high-volume salad

The diet industry is worth billions. Diet plans flood our inboxes and social media feeds every day. Bookstores and grocery store aisles are filled with diet products and “quick fix” solutions. It seems like every day we hear of a new diet that promises results. With so much information out there, it can be hard to separate fad diets from tried-and-true methods of healthy eating. Are you wondering if high-volume eating is right for you? The key thing to remember is that no one diet fits all. The ideal plan is based on sound science and your personal health journey. 

What is high-volume eating? 

High-volume eating is not necessarily new, but it’s a popular topic for health influencers. It focuses on the types of food you consume, rather than offering a strict meal plan. This style of eating was cultivated by Barbara Rolls, a nutrition professor from Penn State University, who coined the term “Volumetrics.”

What is caloric density? 

High-volume eating emphasizes consuming foods with low caloric density.  On a per gram basis, foods provide different macronutrient profiles, meaning the calories from protein, carbohydrate, and fat. One gram of cabbage will contain fewer calories than one gram of oil, even though it’s the same weight of food. Foods with low caloric density usually have a higher water and fiber content. This helps increase the feeling of satiety (feeling full). High-volume eating encourages followers to stay away from consumption of calorically dense foods, which often have higher levels of nutrients of public health concern, such as saturated fat and added sugar.

The science supporting this way of eating suggests that foods high in fat on a per gram basis typically have a lower volume. Why? Because compared to proteins or carbohydrates, fat contains more than twice the calories per gram.

Why does volume matter? 

Picture your empty stomach as a bowl. Now fill that bow with 200 calories of energy and calorie dense apple juice. It doesn’t fill much space. Now picture filling it with 200 calories of fiber-packed apples. The apples fill up more space, and will leave you feeling more full.

As a Registered Dietitian, appreciate how his way of eating  focuses on the positive. High-volume eating prioritizes eating filling foods like fruits and vegetables to help increase satiety and fullness while minimizing calorie intake.  By choosing foods with higher volume and lower caloric density, this method also allows for larger portions. That said, it is important to also seek out lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, which may fall into the moderate volume category, to round out your diet. Diversity and understanding your dietary needs are key when it comes to a healthy diet.

High-Volume FoodsLow-Volume Foods
ZucchiniFatty cuts of meat
CucumbersMaple syrup

This post was written by Heather Sachs. Heather is a Registered Dietitian with a Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition. She has more than 15 years of experience combining her knowledge in food, nutrition, and regulatory affairs as well as translating science into impactful brand communication. Heather is currently Blue Apron’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.