"The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet: Smart, Simple, Science-Based Strategies for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off," is a guide to what is popularly called the Volumetrics Eating Plan. Experts and consumers praise its sensible, sustainable approach to dieting, saying it encourages the type of lifestyle that'll keep the weight off long term. Readers are pleased with the focus on satiety. Several other diets use the Volumetrics approach in their meal planning, including Jenny Craig.
Learn to make smarter choices. The Volumetrics Eating Plan encourages you to swap high-density foods (which tend to be high in calories) for low-density foods that have fewer calories but more bulk. It's based on extensive nutritional research done by its creator Barbara Rolls, Ph.D, the endowed Guthrie Chair in Nutritional Sciences at Penn State University. Several studies indicate that this type of low-density, high-water content diet results in more substantial weight loss than traditional low-fat diets. Book reviewers who tried the strategies laid forth by Rolls said it was highly effective, both for short-term weight loss and long-term maintenance.
Makes you feel full. One of the biggest challenges with sticking to any diet is the hunger factor; it's this variable that the Volumetrics Eating Plan tries to address. Instead of asking the dieter to eat less, it encourages larger portions of less-calorie-dense foods. The idea is that you will feel full after eating fewer total calories and stay feeling full longer so you're not tempted to snack. Photos in the book showing contrasting but similar meals of low- and high-density foods illustrate the theory very effectively. However, at least one expert worries that the feeling of fullness may not last as long as the author suggests. Most consumer-reviewers say this book has helped them learn how to make better choices overall.
Cooking isn't optional. Although you don't have to be a gourmet chef, experts and user-reviewers say there's no avoiding the kitchen or the grocery store with the Volumetrics Eating Plan. The author tries to make those chores easier by including menu plans and shopping lists. Most reviewers agree that the recipes are easy to follow, but some say the prep work can be time-consuming. On the plus side, you don't have to count calories -- foods are categorized by their density -- all you have to do is choose what to eat within the proper category. There are also strategies included for eating out and quick meal prep.
You're on your own. There are no support groups, online or otherwise, with the Volumetrics Eating Plan. These are dietary changes you make on your own using a book, which requires a low initial investment. The most recent edition is called "The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet: Smart, Simple, Science-Based Strategies for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off." There are no prepackaged meals required. Some experts have expressed concern about the lack of a formal exercise component; the author merely encourages physical activity. And, since some people eat for reasons other than hunger, other experts point out that this plan may not be the best choice for emotional eaters.
1. U.S. News & World Report
Angela Haupt offers a thorough overview of the Volumetrics Diet. U.S. News & World Report's annual roundup of the best diets names Volumetrics sixth out of 28 in the ranking of best diets, fifth in weight loss diets.
Review: Volumetrics Diet, Angela Haupt, Jan. 2, 2013
2. The Daily Beast
By analyzing clinical studies and published research, The Daily Beast chooses the best diets for both short- and long-term weight loss. They also assign points (or not) for promoting cardiovascular health and diabetes control. Volumetrics comes out on top, but there's no in-depth discussion of the diet.
Review: 14 Best Diets for 2013: See What Topped Weight Watchers, Lauren Streib, December 2012
WebMD.com praises the author's "excellent credentials" and consults three nutritionists for their opinions. Two like Volumetrics -- one describes the plan as "a slam dunk" -- but the third says those who struggle with overeating might not be able to use the diet on their own.
Review: Volumetrics, Editors of WebMD.com, As of November 2012
4. Health Magazine
Health magazine praises Volumetrics as one of the top 10 healthiest diet plans, noting that wanting to feel full is a "fundamental human quality." Of the diets compared, Volumetrics scores the highest for a safe rate of weight loss and its focus on sound nutrition. One judge likes the way the author displays photos of low- and high-density foods side by side.
Review: The Volumetrics Eating Plan, Editors of Health magazine, Dec. 16, 2008
In this latest version of Barbara Roll's original book, more than 40 reviewers give it an overall rating of 4.3 stars out of 5. Most say it has helped them make smarter food choices. The lower ratings do not have a unifying theme, and several come from people who bought the book, but didn't try the diet.
Review: The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet: Smart, Simple, Science-Based Strategies for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of December 2013