A bowl of green beans.
Some foods in the volumetrics diet include vegetables, beans, and legumes.

Everything You Need to Know About the Volumetrics Diet

There is no shortage of diets or eating plans to help you lose weight, lower cholesterol, or build muscle. One diet you may not have heard about is the volumetrics diet. The article below takes a look at what the volumetrics diet involves, foods to eat, and who it may be recommended for. Keep reading to learn more about this diet and decide if it is right for you.

What is the Volumetrics Diet?

The volumetrics diet encourages eating foods that are low in calories and nutritionally dense. While the diet also recommends limiting foods that are high in calories, the benefit of the volumetrics diet is that it may help you lose weight by eating foods that are low in calories but help you feel full. If you feel full, you will likely eat fewer calories.

Some other diets fail because they leave someone feeling hungry, or they completely eliminate certain food groups. These types of diets are not sustainable in the long run. When an individual returns back to their previous eating habits, they may gain back any weight they have lost.

The volumetric diet is used to prevent feelings of hunger. Because someone is not feeling hungry and no food is specifically off-limits, it may be easier to stick with.

The diet involves grouping foods into four different categories depending on their calorie density. Foods that are calorie-dense are high in the number of calories and often low in nutrients. Food that is nutritionally dense is high in nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, and lower in calories.

Volumetric groups include:

  • Category 1: This is very low-calorie dense foods, such as veggies and some fruits.
  • Category 2: Category 2 foods are low in calorie density and include grains, fish, low-fat meat, and fruit.
  • Category 3: This includes medium-calorie dense foods, such as higher-fat meats, bread, and deserts.
  • Category 4: Category 4 foods are high-calorie dense foods, such as cakes, chips, and cookies.

The volumetric diet plan does not involve completely cutting out any category of food, but it does involve eating most of your calories from foods in categories 1 and 2, which are nutritionally dense. Although you can still eat higher calorie-dense foods, they should be in limited amounts.

Foods that have a high water content, such as spinach, usually are low in calorie density, but the food that is high in calories and often low in nutrients is considered calorie-dense food.

Who is It Recommended For?

The volumetrics diet may be recommended for anyone that wants to lose weight. A study in the Journal of Nutrition involved 96 women over 12 weeks. The women were all overweight or obese. The study found that by eating meals that had lower calorie density, the women had reduced food cravings, less hunger, and increased feelings of fullness.

Implementing the volumetric diet may also be beneficial to people with certain medical conditions to lose weight. For example, losing weight may be helpful for people with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obstructive sleep apnea.

Since the diet involves eating foods that are high in nutrients, it can be a healthy choice even for people who do not want to lose weight.

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What Foods Are in the Volumetric Diet?

There are several types of foods that are in the volumetric diet, such as the following:

  • Fresh or frozen veggies, such as broccoli, spinach, and kale
  • Whole grains
  • Beans and legumes
  • Fresh fruits, such as berries, cantaloupe, and apples
  • Poultry without the skin, such as chicken
  • Lean meat
  • Low-fat fish
  • Water
  • Limited added sugar

What Foods Should Be Avoided?

There is no one food or group of foods that have to be completely eliminated with the volumetric diet. But certain foods that are calorie-dense should be eaten only in limited amounts, such as:

  • Nuts, including almonds, pecans, and walnuts
  • Oils, such as butter, margarine, and vegetable oil
  • Processed foods, such as crackers, cookies, and chips
  • Fast food
  • Cheese and high-fat dairy
  • Fried foods

The Benefits

There are several benefits to following the volumetric diet, including the following:

  • It can be effective for losing weight: Because you do not feel hungry, it may be easier to stick with the diet and lose weight.
  • Includes exercise: The volumetric diet also promotes exercise to get to and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Nutrient-dense: The diet includes lots of fresh fruit and veggies along with low-fat meat and fish. Eating this way provides key vitamins and minerals.
  • Does not eliminate an entire food group: If you follow the volumetric diet, you can still have a treat from time to time. The majority of the food you eat should be nutritionally dense. But you can still enjoy food that is calorie-dense on occasion. Because no food is eliminated, it may help someone stick to the volumetric way of eating in the long run.