What Is The Volumetrics Diet Plan?
The Volumetrics weight control plan was developed by Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., a veteran nutrition researcher who currently holds the endowed Guthrie Chair of Nutrition at Pennsylvania State University. She has focused on the study of hunger and obesity for more than 20 years and used the science of satiety, or the feeling of fullness at the end of a meal, to help her readers stop dieting and feel full by consuming fewer calories.
The Volumetrics diet has quickly gained popularity due to its easy-to-understand premise. The diet revolves around foods that have a low caloric density—foods such as fruits and vegetables that contain few calories for their overall sizes. These foods are traditionally associated with wellness and fitness, which makes them a great choice for those looking for a boost to their energy levels. Coupled with enhanced nutrition, enhanced energy levels make it easier for dieters to take part in physical activity, which can further help shed pounds and tone the body. The plan offers dieters fed up with many trends the option to eat more while losing weight.
Volumetrics Food List
The food list lies at the heart of this plan. The basics are similar to many low-calorie intake programs. These include:
- Low-fat dairy.
- Whole grains.
- Lean meat.
Fruits and vegetables are full of fiber and water. Rolls calls water the “secret ingredient” to weight loss because it makes foods more bulky. When eating these foods you will feel full, but you will not be consuming any excess calories. Rolls recommends snacking on fruits and vegetables and adding them to meals. Replace potato chips with vegetables and low-fat dip. Add vegetables to other dishes that normally don’t call for vegetables, such as macaroni and cheese. Rolls’ research showed that adding a salad to a meal reduces total calories consumed, according to Newsweek.com. To stay on the plan when eating salad, use light cheese and fat-free dressing. Make substitutions, like replacing syrup with raspberry sauce. Try adding fruits to foods that don’t normally contain them, such as grapes to a chicken salad sandwich.
How much does it cost?
No exotic ingredients are required, so groceries shouldn’t cost more than they typically do. And there’s no membership fee. The diet’s individualized nature gives you financial wiggle room—by making dinner from whatever produce is on sale, for example. You will, however, need The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet (William Morrow Cookbooks, $16.99).
Is Volumetrics Effective?
The Volumetrics plan is not a fad diet. It is nutritionally sound and can be effective. The food recommendations are consistent with the eating guidelines promoted by the USDA. The eating plan promotes a healthy, balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and encourages you to limit your intake of saturated fat.
The fact that the plan encourages regular, moderate physical activity is a definite plus. Exercise is something fad diets virtually ignore, despite the fact that regular activity is a vital part of a lifestyle that leads to long-term health and permanent weight loss. Additional recommendations, such as keeping a food diary, will also help you adjust to your new lifestyle.
If the caloric guidelines and food recommendations set forth in this plan are followed correctly, this diet is both effective and nutritious. It will not bring major results very quickly, but it instead leads to safe, gradual weight loss of about one to two pounds a week, which is ideal for long-term success.
Here’s what several key studies had to say about Volumetrics:
- In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007, researchers randomly assigned 97 obese women to either a low-fat diet or a low-energy-dense, low-fat diet that emphasized fruits and vegetables. After a year, both groups lost weight, but the fruits-and-vegetables dieters lost even more—14 pounds compared with 11 pounds. The researchers deemed low-energy-dense diets an effective way to drop pounds and keep them off.
- In another study, coauthored by Rolls, researchers investigated ways to maximize weight loss on a low-density diet. Two hundred overweight and obese adults were placed on a low-density diet and divvied into four groups: one got a serving of soup a day, another got two servings of soup, and a third got two daily snacks, like crackers or pretzels. (Soup, a high-water, low-density food, is a staple on the Volumetrics eating plan.) People in a fourth comparison group shaped their own low-density diet, without any special food instructions. After one year, those who supplemented their daily menu with one soup serving lost 13.4 pounds, compared with 15.9 for the two-soup group, 10.6 for the two-snack group, and 17.9 for the comparison group, according to findings published in Obesity Research in 2005. Though the exact number of pounds lost varied, the study suggests that a diet high in low-density foods leads to substantial weight loss.
- Finally, in a study of 186 women, researchers found that those on higher-energy-density diets gained about 14 pounds over six years, while those on lower-energy-density diets gained 5.5 pounds, according to findings published in 2008 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The high-density group also saw their body mass index (a measure of body fat), increase more than the low-density group did. The findings suggest that decreasing energy density is a way to prevent weight gain and obesity in both the short and long term, the researchers concluded.