Volumetrics is a system that was conceived by nutritionist Barbara Rolls. It is ranked the #6 best diet by the U.S. News & World Report (1). Unlike other diets, Volumetrics is really more an approach to eating more nutritionally than a true diet.

The Volumetrics diet has a strong basic but strong selling point that surrounds the idea of while losing weight; you can eat MORE instead of less. There is no major focus on counting calories, or eating the right percentage of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

It is not the first diet claiming to be motivated by the idea that many fail on other diets because they are just too difficult and unpleasant to maintain.

The basis behind the diet is eating foods that are low in calories and in amounts that keep you happy and satisfied. In this way, it sounds like the selling point behind the diet has some merit to it. But just how satisfying and palatable are the foods on offer?

Energy Density

The energy density of a food refers to the number of calories it contains. The foods that are encouraged in this diet have low energy densities which contain few calories. These foods include non-starchy vegetables, nonfat milk and soup broths. Basically, a majority of the foods recommended in this diet have high water content, the list is long. Some examples of vegetables that fit into the list are alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, onions, tomatoes and zucchini. It is also suggested to eat lean meat and products with plenty of fiber since fiber is filling. Good fats of course are necessary for a healthy diet and it suggests that you get your fix of these and eat fats of the bad variety in smaller amounts.

The diet has a lot of tips on how to eliminate the bad things from your diet, quite general common ideas. It also includes recipes that contain low density energy foods. However, it is worth noting that though these foods allow you to have increased serving amounts to fill you up, they are generally foods with high water content and could leave you feeling hungry not too long afterwards.

Why not this diet?

Barbara Rolls herself says that the diet isn't appropriate for everyone as eating in excess to be full isn't the only reason people overeat and a range of other psychological reasons can come into play e.g. to combat boredom. That combined with the fact that some people may not find this diet satisfying or filling at all.

The convenience factor involved in the Volumetrics diet isn't all that high. Not many people have the time or the motivation to buy and prepare fresh fruit, vegetables and home cooked meals in general. For many, this is a major lifestyle reason why their diets aren’t like this to begin with.


When it boils down to it, the whole idea of eating more to lose weight is an optimistic; "glass is half full" way of selling this diet. Volumetrics, like many other diets, is about eating a well balanced diet consisting of all the good wholesome things that are good for your body and restricting the long list of bad things that are not.

It does seem like a very healthy, well balanced approach but doesn't provide the easy, quick fix, ground breaking techniques that many people are looking for. However, if you’re willing to put in a bit of effort and are happy to look at healthier and still potentially satisfying options for food, then this diet is a much healthier gimmick free (other then the selling point of eating more) way of losing those pounds.

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