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  Diet Review

Diet Evolution
Eat Great, Lose Weight
Eating Thin for Life
Enter the Zone
Idiot's Guide
Sugar Busters!
The Atkins Diet
The Balancing Act
Total Health Makeover

by Barbara Rolls, PhD, and Robert A. Barnett

GOOD NEWS: As with most "diet" books, Volumetrics promises to help you lose weight without feeling hungry or deprived, while eating whatever you like. But unlike the others, this book is based on scientific principles. The authors encourage moderation of sugar and fat intake; recommended calorie levels range from 1,400 to 2,600 calories per day; a passage focusing on the glycemic index of foods explains that it is a poor guide for food selection. The book includes menus, recipes and ideas for recipe modification. An entire chapter is devoted to listing the energy density of many common foods. Don't worry, it is designed for comparison -- you don't have to add or count anything to follow this plan.

EVEN BETTER: The scientific term "energy density" defines the key concept in Volumetrics. It is a property of food determined by the calories in a given portion, specifically weight (grams). Energy density affects satiety and how much food is eaten at a sitting. Studies have shown that individuals eat the same weight of food each day, regardless of the calorie and fat content. To better explain the concept, consider this example: For 100 calories, you could eat 1 ounce of jelly beans (10 large ones) or you could eat 2 3/4 cups of strawberries. Which is more filling? The strawberries have a lower energy density, a greater volume of food for the same calories as the jelly beans. The goal is to eat bigger foods that deliver fewer calories. The best way to accomplish that: cut the fat, then increase water and fiber.

THE BEST: Water and fiber are vital components in our diet. They provide bulk without calories. So increasing the amount of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in our diet (items which are loaded with water and fiber) cuts calories per portion and lowers energy density. As for the authors' opinions of popular low-carbohydrate diets, they emphasize that it is added sugars, not naturally occurring ones, that should be of concern. (So keep the fruits, veggies and whole grains!) On exercise, the authors proclaim, "Becoming more active is the nearest thing in weight management to a magic bullet." And best of all is this piece of advice: "Listen to your body ... the more attuned to how satiated you are becoming as you eat a meal or snack, the easier it will be to eat just enough food for your body." Volumetrics is a sensible plan for anyone, an interesting way of looking at food and learning how to fill up on fewer calories.





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