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Stuff Yourself Thin with Volumetrics

“Volumetrics” is a fancy name for a simple, healthy and effective approach to weight loss. It’s about choosing more high-volume, high-fiber, high-water content foods — like fruits and vegetables — and fewer energy-dense foods that pack lots of calories into little packages (think butter, sugar and junk food). Because foods in the former category also happen to be packed with lots of nutrients, and those in the latter tend toward empty calories and excess salt, getting into this kind of eating habit will not only help you lose weight, but lower disease risk as well.

US News & World Report devoted a recent cover to the Volumetrics trend, as have dozens of other magazines and newspapers. At the center of the story is Barbara Rolls, professor of nutrition at Penn State, who was among the first to notice that humans eat about the same weight or volume of food every day (approximately 3 lbs.).

According to Rolls, fullness “is the missing ingredient in weight management,” and she’s impatient with those who say the nation’s obesity epidemic can be reversed by “telling people to eat less. People need to eat more low-energy-dense food, such as fruits and vegetables, so they get a satisfying amount of food and enough calories.”

Rolls put her theories to the test in a study of nearly 100 obese women, divided into a “volumetrics” group, encouraged to eat more fruits, vegetables, soups, whole grains, etc. and another group told to cut back on portion size. The volumetrics group ate more food — by weight — yet ended up losing 33% more weight (average of 20 pounds).

To see a video demonstration of the volumetric approach to food choices, tune in to Eat More, Weigh Less on Dole TV.

Published April 4, 2005

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