iCliniq logo

Ask a Doctor Online Now

HomeHealth articlesvolumetric dietThe Volumetric Diet - Lose Weight Without Starving Yourself

The Volumetric Diet - Lose Weight Without Starving Yourself

Verified dataVerified data

4 min read


The volumetric diet emphasizes low-calorie and nutrition-rich food. This article explains what to eat, how this works, and its advantages and disadvantages.

Written by

Dr. Asha. C

Medically reviewed by

Sumiya Sulthana

Published At June 17, 2022
Reviewed AtFebruary 6, 2023

What Is the Volumetric Diet?

Volumetrics is a plan for losing weight created by Dr. Barbara J. Rolls. The diet encourages eating nutrient-dense foods that are low in calories and high in water, such as fruits, vegetables, and soups which can make you more fuller and satisfied. And to limit calorie-dense foods like cookies, chocolates, nuts, seeds, and oils. The volumetrics diet follows more of an unstructured eating technique than one that restricts specific foods and severely limits the daily caloric intake. Unlike other diets, this diet is intended to promote healthy eating habits and should be considered a long-term lifestyle change rather than a short-term solution.

What Are the Foods to Eat and Avoid While Following the Volumetric Diet?

While following a volumetric diet, a person can eat anything but need to pay attention to energy density, that is, the number of calories in a certain quantity of food. Rather than banning any foods entirely, the volumetrics diet breaks food down into four categories based on their calorie density.

Category 1:

This category contains low-calorie density and should comprise the majority of the diet. They include:

  • Fruits - Apples, oranges, berries, pears, bananas, grapefruit, and peaches.

  • Non-starchy Vegetables - Tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, kale, cauliflower, and carrots.

  • Soups - Broth-based soups like vegetable, chicken, lentil, and minestrone.

  • Non-fat Dairy - Skimmed milk and non-fat yogurt.

  • Beverages - Water and unsweetened black coffee and tea.

Category 2:

This category of foods has more caloric density than the first category and can be enjoyed in moderation. They also offer fiber, which leads to satiety. They include:

  • Starchy Vegetables - Potatoes, corn, squash, and peas.

  • Whole Grains - Brown rice, quinoa, couscous, buckwheat, barley, and farro.

  • Lean Proteins - Skinless poultry, lean cuts of beef or pork, and whitefish.

  • Legumes - Chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, and black beans.

Category 3:

Many commonly loved ingredients fall into this category, which should be eaten in less quantities than other categories. Foods in this category are considered medium calorie density. These foods include:

  • Meat - Poultry with the skin, fatty fish, and high-fat cuts of beef and pork.

  • Refined Carbohydrates - White rice, white bread, crackers, and white pasta.

  • Full-fat Dairy - Whole milk, ice cream, cheese, and full-fat yogurt.

Category 4:

This final category is classified as having high energy density food. These foods contain lots of calories per serving and should be eaten very sparingly. They include:

  • Nuts - Almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts, pecans, and pistachios.

  • Seeds - Sesame seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds.

  • Oils - Butter, olive oil, vegetable oil, margarine, and lard.

  • Processed Foods - Cookies, chips, chocolates, and fast food.

What Are the Benefits of Following the Volumetric Diet?

The volumetric diet group consists of four categories, ranging from very low to high-calorie density food. In general, the number of calories is divided in a particular serving size by their weight in grams. Foods with high water content, such as apples, normally have a very low score in calorie density, while desserts and processed foods like cookies usually rank high.

A typical meal on the volumetrics diet should include foods from categories 1 and 2 to help round the plate. A small number of foods from category 3 and very limited portions from category 4 are recommended. A standard meal plan provides around 1,400 calories per day but can be altered to fit the calorie goals by increasing portion sizes or adding extra snacks. No foods are completely eliminated from the volumetrics diet. In fact, high-calorie density food can be included by modifying the portion sizes and adjusting the other meals.

The diet recommends at least 30 minutes to 60 minutes of exercise each day. The physical activity and food intake should be tracked in a journal to monitor the progress and identify areas that may need improvement.

What Are the Benefits of Following the Volumetric Diet?

  • Provides Long-Term Healthy Eating - Recent research demonstrated that dietary management using the volumetrics diet principles can help in losing weight and obtain a sustainable eating pattern.

  • Good Foods - A big advantage of volumetrics is the attention on learning how to eat water-rich foods and healthier foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

  • No Crash Dieting - Volumetrics diet aims for sustainable rather than rapid weight loss. It promotes a safe and slow loss of 1 to 2 lbs a week.

  • No Rigid Rules - This diet does not force you to quit chocolate or cheese instead, it helps in inculcating such foods in the diet in the most healthful way possible.

  • Weight Loss - The volumetrics diet can help to reduce weight. A study that included more than 9,500 adults illustrated that when consuming low-density foods, waist circumference and body mass index is lowered.

  • Safe in Comparison to Other Diets - Many diets restrict foods, whereas the volumetrics diet allows for eating all types of food. Researchers found that this particular manner of eating is safe and effective in producing a gentle transformation into a lifelong way of eating.

