Can Volumetrics Help You Eat to Feel Satisfied and Lose Weight?
What makes weight loss so hard? One word: hunger. So, how do you stay satisfied with fewer calories so you can keep losing weight? Let’s see if we can use “volumetrics” to manage hunger.
As the first few pounds start to melt away, you’ll come face to face with a growling contender that threatens to throw you out of the weight-loss ring. Hunger is your body fighting hard to keep you at a weight it’s used to. Slashing portions, choosing healthier foods, and increasing exercise can kick cravings into overdrive.
What Is “Volumetrics” and Can It Help You Lose Weight?
Eating more while still losing weight may sound like a desirable superpower, especially if you’ve struggled with weight loss most of your life. It may even seem counter-intuitive, as generally we’re taught that to lose weight, you need to eat less. Nutrition scientist and author, Dr. Barbara Rolls, promises in three of her bestselling books, that eating more can lead to weight loss, which promotes the “volumetrics” eating plan.
At first glance, it may sound like a new-fangled technique, but it’s quite simple. The eating plan helps you feel satisfied with fewer calories by encouraging foods with low-calorie density.
Foods with low-calorie density have fewer calories for any given volume, so fewer calories per bite. Would you rather eat three apples or one slice of apple pie? Better question: Given that each scenario is roughly 300 calories, which one would make you feel fuller?
In this case, go with the apples! Low-calorie density foods (such as apples) are higher in fiber and water. When foods are high in fiber, you can eat more in volume for a similar amount of calories (compared to a lower calorie density food).
While low-density foods vary in nutrient density, they’re similar in that they take up more space in your stomach than foods with higher caloric densities. Some examples of low-calorie density foods are:
- Vegetables, especially non-starchy ones (think: artichokes, broccoli, and celery)
- Lean proteins (such as white meat poultry and low-fat dairy)
- Whole grains
Volumetrics is a fancy way to convince you that you should eat more fruits, veggies, beans, and whole grains (as if you needed another reason!).
On the flip side, the volumetrics eating plan encourages cutting back on foods with a high caloric density. Naturally, these foods are high in fat, sugar, or both. They include refined carbohydrates (bread, candies, cookies), cheese, higher-fat meats (salami, bacon), nuts, full-fat dairy, and oils (but don’t out fat entirely; see #7 below). Some foods on the ever-popular Mediterranean diet are encouraged, including fish/seafood, whole grains, and produce.
Pros and Cons Of The Volumetric Diet
Studies suggest that your total daily calorie intake is significantly less when you eat foods that are low in energy density than those with a high energy density.
As mentioned before, foods low in energy density are high in fiber and water. There’s evidence to say that fiber helps you feel fuller faster, and keeps you satiated long after you eat.
Volumetrics isn’t as extreme as the currently trending keto diet, which cuts out many food groups. Adding more voluminous foods to your meal plan is much smaller of a life shift than other extreme diets. The volumetric diet isn’t a fad diet. The volumetrics diet doesn’t require adding typical “diet” foods like grapefruit or rice cakes to your meals.
Furthermore, the idea that eating food with high water content can lead to greater satiation doesn’t hold up completely. A small study found that water incorporated into food (like a can of soup) helped subjects eat less, but only if that same amount of water wasn’t served in a glass on the side. Strange, but not surprising since hunger and satiety are complex states influenced by more than just physiology.
Also, because this isn’t a popular fad diet, you may have some difficulty finding the online support system that many dieters seek and find comforting.
Overall, volumetrics is built on sound science to help you deal with physiological hunger during weight loss. And, you don’t have to understand rocket science to apply it.
Tricks to Eat to Feel Satisfied on Fewer Calories
Volumetrics is one strategy to help you visualize healthy eating. In the methods below, we married volumetrics with more satiety science to help you manage hunger successfully and keep the pounds off.
1. Order low-calorie appetizers.
Before the hearty main dish arrives, start filling up on an appetizer that is low in calories, such as a side salad (choose a light vinaigrette and use sparingly) or lettuce cups. When you fill-up on low-calories appetizers, you will curb hunger so that you can enjoy the main dish at a slower, more mindful pace. Eating slowly and taking more bites gives your body time to process the food, so you’re able to eat less but enjoy the meal more.
2. Sneak vegetables into meals.
You know the drill: Add broccoli to your mac and cheese, slip greens in wraps, and bake zucchini into fries. A sneakier way to do this: Puree vegetables and add them to soups, casseroles, and meat dishes. Add pureed squash to pasta sauce, bulk up meatloaf with shredded zucchini, use pureed carrots to thicken the chili. The possibilities are endless!
3. Prioritize fruit consumption in this order: whole fruit, smoothies, juice.
Whole fruit is the best pick to capitalize on volumetrics. Not only is the fiber intact, but you’re also getting plenty of calorie-free water when you feast on the fresh stuff. Smoothies trump juices because they preserve valuable fiber.
4. Start your morning with a high-fiber breakfast.
Swap out sugary breakfast cereals for whole-grain versions that contain more fiber. Flip to the back of the box and look for a cereal that contains more than five grams of fiber and less than five grams of sugar per serving. Not a cereal fan? Enjoy whole grains such as oats and amaranth, or sneak in whole-wheat toast or English muffins.
5. Practice low-fat cooking techniques.
The volumetrics eating plan encourages you to eat less fat since it’s high in caloric density. After all, there are nine calories in one gram of fat, compared to four calories in one gram of carbohydrate or protein. Low-fat cooking techniques such as grilling, roasting, baking, poaching, sauteing, and steaming helps you slash fat from cooking.
6. Enjoy healthy fats here and there.
Fat is satiating in its own right even if it doesn’t help with the volumetrics of food. Fat can make food more appealing, but the key is not to overeat them. Instead, indulge moderately in healthy fats from avocado, salmon, nuts, seeds, and plant-based oils.
7. Eat lean protein at each meal.
Lean protein from either animal or plant-based sources can help you get closer to your weight-loss goals. Protein is a triple-threat macronutrient for weight watchers: 1) It may increase satiety more than carbs or fat. 2) You use up more energy to process proteinthan carbs or fat. 3) Protein helps you maintain lean muscle mass, which can be a metabolic boon. Bonus points for cooking up the lean protein with a low-fat cooking technique!
Still not convinced that volumetrics would be the most successful weight loss diet you could try? Check out our guide to finding the right diet plan for you.