Volumetric Diet – Pros and Cons, Dishes and More

Alpa Momaya

October 12, 2022

In the modern world, various diet plans and exercise regimes help one stay healthy and maintain proper body weight and BMI. A volumetric diet is one of the diet plans that focuses more on nutrition rather than restrictive meal plans.

This diet has been ranked amongst the top ten diets to achieve and maintain long-term weight loss. However, one must understand certain important factors before beginning the volumetric diet.

A Volumetric Diet – An Introduction

The volumetric diet, introduced by Dr Barbara Rolls, focuses on increasing the consumption of low-energy foods which are rich in fibre and have high water content so that bodies feel full and satisfied for longer.

Although a volumetric diet does not prohibit a person from eating high energy density foods like pizza and sweet sweets, it is advisable to consume fewer of them and more fresh fruits, vegetables, pulses, seeds, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Studies show that these diets provide multiple health benefits such as weight loss, prevention of cardiovascular diseases and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

In addition, it’s also a safe and stable way of losing weight where our bodies get enough time to adjust to dietary changes. However, the major drawback to this diet is that it requires a lot of planning and preparation time and doesn’t emphasise on proteins and healthy fats like Omega 3 fatty acids, which are vital for good health.

Food Categories and What You Should Consume

In the Volumetric Diet, foods are divided into four major categories- 

  • Very low energy density foods
  • Low energy density foods
  • Medium energy density foods
  • High energy density foods

Very Low Energy Density Foods

These foods include fresh fruits and vegetables that are not rich in starch, such as broccoli, onions, green leafy vegetables and mushrooms. It also contains low-fat dairy and low-fat milk products, fresh fruit and vegetable juices, lean meat and broth-based soups.

Low Energy Density Foods

These foods include whole grains, pulses, beans, sprouts, lean proteins, and starchy vegetables such as carrots, squash, gourd and sweet potatoes. Consumption of these low energy density foods helps to lower calorie intake.

Medium Energy Density Foods

These foods include full-fat dairy products, white meats, cream, and dishes made from refined flour, such as pasta. Thus, consuming these foods in moderation is necessary.

High Energy Density Foods

These foods include junk food, fried food, food rich in artificial synthetics and preservatives, and high-sugar foods. Therefore, it is essential to limit your intake of these foods.

The HealthifyMe Note

Low energy density is not always a characteristic of low-calorie diet foods. Reading the nutrition information labelling on low-calorie foods and being aware of how many calories you consume daily is crucial. Although volumetric diets do not restrict an individual from consuming any particular food category, they emphasise the consumption of the first two food categories. It advises individuals to avoid the latter two types as much as possible.

Volumetric Diet – Things to Keep in Mind

Before starting any diet, people need to know all the nitty-gritty about it. Since a volumetric diet is ranked among the top 10 diet plans according to studies conducted by Penn State University, it becomes even more important to know all its facets before getting started.

Volumetric Diet Does Not Involve Calorie Counting

A volumetric diet focuses more on nutrition than strict and restrictive diet plans. Calorie counting is seen as unimportant in volumetric diets as the focus is on integrating a large amount of fibre and high energy density foods rather than on calorie cutting. 

Volumetric Diet Helps with Diabetes

A volumetric diet includes consuming higher amounts of low energy density foods, which helps with diabetes and insulin resistance. 

Research shows that consuming foods with lower amounts of starch and sugars prevents frequent spikes in insulin levels and helps keep blood glucose levels under control.

Overlook Healthy Fats

A significant drawback of volumetric diets is that they frequently overlook healthy fats like nuts, nut butter, olive oils, and fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids.

These fats help the body to absorb soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K in our body. Additionally, our bodies need healthy fats to burn the excess unhealthy fat and promote heart health. Therefore, eliminating them might not be a good idea.

It is Suitable for Long-Term Weight Loss

A volumetric diet is a slow and stable process where the body loses small amounts of fat consistently over a long period. According to research, this diet ensures that the body has plenty of time to adjust to the dietary modifications and internal bodily changes, unlike extreme weight-loss diets.

