Diet. One of those words you hear on the 1st of January or, more commonly, on Mondays when someone attempts to turn their eating habits upside down in order to lose weight, gain muscle, or feel better overall. If you are thinking of losing weight, perhaps you should try the volumetrics diet.
The volumetrics diet was created by Barbara Rolls, a PhD. professor and chair of Nutritional Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, in the United States, where she heads the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior.
In April 2012 she published a book called The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet: Smart, Simple, Science-Based Strategies for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off. The book is co-author by Mindy Hermann, a writer who specialises in collaborative projects on cooking, food, and nutrition with researchers, health professionals, and chefs.
Although a decade old, the diet has only recently become more known to the general public. It ranked 5th “Best Diets Overall” by U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings, and 3rd “Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets.”
So, the question on everyone’s mind is: does it work? We talked with Justin Romaire, nutrition coach, founder and CEO of Consistency Breeds Growth to get a professional opinion about it. “It’s a great way to get people to lose weight,” he said.
Disclaimer: all content within this article is provided for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional.
What Is The Volumetrics Diet?
The golden rule of the volumetrics diet is that you should eat larger portions of low-calorie foods and restrain from high-calorie foods. By doing this, Barbara Rolls explains, your body will feel fuller while ingesting fewer calories, thus helping with weight loss.
That means you should not feel hungry at all during the day if you adopt the volumetrics diet. At the end of the day, you will be consuming somewhere between 1,600 and 2,000 calories.
This diet does not focus solely on your nutrition, but also on your physical activity, as it encourages people to exercise 30 to 60 minutes every day.
Watch the extensive virtual conversation Barbara Rolls had at Penn State University earlier this year.
How Does It Work?
Every food is separated into four different categories:
- Category one: (very low density food) low-calorie foods, such as fruits, non-starchy vegetables, non-fat milk and broth-based soups.
- Category two: (low density food) starchy fruits and veggies, grains, whole grains, low-fat meat, breakfast cereal, legumes and low-fat dairy.
- Category three: (medium density food) meat, cheese, pizza, French fries, salad dressing, bread, ice cream, cake.
- Category four: (high density food) crackers, chips, chocolate candies, nuts, butter, oil, high-fat meats.
Category one should make the bulk of your daily meals with reasonable portions of category two foods. Foods that fall under category three should be consumed in moderation, while category four foods should be eaten only occasionally.
When it comes to exercise, the volumetrics diet encourages you to add 150 steps a day to your routine – most phones have a pedometer, or you can download an app for that. The first goal is to increase 1,000 steps daily by the end of the first week. The ultimate goal is to log in at least 10,000 steps every day.
The diet is flexible enough for vegetarians, vegans, and those who need to restrict salt and fat.
“My personal opinion,” Justin Romaire tells us, “is for weight loss, [the volumetrics diet] is a better approach than a restricted diet. When you get into restricting foods, that is not sustainable for people.”
Barbara Rolls’ book can help you learn the calorie density of the foods you want to eat and they also provide a food density list for hundreds of foods that will help you prepare your next meal.
A good tip to keep in mind when going grocery shopping is to look for foods that are high in water content, as water has no calories. Think tomatoes, cucumber, grapefruit, zucchini, watermelon, broccoli, cauliflower and apples.