Nutrition scientist Barbara Rolls, PhD, created the Volumetrics Diet in 2000 primarily based on years of analysis. The ensuing books — 4 of them, not together with updates and translations — have offered a whole bunch of hundreds of copies.

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Most eating regimen traits find yourself within the dustbin of historical past inside a number of years, however Volumetrics appears to be standing the check of time. It’s additionally gained the respect of many healthcare professionals. 

So, what precisely is the Volumetrics eating regimen?

The Volumetrics eating regimen

The primary precept of Volumetrics is that quantity issues. The plan establishes a unfastened ratio: No meals is off limits, however you wish to eat a lot bigger portions of sure sorts of meals than others. By filling up on low-calorie, wholesome meals, you don’t really feel as hungry as you could on different diets.

Dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, describes Volumetrics as “a very filling diet, mainly plant-based, that encourages you to eat very nutrient-dense, non-starchy vegetables that pack a lot of nutritional benefit.”

The 4 classes

The Volumetrics eating regimen breaks meals down into 4 classes. To decide which class a meals belongs in, you divide the variety of energy per serving by its weight in grams. The result’s a quantity between zero and 9.

If you’re making an attempt to drop some pounds on the Volumetrics eating regimen, you’re inspired to eat 1,400 energy a day. The majority of what you eat in a day ought to be coming from classes one and two, however occasional, small indulges from classes three and 4 are acceptable.

  1. Category one (calorie density beneath 0.6): This class of meals kinds the inspiration of your eating regimen. In different phrases, that is the stuff you replenish on. These meals — because of their excessive water content material — ought to provide help to really feel full. A couple of examples of class one meals are:
    • Fruits like bananas, apples and grapefruit.
    • Non-starchy greens like broccoli, carrots, beets and Brussels sprouts.
    • Nonfat dairy merchandise like nonfat yogurt or skim milk. (If you aren’t a dairy drinker, by no means worry: Most unsweetened milk substitutes additionally fall into this class.)
    • Broth-based soups of all kinds.
  2. Category two (calorie density 0.7 to 1.5): This class comprises meals which can be wholesome when consumed moderately. A couple of examples of class two meals are:
    • Skinless hen and turkey and lean cuts of pork or beef.
    • Legumes: lentils, chickpeas and dried beans.
    • Starchy greens: corn, potatoes and squash.
    • Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa and farro.
  3. Category three (calorie density 1.6 to three.9): This class comprises meals that, whereas nonetheless pretty wholesome, ought to solely be consumed in small parts. A couple of examples of class three meals are:
    • Fatty meat and fish, in addition to skin-on poultry.
    • Full-fat dairy merchandise resembling ice cream, cheese and entire milk.
    • Refined carbohydrates like pasta, white bread and white rice.
  4. Category 4 (calorie density 4 to 9): This class contains processed, sugary and fatty meals, which ought to be eaten very sparingly. A couple of examples of class 4 meals are:
    • Nuts and seeds.
    • Oils, butter and shortening.
    • Fast meals, sweet and chips.  

In addition to the dietary measures, the Volumetrics eating regimen recommends getting 30 to 60 minutes of train per day.

Pros and cons of the Volumetrics eating regimen

When it involves weight reduction and diet, one dimension doesn’t match all. Zumpano explains that selecting the eating regimen that’s best for you is a private course of.

“It’s affected by the foods you enjoy, and know that you can’t give up, food availability, and how motivated you are to make changes to your eating habits and food choices,” she says.

Here are some generally acknowledged advantages and disadvantages of the Volumetrics eating regimen:


  • Promotes long-term wholesome consuming. The Volumetrics eating regimen is designed to be sustainable and wholesome in the long run. It’s kind of a “come for the weight loss, stay for the health benefits” type of state of affairs.
  • Weight loss is long-term. Short-term diets usually trigger your weight to yo-yo backwards and forwards. Because the Volumetrics eating regimen is meant to be a everlasting way of life change, those that comply with the plan might drop some pounds a bit slower, however have shot at protecting it off.
  • No meals are “off-limits.” Go forward and have a small slice of birthday cake. If you’re craving pretzels, have some. While you must restrict the amount of class 4 meals you’re consuming, nothing is prohibited.
  • Accessible to everyone. Are you vegan? Do you retain kosher? Have you been recognized with celiac illness? That’s OK Because there aren’t any exhausting and quick restrictions within the Volumetrics eating regimen, you possibly can eat — or not eat — in keeping with your wants.
  • It’s protected! Volumetrics isn’t a fad eating regimen. It doesn’t ask you to take care of a dangerously high-calorie deficit, remove total classes of meals out of your eating regimen or domesticate a detrimental relationship with meals. You don’t should cook dinner separate meals for your self and your kids since you aren’t consuming “diet food.” You’re simply residing a wholesome way of life.
  • There are numerous sources at your disposal. Besides the 4 books the eating regimen’s creator already penned, there’s a whole lot of scientific analysis supporting the plan, and loads of web sites dedicated to recipes.


