The dreaded diet has long been defined by cutting back on food intake so that we eat fewer calories and lose more weight. However, the concept of Volumetrics, developed by Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., suggests that we can actually eat more food, and still lose weight. This idea may sound completely backwards, but the diet is based on choosing foods that are lower in caloric density. This enables one to eat larger volumes of low calorie foods, while staying within one’s calorie allotment. Sounds great, right? Check out these tips for putting the concept of Volumetrics into practice:
- Add Liquids: Adding water or broth to foods instantly increases volume, without boosting the calories. A half of a cup of vegetables may not seem like a very satisfying snack, but when you add a cup or water or broth it suddenly becomes vegetable soup. One study in Obesity Research demonstrated that women who consumed two servings of low calorie soup daily for a year actually ended up losing 50% more weight than women who ate the same amount of calories in an energy-dense snack.
- Pack in the Veggies: Vegetables are a great source of that magic nutrient known as fiber. Fiber is extremely beneficial when losing weight, because the body is unable to fully digest it, meaning that fewer calories are absorbed. Researchers in South Korea tested this idea by feeding women one of two plates of equal volume: one containing only white rice, and one containing white rice with vegetables. The result? Women who ate the plate consisting of white rice and vegetables ended up consuming 41% fewer calories and felt more satisfied than the group who ate only white rice.
- Puff it up with Air: Adding air to foods expands the volume, which tricks the brain into thinking that it’s eating more food because of the increase in size. Researchers at Penn State demonstrated this concept by feeding groups two similar-sized snacks: one with original calorie dense Cheetos, and the other with more voluminous Cheetos Puffs. The group that ate the puffs consumed 73% more volume and 70 fewer calories.
- Add a Serving of Salad: Including a side salad with your meal allows you to eat more food without packing in extra calories. For best results, keep it simple with veggies and leafy greens and limit adding in nuts, seeds and cheese. If you decide to make your salad your main course, opt for lean protein additions such as boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled shrimp or salmon, tofu, or beans to help you feel more satisfied.
- Keep Fat In-Check: One bite of fat contains double the calories of one bite of carbs or protein, which adds up quickly! Keep an eye on fat content by choosing lower-fat options of your favorite foods, such as lean cuts of beef, skinless poultry, low or non-fat dairy products, and always trim excess fat from meat before cooking.