If you're looking for a diet that is not going to leave you hungry but will still help you lose weight, the Volumetrics diet is one you should consider. Based on the idea that people are always going to be happier if they don't feel deprived, this plan lets dieters eat a lot of certain foods that won't cause weight gain.
History of the Volumetrics Diet
The first Volumetrics book was published in 2000, and a second book, The Volumetrics Eating Plan was released in 2005. Both were written by nutritionist Barbara Rolls, PhD, and Robert A. Barnett.
Rolls is a professor of nutrition at Penn State University and also the director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior, which means she and her colleagues study how and why people eat what they do.
She has written more than 200 articles on human nutrition, and much of the Volumetrics plan is based on her laboratory research. Rolls says her studies have shown people can eat fewer calories and lose weight without feeling hungry when they add more fruits and vegetables and opt for lower-calorie dishes.
Volumetrics Food List
There are no banned foods on the Volumetrics diet, but the idea is to eat more foods that have lower energy density. Energy density refers to the amount of calories in a specified amount of food. Meat, for example, is very energy dense, meaning you get a lot of calories quickly when you eat it.
On this diet plan, you want to eat more foods that have fewer calories per bite, so that you can eat more while consuming fewer calories and lose weight. You'll feel good because you'll still be eating enough to feel full.
Some foods that are high on the Volumetrics food list include:
- Any vegetables that aren't starchy, such as celery and squash
- Fruit, especially watery fruits like mellons
- Nonfat milk
- Soups that are broth-based
Foods you'd want to avoid or eat smaller portions of on the Volumetrics diet include:
- Crackers and chips
- Cookies and chocolate
You don't have to eliminate these foods from your diet entirely, but it is important to eat more low-density foods and fewer high-density foods. To calculate energy density on your own, divide the number of calories in one serving of food by its weight in grams. Items with a density of two or less can be consumed often, while those with higher numbers should be eaten less often.
Volumetrics Eating Plan Menu
Both of the Volumetrics diet books include recipes and sample diet meal plans that you can follow on your own, but the diet is really just about changing the way you eat foods that are already your favorites.
For example, instead of eating chips and high-fat dip when you want a snack, go for water-filled vegetables like celery, bell peppers, broccoli and carrots along with a lower-fat dip like hummus.
Instead of traditional macaroni and cheese, a Volumetrics menu would use whole-wheat pasta and probably less cheese or a lower-fat variety. You'd also add vegetables and cut down on the use of butter and cheese.
A typical Volumetrics menu includes lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains while limiting meat, cheese, oil, butter and other high-fat foods. It sounds like a pretty logical diet that most nutritionists and doctors would recommend.
What the Critics Have to Say
Volumetrics is almost universally accepted as a reasonable and effective way of eating to lose weight. In fact, the diet was getting a lot of good press in the spring of 2007. According to Penn State, Consumer Reports ranked the diet above Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Slim Fast, eDiets, The Zone, Ornish and Atkins as the best weight loss plan, based on its success in clinical trials.
No diet is foolproof, but the Volumetrics diet combines an easy method for deciding what to eat (watery, low-energy-density foods) with no forbidden foods. This makes it a diet that's easier for many people to stick with and feel satisfied on.