What is the Volumetrics Diet and Why Do Millennials Love it

Updated on April 30th, 2020
Volumetrics diet

Dr. Barbara Rolls, a nutritionist at Penn State University, developed a volumetrics diet with the objective of developing a dietary strategy that puts its emphasis on creating a healthy eating pattern without any food consumption restriction.

There is a volumetrics book series on this diet that focuses on nutrition density and energy density. According to the books, foods with low energy density have few calorie contents, whereas foods with high density contain higher calories in each portion. And it also says that food items that are nutrient-dense have higher nutrient content compared to calories, and most of the time, they don’t contain any added sugars, sodium, or saturated fat.

Basically, the volumetrics diet is a specific strategy of eating habits that emphasize consuming high nutrition-dense foods such as vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and fruits, and low energy-dense foods.

Benefits of Volumetrics Diet

1. Sustainable Food Habits

The volumetrics dieting plan has science backing its strategy, and that is why the plan has several health benefits. This diet is more about sustainable and healthy food habits rather than any food restriction.

2. Helps with Cardiovascular Diseases

Research suggests that the volumetrics diet can help them in cardiovascular diseases as a low energy density diet contains fewer calories. (1)

Type 2 diabetes, as the food items mentioned in the volumetrics diet, does not contain any processed sugar or excessive glucose that can have the potential to increase the blood sugar level. Consuming low energy density food can help prevent post-menopause breast cancer.

3. Assists in Weight Loss

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It is also one of the best diets for weight loss. According to several scientific research, it has been suggested that maintaining a healthy food diet without any additives and processed sugar, also consuming lower amounts of energy-dense food can help maintain the proper body weight, eliminating the excess fat buildup.

The ultimate volumetrics diet plan is consuming food items mentioned in groups 1 and 2 for substance and energy, whereas keeping aside the food items mentioned in groups 3 and 4 for cheat days, once a week.

4. Volumetrics Diet plan

The volumetric diets focus on what kind of foods to consume rather than eliminating certain groups of food items. The psychology of this diet is more about what should be consumed.

This diet divides food into 4 groups of diet plan and proportion control

Group 1: The food items included in this group are non-starchy vegetables and fruits, along with nonfat dairy and thin broth-based soup.

Group 2: The food items included in this group are whole grains, low-fat meat, low-fat mixed dishes, breakfast cereal, starchy vegetables, and fruits.

Group 3: The food items included in this group are Pizza, cheese, meat, salad dressing, pretzels, bread, ice cream, cake, and several other similar food items.

Group 4: The food items included in this group are chips, crackers, chocolates, candies, oil, butter, nuts, and cookies

These are specific group portions. Group 1 is considered foods of high nutrient and low energy density. So low calories and are free to be consumed at all times. Whereas, the food energy density increases are of groups 2, 3, & 4. So the portion size should be controlled while consuming these groups of foods to avoid excessive energy intake.

The portion division isn’t similar for everyone; it depends on individuals, muscle density, and body weight. Along with this, the volumetrics diet also suggests exercising 30 minutes every day to eliminate any energy intake due to the consumption of food items mentioned in groups 2, 3, and 4.

What Foods Can Be Eaten and What Foods to Avoid?

Volumetrics diet plan is really a strategy or meal plan that you should opt to stay healthy. A diet does not entirely restrict you from consuming any food group but teaches you how to consume all the foods you want and also maintain good health.

But there are certain suggestions in the volumetrics diet books, such as it recommends food items with high water content and low energy density, high nutrient density, and high fiber. Food items such as fresh fruits (Refrain from consuming fruit juice or dried fruit), low-fat dairy, frozen, or fresh vegetables are helpful.

Additionally, food items such as pasta, legumes, beans, fiber-rich breakfast cereal, low-fat fish, lean meat, poultry without skin or fat, and whole grains are also beneficial. You can consume food items, such as low-fat yogurt, roasted or grilled meat, steamed veggies, grilled fish, and quinoa in larger quantities while following the volumetrics diet plan.

Although this diet plan does not restrict any food item, it obviously mentions the proportion, decreasing, especially the food items mentioned in groups 3 and 4, as they have high energy density and low nutrient density. It also mentions to avoid any processed food items and stick to cooking food at home with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Risks and Side Effects

Even though the volumetrics diet is quite helpful, it still has certain drawbacks. It mentions the low consumption of seeds and nuts as they are energy-dense. But research suggests that the human body gains Omega 3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fat from both nuts and seeds, which is beneficial for cognitive health and cardiovascular issues.

The volumetrics diet does not exactly have a meal plan for any rigid restriction, which, even though is a good thing, can become a problem for people trying to follow a strict diet plan. Also, the low-density food with high water content keeps you full for the time being, not for a long period of time compared to the higher density foods.


The Volumetrics diet is one of the best-known weight loss programs as it helps eliminate all processed foods from your general diet. It suggests mainly to consume organic and whole foods that are good for the body.

But it’s necessary to consult a dietician or a nutritionist before following the volumetrics diet so that you can get the actual food items that you should and shouldn’t eat during the diet along with their proportions. Volumetrics diet is one of the top weight loss diets as it regularly maintains the calorie intake and general food consumption is very calculated.


1. Can there be a cheat day of consuming processed food?

Yes, but in absolutely minimal proportions. You can consume the food items mentioned in groups 3 and 4 but in controlled proportions. Try to avoid them at the beginning of this diet, if possible.

2. How much sugar can be consumed while following this diet?

The volumetrics diet advice to avoid consuming sugar and sugar content foods and drinks.

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