Volumetrics gets the stamp of approval from most experts. And even those who have some reservations don’t attack the strategy on any deep level. While some people have concerns with the emphasis on making meals on your own, let’s face it – pre-packaged foods are often high in sodium. All in all, this is an interesting and sound approach to eating.

Don’t confuse Volumetrics with a diet – it’s a lifestyle change cleverly disguised as a commonsense eating plan.

The key to Volumetrics is figuring out the energy density of foods. Energy density is simply the concentration of calories in a given weight (serving size) of food. At 9 calories per gram, fat is the most energy-dense of all–more than twice as dense as carbohydrates or protein.

You can work out the energy density of any given food by dividing the number of calories by the number of grams. The lower the number, the better the food, and the more of it you can consume without gaining weight. A food that is high in energy density has a large number of calories in a small amount of food. A food that has a low energy density has fewer calories for the same weight of food.. If we can choose foods that offer fewer calories for the same amount of food, we will be able to manage our weight more effectively without going hungry.

Some of the Volumetrics Eating Plan are as follows:

  1. Reduce caloric intake by 500-1000 calories/day to promote 1-2 pound per week weight loss.
  2. Diet composition-20-30% total calories from fat, 15-35% total calories from protein and carbohydrates are at least 55% total calories.
  3. Fiber intake: 25-38 grams/day; high fiber foods are low ED, high satiety value.
  4. Water-9 cups/day for women, 13 cups/day for men.
  5. Exercise-30-60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on a daily basis.

Foods Allowed:

Focus on fiber-rich foods with a high moisture content. Fruits (mostly fresh), vegetables (mostly those with high water content; e.g. tomatoes, broccoli, greens) whole grain pasta, rice, breads and cereals; soups, salads; low-fat poultry, seafood, meats and dairy. Moderate amounts of sugar and alcohol are permitted, too.

Foods Restricted:

No foods are forbidden but limiting fatty foods like deep-fat fried items, sweets and fats added at the table are recommended. Limited amount of dry foods (crackers, popcorn, pretzels, etc.) due to their high caloric value and low satiety index.

What you can eat ?

Energy density is the number of calories in a specified amount of food. Some foods — especially fats — are very energy dense. They have a lot of calories packed into a small size. Water is the opposite, since it has an energy density of zero. If you eat foods with high energy density, you rack up calories quickly. If you go with less energy dense foods, you can eat more and get fewer calories.

Very low-density foods include:

  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Nonfat milk
  • Soup broths

Very high-density foods include:

  • Crackers
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Chocolate/Candies
  • Nuts
  • Butter
  • Oils

Volumetrics relies heavily on foods with a high water content – such as many vegetables and fruits, which are 80% to 95% water — since they will fill you up without adding a lot of calories. Just drinking water isn’t enough. It will quench your thirst but not sate your hunger.

You can eat lots of foods with filling fiber, along with adequate portions of lean protein and some healthy fats from fish and other sources. Of course, energy-dense foods — like sweets, fats, and alcohol — are still allowed. You just have to eat them sparingly.

While the hook of Volumetrics is clever, it essentially boils down to the sensible diet that any nutritionist would recommend: lower-calories, lower-fat, with lots of vegetables and fruits.

Sources: Feinberg North Western, Low Fat Cooking

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