The Hungry Mind

By Joyce Hendley, M.S.

EatingWell interviews Barbara J. Rolls, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan (HarperCollins, 2005)

"To be honest I read the first page of this article and got bored. But with the page I read, I felt as if I learned a little bit more about food and drinking water. "

The Volumetrics approach sprang from the findings that people tend to help themselves to the same weight of foods from day to day, regardless of calorie content. In the food lab, Rolls experimented with changing the energy density (calorie content) but not the portion size, by pumping up volume and weight with low-calorie vegetables. She found that as long as the portion sizes of the foods remained the same, regardless of calories, people were satisfied by what they ate. Test subjects reported feeling just as full from two cups of vegetable-packed pasta salad as they did from two cups of higher-calorie salad with more pasta and fewer vegetables.

Eat filling, low-energy-dense foods at most meals, recommends Rolls, and you’ll control hunger without feeling like you are on a “diet.” Rolls’s latest book, The Volumetrics Eating Plan (HarperCollins, 2005), expands upon that approach with tips, menus and recipes.
Q: Americans are getting fatter and fatter. Yet you’ve written that it’s not very helpful to tell people to eat less. Why not?

If people just eat less across the board, they’re going to have a small amount of food on their plates. They’ll think, “That’s not enough food.” The message needs to be tailored: Eat more of the low-energy-dense foods and less of the high-energy-dense foods. But overall, achieve a balance that you enjoy.

Next: More of Joyce's research findings »

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