Volumetrics Diet

What is Volumetrics Diet?

Pioneered by Penn State University nutrition professor Barbara Rolls, Volumetrics is more of an approach to eating than it is a structured diet. With “The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet” book as your guide, you’ll learn to decipher a food’s energy density, cut the energy density of your meals and make choices that fight hunger. Food is divided into four groups. Category one (very low-density) includes nonstarchy fruits and vegetables, nonfat milk and broth-based soup. Category two (low-density) includes starchy fruits and veggies, grains, breakfast cereal, low-fat meat, legumes and low-fat mixed dishes like chili and spaghetti. Category three (medium-density) includes meat, cheese, pizza, french fries, salad dressing, bread, pretzels, ice cream and cake. And category four (high-density) includes crackers, chips, chocolate candies, cookies, nuts, butter and oil. You’ll go heavy on categories one and two, watch your portion sizes with category three, and keep category four choices to a minimum. Each day, you’ll eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, a couple snacks and dessert. Exactly how strictly you follow Volumetrics is up to you. Though the books contain recipes and some sample meal plans, the point is to learn the Volumetrics philosophy and apply it where you can throughout the day. See where you can replace a category four item (baked white potato) with a category one item (sweet potato), for example.

Pros & Cons

  • Filling
  • Nothing is off-limits
  • Lengthy meal preparation
  • If you don’t like fruits, veggies and soup, forget it

How does Volumetrics Diet work?

To get started on Voumetrics Diet, go for foods high in water. These play a big role in Volumetrics, since water increases the weight of food without packing in additional calories. Your best bets include:

  • Soup (80 to 95% water)
  • Fruits and veggies (80 to 95% water)
  • Yogurt (75% water)
  • Pasta (65% water)

You’re also encouraged to eat foods similar to what you’re craving: crunchy carrots and hummus, say, instead of chips and dip. No foods are off-limits. And if there’s a category four favorite you can’t do without, indulge, as long as you make trade-offs elsewhere.

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