The Volumetrics Eating Plan Explained

The Volumetrics Eating Plan is based on the simple fact that people like to eat. And, if people are given the choice between eating more and eating less, they’ll take more almost every time. If you take a look at meal sizes over the last thirty years, you’ll notice that not only have the portions increased, the size of the plate has increased too.

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 is not sustainable; you will just wind up hungry and unhappy and revert back to your original eating habits.

Let’s take a look at the basics of the Volumetrics Eating Plan.

The approach Dr. Rolls takes is to help people find food they can eat lots of while still losing weight. The diet revolves around the feeling of fullness, or satiety. The theory is that people feel full based on the amount of food they eat, not the number of calories or nutrient density.

The trick is to fill up on foods that aren’t full of calories, which allows the dieter to stick to the main principle of calorie restriction. Dr. Rolls claims that in some cases, following a Volumetrics diet will allow you to eat more than you do now, while still slimming down.

Dr. 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

Since the diet doesn’t revolve around differences in body types or “good” foods and “bad” foods, Dr. Rolls doesn’t ban food types as part of the Volumetrics diet. She does, however, urge people to evaluate foods based on their energy density which is a critical concept for the diet.

Energy density is the number of calories in a specified amount of food. Some foods are more energy dense than others, like fats, which have a lot of calories packed into a small size. Water, on the other hand, has an energy density of zero.

Basically, this diet is a game to see how you can eat more food while eating fewer calories. Here is a short break down to give you some idea of what Volumetrics is all about.

Very low-density foods include:

Non-starchy vegetables
Nonfat milk
Soup broths

Very high-density foods include:

Crackers
Chips
Cookies
Chocolate and Candies
Nuts
Butter and Oils

Since water is the ultimate zero-density food, Volumetrics relies heavily on foods with a high water content, such as many vegetables and fruits, which are 80 to 95 percent water. These will fill you up without adding a lot of calories. Dr. Rolls also suggests eating lots of foods with filling fiber, along with adequate portions of lean protein and healthy fats from fish and other sources. Of course, energy-dense foods, like sweets, fats, and alcohol, are still allowed, but only in moderation.

Anyone who loves lots and lots of food will enjoy the Volumetrics diet. You will still have to do some simple math to calculate the energy density of foods, but at least you don’t have to track calories or deny yourself a small bite of that delicious chocolate mousse. If endless bowls of soup and piles of veggies and fruit appeal to you, dig into Volumetrics and watch the weight come off.

While there are lots of pros to the way of eating, you do need to be aware that if you lack self control and aren’t a big fan of fruits and veggies, this probably isn’t the diet plan for you!

Have you tried Volumetrics? We’d love for you to share your thoughts!

Not sure this is the diet plan for you?  Check out other diet plans in my Explanations of Popular Diet Plans series.

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