Back in graduate school, I did a whole project on the subject of calorie density. Okay, I know that sounds kind of scientific and really boring, but I swear, it was cool. And, you know, my project was kind of awesome—at least I thought so. The whole idea about it is that some foods have more calories per gram or ounce than others. The average human likes to have about two pounds of food to feel full. But how you go about getting those two pounds—aka the calorie density of those foods—can be huge when it comes to being at a healthy weight.
Take, for example, raisins versus grapes. A half cup of raisins has about 250 calories, making them a pretty calorie-dense food. The grapes though? Well, you can have the same amount for just 60 calories. Which do you prefer? And which is more filling? Yep, that’s the concept of calorie density. And it’s the backbone of The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet book, of which I am a huge fan.
Yes, I know we’re talking about calories and a “diet,” but the science and research behind this way of eating (and it really is a way of eating rather than the “d” word) is just stellar. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. The Volumetrics Diet was named one of the best diets by The Daily Beast, US News and Health Report and USA Today—and author Dr. Barbara Rolls is just all kinds of awesome in the weight-loss research world. So I’m in good company.
While The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan has been out for years, The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet book is a twist and addition to the original. Rolls goes super in-depth about calorie density and why it rocks (hint: the secret has to do with the water in foods that adds bulk to meals without a lot calories), along with fantastic tips on eating out, noshing on the road, listening to your true hunger and how to set your environment up for healthy success. She discusses the importance of protein, healthy fats, fiber and carbs—along with a whole chapter on maintaining your weight (so many books skip that!). And all of it is backed by research. Love that. The last half of the book is dedicated to recipes—with lots of photos showing you just how much calorie density comes into play. It’s extremely eye-opening, and makes you want to hit the kitchen for sure.
Quite simply, I love this book and think it should be required reading. By incorporating just a few of her ideas—eating more fruits and veggies, filling up on a salad or a broth-based soup before a meal, choosing whole foods over processed ones—you can be healthier and drop pounds without any of that deprivation stuff or feeling hungry all the time. It rocks.
Have you ever read one of the Volumetrics books? Know about calorie density? Try to eat foods that have more water in them? Let’s swap tips in the comments! —Jenn