Lose weight and eat more healthy, low energy density foods

Lose weight and eat more healthy, low energy density foods

Another day, another diet… But before you roll your eyes, let me tell you this one is rather sensible, and could pay off big time in the long run. 

It’s called the Volumetrics Diet. Here’s what you need to know.

What is the Volumetrics diet?

The basic premise of the Volumetrics Diet is that you focus on foods that have a low energy density – in other words, foods you can eat a lot of for little kilojoule cost (think: non-starchy veg, lean protein and wholegrains). At the same time, you try to eat less energy-dense foods (i.e. foods that contain a stack of kilojoules in small portions like chocolate, biscuits and cake), and you should lose weight. See, I told you it was rational.

Pros and cons of the Volumetrics diet

Unlike most silly fads, I love that the Volumetrics diet includes all food groups: fruit and veg, protein, dairy (mostly reduced fat) and grains (particularly wholegrains). This combination of foods is actually recommended by the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which are backed by a raft of sound scientific research – so I’m all for it.

If weight loss is your goal, I’d bet my bottom dollar you’d see results with the Volumetrics diet. As a dietitian, reducing energy density is one of the key strategies I use to help my clients lose weight. The best part? By focusing on high-fibre, protein-rich foods, you’ll stay full and satisfied throughout the day (read: less likely to reach for the biscuit jar come 3pm).

Another bonus of the Volumetrics Diet is that there are no ‘forbidden foods’. Carbs, chocolate and ice cream are all on the menu – you’re simply encouraged to be sensible with portion size, because they contain a hefty dose of kilojoules. Again, it’s just sensible advice.

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The Volumetrics Diet plan also encourages movement, which earns it another gold star. That’s because being physically active is essential for overall good health (not just helping you fit into your favourite pair of skinny jeans). Engaging in a regular sweat sesh can do everything from reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, to improve your mood and help you sleep better.

But (you knew there’d be a ‘but’, didn’t you…), it’s not all sunshine and daisies. Despite the positives, there’s one problem I need to draw your attention to. The Volumetrics Diet is sold as a 12-week program, which is one of my pet peeves when it comes to the world of dieting. Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, a healthy lifestyle, body and mindset cannot come to fruition in a (relatively) short time frame, either. There’s no such thing as a quick fix – you’ll need to stick to it far longer than the initial 12 weeks to see long-term results.

The verdict

Overall, I’m surprised to say that I’m actually in favour of the Volumetrics Diet. It promotes a sensible way of eating that isn’t overly restrictive, and encourages you to be physically active, too. What’s far more important than nailing this 12-week diet, however, is that you stick to its basic principles in the long term: choose nutritious core foods most of the time, and enjoy energy-dense, nutrient poor foods only occasionally (and in moderation, of course).

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can connect with her at www.honestnutrition.com.au or on Instagram @honest_nutrition.