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The Volumetrics Eating Plan

The Volumetrics plan, created by nutritionist Barbara Rolls, PhD, is based on the idea that people get hungry, and when they’re hungry they want to eat. Volumetrics aims to satisfy that hunger, but instead of filling up on energy-dense foods such as crackers and cookies, which pack a lot of calories for their size, you load up on foods with a low energy density, like vegetables and soup, which are high in fiber and water and low in calories. Then you can eat healthy low-fat meals without feeling deprived.

Fernstrom says the idea of the Volumetrics diet is rooted in good science. "It’s based on 25 years of scientific evidence showing that people will eat less, for example, if they have a big salad or bowl of tomato soup. The way you fill up is by having foods that are high in fiber and high in water," she says. "It’s certainly reasonable, and it’s the fundamentals of a diet plan for life."

Volumentrics: Will it fill you up?

Layman isn’t as convinced. "[Rolls has] found that if you eat things that have a high fluid volume ahead of a meal … you will consume fewer calories. I think that’s perfectly good research, but I’m not sure that everybody, at every meal, can have soup ahead of it," he says. He views Volumetrics as a component of a diet, rather than a lifestyle.

Also, because the Volumetrics diet relies heavily on homemade soups, casseroles, and stews, you have to be extra vigilant about meal ingredients if you’re leading a busy lifestyle and depend on convenience and restaurant foods. You might want to consider canned soups, especially the low-calorie and low-sodium varieties on market shelves.

Bottom line? Volumetrics is a sensible, low-fat diet. It can work for people who get filled up on soups, salads, and vegetables, but those who don’t feel satisfied after a plate of greens may stay hungry enough to veer way from the plan.

Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig takes the thinking out of dieting. The plan provides you with three meals plus snacks every day, and you supplement them with your own fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. You can either pick up your food at a local center or have it shipped directly to your home every two to four weeks.

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