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What is the Volumetrics Diet?

The volumetrics diet is an eating plan which helps you maintain an eating pattern wherein you live a healthy lifestyle based on nutritious food and regular exercise. It was developed on the basis of the energy density of foods by Dr. Barbara Rolls, a renowned professor of nutritional sciences. According to Dr. Rolls, awareness of the energy density of food, which is the number of calories in a specific amount of food, is the key to achieving healthy, long-term weight loss.

The volumetrics diet is concerned with foods with a low-energy density and high water content, such as fruits and vegetables. It is believed that by eating low-calorie foods you can eat as much as you like and eliminate the feelings of hunger, fatigue, and depression that are associated with other diets.

With the volumetrics diet, you can still enjoy calorie-packed foods as long as you stick within the recommended calorie intake. The diet is flexible and easy to modify with different ingredients based on personal preferences. Basically, the volumetrics diet asserts that foods which contain more water, such as fruits and vegetables, are healthier because they have lower energy density, or number of calories in a specific amount of food, than other options that have comparable satiety. Foods that have high energy density include sugary and fatty foods, such as potato chips and cookies.

crisp green apples
crisp green apples

How does it work?

The volumetrics diet is a well-researched and healthy way of losing weight. It focuses on a balanced diet consisting of fruits vegetables and whole grains. With this, you consume fewer calories and lose weight, while eating nutritious foods at satisfying portions.  The diet guarantees about 1- to 2-pound loss each week, and it promises that you’ll maintain a steady weight loss for as long as you stick to the plan. The volumetric diet lays more emphasis on eating rather than deprivation. It provides well-defined guidelines to eating that also provide tips on exercise, which is just as important as food for achieving a healthy weight and lifestyle. With the volumetrics diet, food is evaluated based on calorie content and nutritional value, without stringent rules about what’s healthy and what’s not.  Research has also established that eating a diet with a lower energy density, including more vegetables and whole grains, could help people maintain their weight loss.

Sample Food List for the Volumetrics Diet

On the Volumetrics diet, food is divided into four groups. While food scientists advise that you should eat mostly foods in groups one and two, they suggest that you should be mindful of portion sizes of foods in group three, and minimize choices of foods from group four.

  • Group one: non-starchy fruits, non-starchy vegetables, nonfat milk and broth-based soup
  • Group two: breakfast cereal, starchy fruits and veggies, grains, low-fat meat, legumes, low-fat mixed dishes like chili and spaghetti.
  • Group three: pizza, french fries, meat, cheese, bread, pretzels, ice cream and cake.
  • Group four: crackers, chips, chocolate candies, cookies, nuts, butter and oil.
fruit and veg
fruit and veg

The volumetrics diet plan rather than focusing on what to eat and what not to eat, focuses more on teaching you how to eat and stay satisfied. As earlier stated, it recommends certain foods that have high water content (low energy density), high fiber, and high nutrient density, to help enhance satiety. Some of these foods include fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables and legumes, whole grains, fiber-rich breakfast cereals, low-fat fish, poultry without skin, lean meats, minimal added sugars and water (rather than sugary drinks).

Pros and cons of the volumetrics diet

It is believed that people who follow the volumetrics plan are more likely to build lasting healthy habits, develop a healthier lifestyle and maintain weight loss; since they would eat more of plant-based diet and whole grains. The following are some known advantages related with following the volumetrics diet:

Well Researched: The basis of the volumetrics diet is backed by research and its results have been proven to a large extent.

Healthy foods: One of the major advantages of the volumetrics diet is its emphasis on learning how to eat water-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, which tend to be healthier foods. It teaches how to eat right and promotes all the healthy foods we know.

No Crash Dieting: It promotes a safe and slow loss of 1 to 2 lbs a week, with focus on sustaining weight loss rather than rapid weight loss.

No Rigid Rules: There are no very strict rules regarding what to eat and what not to eat; instead, you will learn how to work it into your diet in the most healthy way possible. The diet also allows for easy swaps. It encourages fiber-rich foods, which can fill you up and keep you fuller longer on fewer calories. It is a good to keep you satiated, while helping you meet your daily nutrient goals.

Healthy Lifestyle Changes: The plan encourages regular, moderate physical activity, which is very good. Many diets do not encourage exercise, despite the fact that regular activity is a vital part of a lifestyle that leads to long-term health and permanent weight loss.

Despite the remarkable advantages of the volumetric diet, you should also know that it comes with certain challenges, such as:

A Need to Cook: The volumetrics diet  emphasize s on cooking at home, so this approach may not work for everyone; since you have to make your own meals. If you eat out for business or pleasure, this plan may not be ideal.

Only Short-Term Satiety: Eating lots of low-calorie foods under the volumetric plan will help you feel full, but the effect may not last. When you eat high-water foods, you feel full at the time, but there is also a probability that you may feel hungry a short time later. You may consider having protein with your meals to help the feeling of satiety last longer.

Time Consuming: People who are new to volumetric get to find out that it may take time. It appears to take time because you will need to analyze your food choices for density, keep track of what you are eating, count calories, and prepare food frequently.

Limited Online Support: There are limited volumetric apps to help you out with the diet plan. If you want to rely on an app instead of a book to check a food’s density and track your meals, it may be a bit difficult for you.

Should You Try the Volumetrics Approach to Lose Weight?

Compared to other diet plans, the volumetrics diet is really more of a lifestyle shift than a quick-fix diet. If you follow this plan, you may find yourself reaching for more fiber and more nutrients, which is not in any way bad.

However, if you are looking for something that is just quick and convenient, this diet may not be for you. , If you’re struggling to find a diet you can actually stick to, you might want to give the Volumetrics diet a try because studies have proven its efficacy. It was tied for the number-two best diet for weight loss in the 2020 U.S.

News And World Reports’s Best Weight Loss Diets, and number-five best diet overall (out of 35 diets) in the 2020 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Diet Rankings. It also received high recommendation from nutrition experts for being safe, effective, and sustainable in the long run. 

Please note that the only people that are cautioned against the diet are those that require higher-calorie, high-fat diets, or athletes who require higher-carbohydrate diets. However, if you do not fall into any of these categories, then the volumetrics diet might be exactly what you’re looking for in a non-restrictive eating plan. Finally, whatever you decide to do, always ensure that you consult your doctor first.


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