What Are the Disadvantages of the Volumetric Diet?

  • Short-Term Satiety: Eating lots of low-calorie foods will help to feel full, but the effect may not last long because eating high-water foods creates a feeling of fullness at that point in time, but may make you hungry after a short time. Try to add protein with meals to help the feeling of satiety last longer.

  • Time-intensive: The diet requires energy investments and time, which may make it unacceptable for some people. In addition to finding recipes, cooking food, and calculating calorie density may take a lot of time. This may make the diet inconvenient for those with a busy lifestyle, limited access to fresh produce, or a cramped kitchen. In fact, Dr. Roll's book should be purchased to calculate a meal's calorie density and track food intake effectively.

  • Limits Healthy Fats: The diet also restricts certain foods that are rich in healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and oils. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are provided by these foods, which may limit inflammation and safeguard against chronic conditions like the heart.

  • Emphasis More on Calories: The volumetrics diet is based on calorie density which limits high-calorie foods. This means that high-calorie nutritious rich foods like avocados, whole eggs, and nut butter are limited, while processed, low-calorie foods like diet ice cream are allowed due to their low-calorie density. Low-calorie foods are often packed with unhealthy ingredients like sugar to enhance their taste. When food has low calories it does not mean it is healthy.


The volumetrics diet focuses on a low-calorie density and high-volume diet. This diet gives a feeling of fullness reducing hunger and craving and promoting weight loss. It may also improve the diet quality by increasing the intake of nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables. However, it restricts many healthy foods and has limited online resources, which may not be suitable for some people. So, before you start one, seek the help of a dietician.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Is a Volumetric Diet?

The volumetric diet is a diet plan created by Barbara J. Rolls to promote weight loss by eating low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods. It reduces feelings of hunger by prioritizing foods with low-calorie density and high water content. Additionally, it also encourages healthy habits, such as regular exercise and maintaining a food journal.


What Type of Food Is Recommended to Have in a Volumetric Diet?

While practicing a volumetric diet, there are no bars on the type of food we take. Instead, this diet prioritizes eating more low-energy-density foods like vegetables, fruits, salad, and soups and less high-energy-density foods like chips, fried foods, cheese, and desserts.


What Is the Duration of a Volumetric Diet?

Unlike other diet plans, the volumetric diet should be considered a long-term lifestyle change. It makes us more aware of our eating habits and food choices, and healthier dietary decisions are prioritized with a lower calorie density food, such as fruits and vegetables. Additionally, no foods are banned from the diet, so we can enjoy our favorite dishes by adjusting and modifying the diet plan.


What Is the Negative Side of a Volumetric Diet?

The diet needs more time and energy investments, which may make it unsuitable for some people. And this diet limits healthy fats, including nuts, seeds, and oils. Additionally, calculating the energy density of foods is time-intensive.


Is the Volumetric Diet a Fad Diet?

The volumetric diet is not a fad diet, and it should be viewed as a long-term lifestyle change. It helps in losing weight slowly by making people more aware of their food choices and eating habits and prioritizing low calories and high water content foods, such as fruits and vegetables.


What Are the Breakfast Options in a Volumetric Diet?

Peanut butter oatmeal, smoothie bowl, banana yogurt, tomato, and watermelon salad, and blueberry oatmeal are some breakfast food options for people who follow a volumetric diet.


Is Fat Intake Allowed in a Volumetric Diet?

In a volumetric diet, the highest quantity of foods with the lowest density is recommended but make sure to get enough fat. Sufficient fat intake is important to everything from brain functioning to the skin’s ability to stay hydrated, so it is necessary to make sure to work in some healthy fats, like avocados and olive oil.


How Does a Volumetric Diet Plan Works?

The volumetric diet focuses on foods with a high volume and low-calorie density. It helps in weight loss by increasing the feelings of fullness while decreasing cravings and hunger. It may also improve the diet quality by enhancing the intake of nutrient-dense foods like vegetables and fruits.


How Popular Is a Volumetric Diet?

The volumetric diet is a diet plan created by Barbara J. Rolls, a professor of nutrition science. This diet plan has ranked second position in the weight loss category in the U.S news and was announced as the world's best diet in 2018.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Sumiya Sulthana
Sumiya Sulthana



volumetric diet
Community Banner Mobile
By subscribing, I agree to iCliniq's Terms & Privacy Policy.

Source Article ArrowMost popular articles

Ask a Wellness Expert online


*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: Wellness medicine is not aimed to replace the services of your treating physician or allopathy medicines. Our site's information is to those who are willing to take responsibility for their health, being fully aware that the content published herein would not qualify as a prescription or specific medical advice. If users use the information and stop prescribed medication without their physician's consent, they bear full responsibility for their actions, and iCliniq-Wellness bears no responsibility for the same. Information on Wellness medicine should not be misinterpreted as a cure for any illness, as our body is complex and everyone reacts differently.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. iCliniq privacy policy