and amounts 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 the right foods that fill you up for less calories.

Rolls claims that in some cases, following Volumetrics will let you eat more, not less, than you do now, while still slimming down.

You won't lose a lot of weight in a hurry. This is more of a long-term plan.

You'll work toward your weight loss goals by meeting daily calorie goals and daily steps goals for exercise. Bottom line:You’ll lose weight by feeling full on fewer calories.

What You Can Eat and What You Can't

You can eat anything, but you need to pay attention to "energy density," which is the number of calories in a certain amount of food. Foods with high energy density have lots of calories for not much food, but items with low energy density provide fewer calories with more volume.

Rolls splits foods into four categories:

  1. Category 1 includes “free” or “anytime” fruits, nonstarchy vegetables (such as broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms), and broth-based soups.
  2. Category 2 includes reasonable portions of whole grains (such as brown rice and whole wheat pasta), lean proteins, legumes, and low-fat dairy.
  3. Category 3 includes small portions of foods such as breads, desserts, fat-free baked snacks, cheeses, and higher-fat meats.
  4. Category 4 includes sparing portions of fried foods, candy, cookies, nuts, and fats.

You’ll eat three meals, two snacks, and a dessert each day.

Volumetrics relies heavily on foods that have a lot of water in them, like many fruits and vegetables, because they fill you up without adding a lot of calories. Just drinking water isn't enough, Rolls says, because it satisfies your thirst but not your hunger.

Alcohol is allowed in moderation, but keep in mind that alcohol is high in calories, and it doesn’t satisfy hunger.

Does It Work?

While the hook of Volumetrics is clever, it boils down to the sensible diet that any nutritionist would recommend: lower calories, lower fat, with lots of vegetables and fruits.

Rolls has excellent credentials. She's a professor of nutrition and directs the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at The Pennsylvania State University. She has also written more than 200 research articles. Volumetrics is largely based on the work done in her lab.

WebMD Medical Reference

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