While most docs and dieticians agree that it’s a stable method, the Volumetrics eating regimen isn’t good. Here are among the downsides to this system:

  • It limits the consumption of wholesome fat. Millennials beware: Volumetrics is coming on your avocado toast! The Volumetrics eating regimen doesn’t distinguish between wholesome and unhealthy fat like another consuming plans do. As a consequence, nuts and seeds occupy the identical class (4) as sweet and quick meals.
  • It could also be too calorie-focused. Energy-density calculation is the idea of the Volumetrics eating regimen, which suggests calorie counting is foundational to the plan. Over time, we’ve discovered that calorie counting isn’t foolproof. It can usually deal with meals which have the identical quantity of energy — resembling 1 ounce of nuts and 1 ounce of chips — as dietary equivalents. We now know all energy aren’t created equally. As Zumpano places it, “Even if weight loss is your goal, caloric restriction is not the only way to get towards weight loss.” The excellent news is, there are methods to deemphasize caloric consumption. More on that later.
  • It’s an enormous time dedication. The Volumetrics eating regimen isn’t microwave-meal pleasant. The emphasis on contemporary fruit and greens over processed meals makes the eating regimen a wholesome selection. But it additionally makes the plan exhausting to comply with with out common journeys to the grocery retailer and a whole lot of house cooking. If you determine to go full-bore on the meals journaling and energy-density calculation, that may also take a while.
  • It can get boring. All that soup is ultimately going to get somewhat uninteresting. If your meals are beginning to really feel a bit predictable you possibly can spice issues up — actually — by including new recipes into your rotation.
  • Eating out is tough. While many chain eating places could make diet info accessible to you on request, the chef isn’t more likely to hand over the recipe. Without that info, categorizing and documenting what you eat outdoors of your house goes to be difficult. 

Making Volumetrics be just right for you

As with any eating regimen, the important thing to success on the Volumetrics eating regimen is following the plan in good religion and adjusting it the place essential to suit your way of life.

What can we imply by good religion? Zumpano places it finest, explaining, “We are in a hacking world, and it’s OK to hack your diet once in a while. But if you do it on a regular basis, you’re not going to reap the benefits as intended.”

Think about it as embracing the spirit of the eating regimen, not the letter of it. Yes, nuts and quick meals are in the identical class, however everyone knows {that a} handful of almonds is a better option than a handful of pretzels. Unlike plans that combine a peer-support system of some sort, you’re solely accountable to your self on the Volumetrics eating regimen.

While the liberty that comes with the Volumetrics eating regimen might tempt some individuals to try to sport the system, it additionally makes it adaptable to your wants. That, in flip, makes it sustainable.

How do you modify the Volumetrics eating regimen to suit your objectives and way of life? Here are a number of examples:

  • Let’s say you’re attempting to get wholesome, however don’t really must drop some pounds. You might modify the variety of energy you’re taking in every day, whereas sustaining the ratios prescribed within the eating regimen. You might additionally ignore energy altogether and focus completely on diet.
  • Let’s say you do wish to drop some pounds, however calorie counting places you in a less-than-healthy head house. Don’t do it! Try recording the variety of meals you eat from every of the 4 classes as a substitute, or make a healthy-eating guidelines for your self.
  • Let’s say you possibly can’t train for half-hour a day. Then do what you possibly can! Five minutes of stretching or taking the steps as a substitute of the elevator is 100% higher than doing nothing. Set lifelike and attainable objectives that suit your present well being and health degree. Once you crush it, you possibly can set your sights larger.

Is the Volumetrics eating regimen best for you?

Like all eating regimen plans, your mileage might differ in terms of Volumetrics. If you’re attempting to determine whether or not or to not undertake this method to consuming, the next questions might show useful:

  • Are you on the lookout for a fast repair or a life-style change? The Volumetrics plan is about long-term wholesome consuming, not short-term weight reduction. If you simply must drop a few further kilos, this in all probability isn’t your best option.
  • Are you an honest cook dinner? Do you think about assembling a salad cooking? Does the hearth alarm function the soundtrack on your culinary adventures? Or is a meals supply service your most-used app?  If your reply to any of those questions is “yes,” you could wish to go for a much less cooking-intensive eating regimen.
  • Where do you reside and what’s your price range? On the one hand, the Volumetrics eating regimen doesn’t require you to buy branded specialty meals, which will be prohibitively costly. On the opposite hand, not all individuals have equal entry to good high quality vegatables and fruits, and inflation has made wholesome meals even much less accessible than it was once. Look fastidiously at what you’re spending your grocery price range on proper now, and see the place you may make wholesome substitutions.
  • Do you could have any gastrointestinal points? If you could have a digestive dysfunction like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you could discover that sure otherwise-healthy meals exacerbate your signs. You can nonetheless comply with the Volumetrics eating regimen, however go for low-FODMAP meals, that are much less more likely to set off a flare. Your tummy will thanks.

Some diets, just like the DASH eating regimen or the diabetes eating regimen, are designed to deal with particular well being issues. The Volumetrics eating regimen isn’t, so that you’re unlikely to listen to about it out of your doctor until you ask about it particularly. Before making any radical dietary adjustments, do some extra analysis, and have a dialog together with your physician or dietitian.

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