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The Volumetrics Weight Control Plan is a diet program derived, in large part, from research on the energy density of foods. It also highlights the concept of increasing satiety, or feeling full, by choosing certain foods over others. Many people might be attracted to this plan by the claim that they can eat more and weigh less by counting calories. Yet the plan's focus is not on dieting in order to lose weight quickly. Unlike some other calorie-reduction diet plans, the Volumetrics program emphasizes long-term lifestyle changes.
Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., a nutritionist and professor at Pennsylvania State University, created the plan. Dr. Rolls is the author of the books, The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan and The Volumetrics Eating Plan. In them, she explains that energy density is the concentration of calories in a portion of food. Generally speaking, foods with higher energy densities should be avoided.
A popular example of a dense food compared to less dense food is illustrated by examining grapes versus raisins. Although these appear to be basically the same food, a grape’s water content is higher and its energy density is lower than that of a raisin. Therefore, someone can eat either two cups (453.6 grams) of grapes, or one-quarter cup (57 grams) of raisins for the same 100 calories.
Starchy and high-fat foods also tend to have relatively high energy densities. The Volumetrics Weight Control Plan recommends that dieters focus on consuming more low fat and nonfat foods, as well as those with a high fiber or water content. Reducing overall sugar intake is another recommended step in the Volumetrics diet plan. Following these suggestions might help a person feel satiated sooner, even though he or she might actually be consuming fewer calories than normal.
Compared to some other diet plans, the Volumetrics Weight Control Plan has several perceived advantages. The program is generally respected among many diet experts because of Dr. Rolls’ scientific background and years of experience. Also, most of her recipes incorporate fresh, nutrient-rich foods, like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. In addition, the plan does not promise drastic or immediate results. Rather, it suggests a sensible weight loss of approximately one to two pounds (about 0.5 to 0.9 kg) per week. It also encourages dieters to include some exercise in their weight loss plans.
For many people, however, it may take some time to become accustomed to counting calories and keeping track of their daily food intake. Another potential disadvantage of the Volumetrics Weight Control Plan is that someone might consider it expensive. In order to make the suggested recipes, for example, a person may have to buy more fresh produce, more often than usual. Very few processed or convenience foods are included in the plan. Also, many of the program’s recipes are meant to be prepared at home, so someone without the time or inclination to cook his or her meals from scratch may find the plan difficult to follow.