Think about meals that you really enjoy. They have some common characteristics. A meal that satisfies will have wonderful aromas, colorful ingredients, and taste really good. A full meal will include a variety of tastes and have enough volume to satisfy and make you pleasantly full.
The problem we have in our modern society is a meal like this will likely have a huge amount of processed content. Content that tends to have a lot of fat, sugar, and highly refined carbohydrates. The average fast food combo is a calorie nightmare with many popular meals coming in over 1000 calories.
This is slightly better than the average restaurant meal, that is super sized with huge portions, and contains huge amounts of fat and sugar. It’s not uncommon to have meals top 1500 to 2000 calories in one sitting. Add in that huge chocolate dessert and you may tip the scales at 3000 calories. Multiply this by three meals a day and you really have a problem… (not to mention those Grandé Starbuck’s lattés at 500-600 calories apiece)
The average sized person should have 2000-2500 calories a day to be healthy and maintain weight. Men tend to carry more muscle so they will usually burn more calories than women. With this in mind, you can see how easy it is to overeat, with one meal possibly containing all the calories you need for a whole day. It takes just 3500 excess calories to gain a pound of weight.
So what can we do to have satisfying meals and not feel deprived and be hungry all the time?
Enter Volumetrics, a fantastic eating plan based around the principle of energy density in food. Energy density is simply the amount of calories per gram of food. For the same calories, you can eat a larger portion of lower-energy density food. By adding low density vegetables, high fiber and water-packed ingredients, as well as lowering the fat content of a favorite dish, you can create low calorie meals and keep the basic taste you enjoy.
As an example, Raisins are dried grapes. 100 calories worth of raisins fill only one-quarter cup, while 100 calories of fresh, whole grapes fill one and two-thirds cups. You’ll feel satisfied after one and two-thirds cups of grapes, but if you’re eating raisins, you’re likely to keep filling your mouth.
Barbara Rolls Phd, is the creator of this program and has written two popular books on the subject that can help you create tasty and fully satisfying low calorie meals with just minor changes. Her latest book, The Volumetrics Eating Plan, gives you the complete science behind the program. She takes you inside her food lab and shows you the results of her extensive experiments.
I found this book fascinating and also very enlightening. Her research shows that the average person will tend to eat the same volume of food whether it is high or low density. Create low density meals and you’ll feel satisfied without gaining weight.
Her research is very complete and she backs it up with practical and easy to make recipes. She also offers strategies for eating out at restaurants and also acceptable fast food choices. While much of her content is common sense, some of her findings really explain why we have an epidemic of obesity in the United States.
Her original paperback focused directly on weight loss. Called The Volumetrics Weight Control Program, this book is a diet focused version of her program and offers straight forward recipes and strategies to help you lose weight and keep it off… effortlessly.
Her books have received rave reviews and will make a great addition to your diet and fitness library. I have taken many of her low density meals and added them to my weight loss strategy. It is really easy to “tune” your daily calorie intake with her plan. Her meal plan choices are arranged in 400 and 500 calorie segments which make them easy to calculate and follow.
Her audio book is available on CD and is a great way to learn about her plan while driving or commuting. Her accompanying diet PDF has her meal plans that you can view on your computer and then print out. I was pleasantly surprised how interesting the audio was. I would highly recommend the audio book version if you are pressed for time or have a long commute.
This plan has helped me take my Nutritional Tuning idea to a new level. Either of these books with their extensive recipe lists will make a great addition to a complete fitness plan such as 5 Factor Fitness or Body for Life. All of her recipes have a food density listing which makes it extremely easy to get filled up without the calories.
Her soup recipe modifications make the point. She has pictures of a standard soup and one that has been modified with lower density ingredients. It’s easy to see that you’ll have a much better bowl of soup for the same calories with just some simple modifications.
I think I’m going to make some soup…. 🙂