Volumetric diets also encourage consuming high volumes of certain food types (foods rich in fibre and water content) hence they prevent blood sugar levels from dropping or any extreme health side effects. 

Delicious Dishes for Volumetric Diet

Despite the precise planning required for the volumetric diet, it is surprisingly easy to prepare healthy dishes quickly that will keep your body satiated.

Ten Minute Salad

  • Serves: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 10 mins


  • Carrot (Medium): 1 whole
  • Cucumber (Small): 1 whole
  • Spinach: ½ cup
  • Tomato: 1 whole
  • Onion: 1 medium


  • Ginger(Grated): ½ inch
  • Green chilli(Chopped or paste): 2 whole
  • Lemon juice: 1 tbsp
  • Soy sauce: 2 tbsp
  • Salt: As per requirement
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 1 tbsp

Method of Preparation

  • Wash and peel the cucumbers and carrots and cut them into thin round slices. Next, cut the tomatoes lengthwise, peel and dice the onions, and roughly chop up the spinach.
  • Prepare the salad dressing by mixing the green chopped chillies, grated ginger, lemon, soy sauce, lemon juice, soy sauce and salt.
  • Toss the veggies with the dressing and serve.

Nutritional Value (per serving)

  • Calories: 143 kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 23 g
  • Fibre: 13 g
  • Sugar: 8 g
  • Protein: 4 g

Watermelon Cucumber Juice

  • Serves: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 5 mins


  • Cucumber: 1 diced
  • Watermelon (Diced): 1 cup
  • Lemon juice: ½ tsp
  • Ice cubes: 2 cups
  • Mint Leaves: A few leaves

Method of Preparation

  • Blend all the ingredients together. Serve immediately garnished with mint leaves.

Pros of the Volumetric Diet

High energy density foods have to correlate with health improvements and weight loss positively.

Cardiovascular Diseases

Low energy density foods help reduce cardiovascular risks, as shown by studies. It is due to the focus on consuming more nutrient-rich foods rather than unhealthy foods. It also reduces the chances of cholesterol spiking up, thus ensuring good heart health.

Type 2 Diabetes

Consuming low energy density foods prevents one’s sugar levels from spiking or falling drastically, which helps diabetes patients to cope with insulin resistance.

Studies show that individuals, especially women who consume more amounts of low energy density foods, are at low risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Weight Loss

Studies show that lower energy-dense foods positively correlate with lower body fat and weight. Eating high-fibre and high-fat foods reduce the need for unhealthy snacking, thus ensuring lower amounts of excess calories. In turn, this assists in weight loss and a healthier body.

Safer than Other Diets

The volumetrics diet includes all food types. In an assessment of dietary-related approaches, several researchers discovered this specific eating style to be secure and successful in bringing about a gradual shift to a lifelong eating pattern.

Cons of the Volumetric Diet

The volumetrics diet has drawbacks that you should think about because they may interfere with your current lifestyle.


You’ll need to dedicate a lot of time to the volumetrics diet, especially in the beginning. In addition to evaluating the density of the items you select, you must track your food consumption, figure out your caloric intake, find recipes, and prepare food. Your time management may suffer if you frequently eat out and have a busy schedule.

Lack of Resources

Due to the restricted access to fresh food, the diet may become too restricted. In addition, despite the presence of several support groups, online shopping apps and resources for the diet are somewhat limited.

The HealthifyMe Note

A volumetric diet not only helps in weight loss but also ensures good heart health and puts one at a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and cancer. Furthermore, no overhead or extra costs arise when one uses the volumetric diet. All one needs is certain dietary modifications and lifestyle changes. Although the volumetric diet focuses solely on nutrition, exercising regularly for at least 30 mins each day is advisable to obtain maximum benefits.


As the name suggests, a volumetric diet focuses on individuals consuming a high volume of certain foods and low amounts of others. Foods that provide very low or medium energy density are the primary focus of the volumetric diet.

