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What Is the Volumetrics Diet?

What Is the Volumetrics Diet?

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    The Volumetrics Diet prioritizes eating foods high in fiber and water to promote feelings of fullness. These foods also have a low energy density, so they will maintain fullness while reducing calorie intake.

    This diet is championed by Dr. Barbara Rolls from Penn State University, a highly respected dietary expert. Her book, Ultimate Volumetrics Diet, is an essential reference for anyone starting the Volumetrics Diet.

    However, it is crucial to be conscious of nutrition, as many low-calorie foods may not provide all the nutrients the body needs.

    How the Volumetrics Diet Works


    • Prioritize low-calorie foods like vegetables, soups, and fruit.
    • Seek high-fiber foods to maintain fullness throughout the day.
    • Avoid calorie-dense foods like oils, processed foods, and nuts.
    • Aim to complete an average of 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day.
    • Drink plenty of water to aid feelings of fullness.

    The Diet Plan

    The Volumetrics Diet plan provides clear guidelines for the different food categories based on calorie density. Focus on nutrient-dense foods from groups one and two while heavily restricting groups three and four. The four groups are:

    Group One: Very low-calorie density: less than 0.6

    Group Two: Low-calorie density: 0.6-1.5

    Group Three: Medium calorie density: 1.6-3.9

    Group Four: High-calorie density: 4.0-9.0

    Here is a brief outline of what foods belong in the four categories:

    Group One

    Fruit like oranges, pears, and apples. Non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and carrots.

    Broth-based soups like spring vegetable and minestrone. Anything with high water content between 80-90%.

    Low-fat or nonfat dairy like skim milk, low-fat yogurts, and plant milk.

    Group Two

    Starchy fruits and vegetables like potatoes, corn, and parsnips; grains, breakfast cereals like whole grain oats; lean protein including low-fat meat and legumes.

    Group Three

    Refined pasta, bread, dessert, cheese, and meat with moderate fat content.

    Group Four

    Cookies, ice cream, nuts, fried food, dark chocolate, and salad dressing.

    Meals can be planned and prepared according to certain staple books on the subject, and these are necessary investments if the diet works out long term.

    Consider purchasing the well-known book, The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan, by Dr. Barbara Rolls, Ph.D. Providing in-depth research on the diet, it also outlines a diet plan and provides a range of helpful recipes. Another key book is The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet. The correct information for calculating calorie densities, working out portion sizes, and understanding the food groups is key to succeeding with this diet.


    The Volumetrics Diet plan can also prove cheaper than many other diets because nutrient-rich foods like olive oil, dark chocolate, and avocados can be expensive. By avoiding these foods, it is possible to save money. However, fruit and vegetables prices can vary, so always seek locally grown, in-season options for the lowest price.

    Dos and Don’ts


    • Seek high fiber foods with high water content
    • Keep track of calorie intake throughout the day with a food journal
    • Understand what foods fit into are low, medium, and high-density calorie groups
    • Drink plenty of water, ideally eight or more cups per day
    • Purchase well-known books on the diet to help with planning


    • Forget that a diet should provide all essential nutrients
    • Entirely cut out healthy fats
    • Forget that a diet needs to be well planned to work long term
    • Attempt the Volumetrics Diet without proper research and the right resources

    Sample Diet Plan

    Breakfast: Non-fat yogurt with seasonal berries

    Lunch: Celery soup with a small side salad

    Dinner: Whole grain pasta with lentils and side vegetables like broccoli

    Snack: Carrot sticks and hummus

    Health Benefits and Drawbacks


    • Sustainable weight loss
    • Bigger portions and fewer calories
    • Increased immunity from eating more fruits and vegetables
    • Fullness throughout the day
    • Encourages exercise

    The Volumetrics Diet eating plan has many potential benefits, like weight loss and overall healthier eating.

    See Also
    avocado, broccoli and vegetables on counter

    Eating healthier can help skin health, alleviate feelings of fatigue, and improve sleep.

    Fruits and vegetables are often high in nutrients. Adding more fruit and vegetables into any diet will provide nutritional benefits.

    Unlike many diets, the Volumetrics Diet does not focus on deprivation to achieve weight loss goals. Instead, the priority is to maintain fullness throughout the day, so few people will complain of hunger on this diet.

    The eating plan does not strictly forbid any foods; it is all about quantity. Adjust portions throughout the day to allow for small indulgences from groups 3 and 4.

    The Volumetrics Diet is considered more flexible than traditional dieting strategies.

    The Volumetrics Diet also prescribes increasing simple exercise like the number of steps achieved daily. This can have long-term health benefits in addition to weight loss, like improved heart health and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.


    Unless thoroughly researched and planned, the Volumetrics Diet can restrict essential food groups and lead to deficiencies.

    By limiting healthy fats, the body may not get the essential fatty acids required for basic function and brain health.

    This diet can also be time-intensive as it involves research, calorie counting, food preparation, and planning. This diet can be hard to maintain without plenty of time, space, and access to fresh produce, especially with a busy lifestyle.

    Some low-fat options have added sugar to improve taste, leading to weight gain. The low-fat options are not always the healthiest.

    The Bottom Line: Is the Volumetrics Diet a Healthy Way to Lose Weight?

    The Volumetrics Diet can help promote long-term weight loss, and it can also help with sustainable weight management.

    While potentially restricting the intake of healthy fats and cutting out nutrient-rich foods like nuts and seeds, the Volumetrics Diet can still provide a full range of nutrients. Focusing on satiety instead of deprivation, the goal is not undernourishment, which makes it easier for many people attempting to lose weight.

    Disclaimer: The information on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment before undertaking a new healthcare regimen.
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