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The Volumetrics Eating Plan by Barbara Rolls

Techniques and Recipes for Feeling Fuller on Fewer Calories

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One of the main reasons people ditch diets is the lingering sensation of hunger. Barbara Rolls, a nutritionist at Pennsylvania State University, and a leading authority on weight management, tells us to stop dieting and to start choosing foods that control hunger. She explains in her book, “The Volumetrics Eating Plan,” how it is possible to feel fuller by eating fewer calories. Sounds too good to be true? Not at all.
The key to Volumetrics is figuring out the energy density of foods. Energy density is simply the concentration of calories in a given weight (serving size) of food. At 9 calories per gram, fat is the most energy-dense of all—-more than twice as dense as carbohydrates or protein.

You can work out the energy density of any given food by dividing the number of calories by the number of grams. To use two of Dr. Rolls’ examples, if a 28g serving of a reduced-fat cheese stick is worth 60 calories, its energy density would be 2.1 (60 divided by 28). A 33g serving of salsa worth 15 calories yields an energy density of less than 1 (15 divided by 33). The lower the number, the better the food, and the more of it you can consume without gaining weight. A food that is high in energy density has a large number of calories in a small amount of food. A food that has a low energy density has fewer calories for the same weight of food. Dr. Rolls says that this matters because we tend to eat roughly the same weight of food each day, regardless of the number of calories. If we can choose foods that offer fewer calories for the same amount of food, we will be able to manage our weight more effectively without going hungry. (see more below ...)

Would we feel fuller on 2 cups of grapes or 1/4 cup of raisins? One is simply a dried version of the other. They are worth the same number of calories (about 100 calories) but see how many more grapes you can eat? Water has weight but no calories. As a rule of thumb, the higher the moisture content of a given food, the lower its energy density, and the more of it you can eat. You will also feel fuller for longer after consuming it. This explains why people who begin their meals with either a salad or soup go on to consume fewer calories over the course of a meal. They become satisfied sooner.

Dr. Rolls explains these principles clearly, offering plenty of examples and advice on substitutions, food group by food group, course by course. Her approach is always positive, focusing on what we can eat rather than on what we should give up. Her advice meshes well with the government’s new dietary guidelines published in January 2005: eat more whole grains, more fruits and vegetables, less fat and fewer refined carbohydrates.

Recognizing that people lead busy lives, she offers 125 quick and easy recipes, including techniques on modifying recipes to include more volumetric foods. Many of her recipes have visual comparisons between a traditional serving of a food or dish and the new, improved volumetric version, which is always bigger. If seeing is believing, then this should persuade us of the merits of the volumetric approach. This book should appeal to anyone trying to manage their weight. It’s a sensible, satisfying and sustainable way of eating.

Published by HarperCollins (ISBN 0-06-07373729-8)

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 5 out of 5
Clarification, Member reallifecom

About protein: Dr. Rolls does point out in her book The Volumetrics Eating Plan that research shows that protein-rich foods tend to be more satiating than foods of similar calorie content that contain less protein. ----- About gluttony: With Volumetrics, a person eating the healthy food options recommended by Volumetrics will be free to eat larger quantities of food than they were eating apart from Volumetrics, but, that food will contain less overall calories than a smaller amount of non-Volumetric food. Since there is no glory in eating larger or smaller amounts of food, rather, it is the caloric and nutritional content that alone matter, the quantity of food issue is a moot point. ----- Volumetrics is the healthiest eating plan you will find. It's really not ""Volumetrics"" at all, but just basic good healthy eating practices. It offers a way to cut cravings *clean*, while at the same time providing an eating lifestyle that circumvents fad diets and the whole fast food, processed meal-options circus that seems to be everywhere today. There is absolutely nothing harmful about it, and it cuts cravings. I've lost 53 lbs on it, and am healthy. It works.

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