It makes our bodies feel fuller for an extended time, reducing the need to snack often. The most significant advantage of the volumetric diet is that it does not restrict one from consuming any particular food but encourages more mindful eating.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What can you eat on a volumetric diet?

A. On a volumetric diet, one can consume foods with high water content and low energy density, high-fibre foods, and foods with high nutrient density to induce the feeling of fullness for longer. These include food items such as fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, pulses, whole grains, white meat, fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, low sugar, and iron-rich foods. 

Q. How do I start a volumetric diet?

A. Getting on a volumetric diet is very simple. First, one must focus on consuming foods with high water and fibre content and low-calorie density, reducing hunger. Next, reduce your intake of calorie-dense items, including sweet snacks, oils, seeds, and dried fruit. It also includes reducing the number of calories one consumes by 500 to 1000. Studies have also backed up these claims by showing that the amounts of fibre consumed in a volumetric diet can help in weight loss in adolescents and adults.

Q. How much weight can you lose with a volumetric diet?

A. A person can lose about 0.5 kgs to 1 kg of weight per week by following a volumetric diet. As studies by Pennsylvania State University shows, it’s a slow and safe form of diet where the body has enough time to adjust itself to the dietary changes.

Q. What does a volumetric diet claim?

A. Volumetric diet claims that it is one of the safest ways to lose weight, where one needs to cut down just about 500 to 1000 calories of junk foods, fast foods, and calorie-dense foods. It results in a remarkable 0.5 to 1 kg weight loss per week if appropriately followed.

Q. What are the pros and cons of the volumetric diet?

A. Advantages of the volumetric diet are that it produces slow and safe weight loss results which means that your body gets plenty of time to adjust to the changes. Additionally, its focus on fibre and water-rich foods ensure that our bodies feel satisfied and full even after consuming fewer calories. 

The only disadvantages, if any, are that meal preparations need to be done precisely and meticulously, which makes it a little time-consuming, and the lack of focus on healthy fats and proteins essential for the body to absorb soluble vitamins from the foods.

Q. Who created the volumetric diet?

A. The volumetric diet was created by Barbara Rolls, a health and nutrition science professor at Pennsylvania State University. She proposed this meal plan to promote calorie deficit by consuming only fibre and water-rich foods, making one feel fuller for longer, and reducing the need to eat more often.  

Q. How much does the volumetric diet cost?

A. Following a volumetric diet costs next to nothing, and it does not add any overhead expenses to one’s regular charges. The only thing to keep in mind is to avoid buying calorie-rich foods, junk foods, fast foods and preserved or sugary foods instead of energy-dense, water and fibre-rich foods.

Q. Does the volumetric diet work?

A. Volumetric diet works and has been found to result in a weight loss of 0.5 kg to 1 kg per week when the diet is followed correctly and clubbed with at least 30 mins of regular exercise. It also successfully prevents cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol, which lead to a healthier body and mind.

Q. Is Noom based on volumetrics?

A. The diet plan that Noom follows is called volumetrics or volume eating. It is a subscription-based weight loss plan introduced by Barbara Rolls- the creator of the volumetric diet plan. Like the volumetric diet, it focuses on consuming fibre-rich foods with high water content, making one feel fuller for longer.

Q. What is the purpose of a diet, and why do most people diet?

A. Studies show that a diet’s primary purpose is to create a safe and healthy meal plan for all sorts of individuals looking to lose weight, gain weight or maintain their current weight. Most people diet to assist them in weight loss and to develop a habit of eating cleaner and healthier.

About the Author

As the holder of a Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics from the University of Mumbai, Alpa Momaya has always understood the value of good nutrition in an individual's life. She is a Registered Nutritional Practitioner (Canada) with over 15 years of experience in the field. Specializing in Clinical Nutrition, Pre & Post Natal Diets, and Weight Management, Alpa found her calling as a Sr. Nutritionist with HealthifyMe. Alpa's love for cooking and good nutrition has seen her contribute several recipes to the HealthifyMe database over the years. Additionally, she takes a keen interest in reading and painting.

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