The Volumetric Diet: What Is It?

The volumetric diet involves not limiting the amounts of food, promoting the consumption of those with few calories. Learn more.
The Volumetric Diet: What Is It?
Saúl Sánchez

Written and verified by el nutricionista Saúl Sánchez.

Last update: 26 February, 2023

The volumetric diet has been specially designed to help people lose weight and thus improve body composition. It allows a wide variety of options in terms of food consumption, which is always positive in order to generate sufficient adherence. However, it focuses in particular on the intake of products with a low energy density, thus managing to maintain an energy deficit that allows the mobilization of fat.

Before beginning, it must be taken into account that in order to lose weight, it’s not enough just to eat a certain diet. Establishing a hypocaloric pattern situation will be decisive, but you also have to focus on other habits. For example, without the stimulus of physical activity, it’ll be very difficult to achieve good results in the medium term.

What is the volumetric diet based on?

One of the key points of the volumetric diet consists of introducing into the diet foods that contain few calories but that have a high concentration of water and fiber.

Therefore, the feeling of fullness is efficiently stimulated, which makes following a diet with an energy deficit without suffering from anxiety possible. A study published in the journal Nutrition Reviews confirms that fiber itself is decisive in achieving good appetite control in the medium term.

Above all, importance must be given to fruits and vegetables within this type of diet. They’re products that not only provide water, vitamins, and minerals, but also a significant amount of phytochemicals with antioxidant capacity.

These neutralize the formation of free radicals and their subsequent accumulation in the body’s tissues. This effect has proven to be elementary in order to prevent the development of chronic and complex diseases.

As long as the consumption of vegetables is prioritized, it won’t be necessary to pay too much attention to portion sizes or quantities. When eating these products, it’s difficult to go overboard with calories. Most likely, satiety will soon be felt and an imbalance will be experienced in favor of energy expenditure, which helps stimulate weight loss.

As for foods with a higher energy density, such as those with a high fat content, moderation will be necessary. It’s possible to include them in the diet, but always in reduced portions. However, in the case of some foods, their complete restriction is preferable. This happens with elements such as butter, oils, cookies, fried foods, battered foods, etc.

Furthermore, it’s also not a good idea to attempt to follow a diet that’s free of fats. This wouldn’t be positive for the body. After all, these nutrients are necessary. If a deficit is experienced, the hormonal environment can be altered, which would lead to a lower production of important hormones, such as testosterone. A study published in The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology demonstrates this.

The advantages of the volumetric diet for losing weight

The volumetric diet allows you to lose weight.
If the volumetric diet is combined with a set of healthy habits, most people will achieve their weight loss goal.

One of the most positive aspects of the volumetric diet is that, by not controlling the portions consumed, it generates greater adherence. In addition, the regular and high consumption of foods of plant origin is related to an increase in life expectancy and a lower incidence of chronic diseases. Experts recommend the intake of at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

For people who tend to eat large amounts of food or who suffer from appetite control problems, this alternative can be positive. Mind you, experiencing a significant improvement in body composition probably won’t come from just following this diet. Reducing intake is fine and good, but if energy expenditure isn’t increased, you may experience a situation of early stagnation.

In order to reach this point, it’s important to always give priority to muscular strength work. Therefore, little by little, the hypertrophy of lean tissue will be promoted, which will cause a greater amount of calories to be spent even while at rest. However, in order to achieve this state, adequate planning will be necessary in terms of the progression in the intensity of work.

Problems with the volumetric diet

Despite the benefits mentioned, the volumetric diet also has a series of negative aspects. First of all, we must mention that reducing the intake of fats isn’t considered a good thing, as long as we’re talking about cis-type fatty acids. Trans fats have been shown to cause damage to the body in the medium term, but the rest of the lipids are necessary in the daily diet.

An excessive intake of fiber could limit the absorption of essential nutrients at the intestinal level. It’s clear that this substance is considered very positive for digestive health, but in its fair measure. An intake of about 25 grams in the daily diet, between soluble and insoluble fiber, is recommended. Exceeding this amount by much wouldn’t be the most appropriate, as the availability of elements such as iron would be limited.

Above all, it will be necessary to focus on the consumption of soluble fiber. This has the ability to ferment in the digestive tract, serving as an energetic substrate for the bacteria that inhabit here.

In fact, elements with anti-inflammatory capacity are formed from it, such as short-chain fatty acids. Among all of them, butyrate stands out, which has proven to be positive when it comes to reducing the incidence of chronic diseases.

The volumetric diet and protein

Special emphasis must be placed on the main problem with the volumetric diet, which has to do with protein intake. These nutrients are fundamental when it comes to preserving muscle mass and promoting the processes of adaptation and hypertrophy. They’re determining factors both in the presence and in the absence of a mechanical stimulus through physical exercise.

In fact, it’s now considered more dangerous for your health to fall short than to go too far in terms of protein consumption. Most guidelines recommend an intake of at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. But this is in sedentary situations. When the factor of physical activity is introduced, the requirements may increase. Up to three times in some cases.

However, the volumetric diet doesn’t pay special attention to the consumption of these nutrients. Quite the opposite, in fact. It can even discourage the presence in the diet of foods with high protein content, just because of the fat they contain. Examples would be oily fish or dairy products.

What you need to understand is that to lose weight, you don’t just have to focus on calories and reduce energy expenditure.

When the objective is to guarantee success in the medium term, a series of good habits will have to be promoted as a whole, making everything revolve around the practice of strength work on a daily basis. This will promote the growth of lean tissue, the key to achieving homeostasis in the internal environment.

Weight loss supplements

The volumetric diet and the use of cinnamon
The benefits of cinnamon as a supplement are many. In addition to its excellent taste, it has an anti-diabetic effect.

We must emphasize that the volumetric diet can also be complemented with a series of supplements that are capable of stimulating weight loss. They won’t cause significant changes in the absence of energy deficit and good habits, but they can help you reach your goal when the rest is well established.

Among all of them, caffeine should be highlighted. It has the ability to modify the use of energy substrates during any activity. This increases the oxidation of fats and allows a greater saving of glycogen. Thanks to this effect, adipose tissue is consumed and the appearance of fatigue in the context of exercise is delayed.

At the same time, the inclusion of a cinnamon supplement in the diet can also work. We’re talking about a compound that’s capable of reducing blood glucose, acting as an anti-diabetic. Thanks to it, insulin sensitivity is improved, a key point to allowing the mobilization of lipids and their subsequent use to produce energy.

The volumetric diet, an alternative for losing weight

The volumetric diet is postulated as a relatively healthy alternative to stimulate weight loss in the medium term. However, there are better options.

At the end of the day, the most efficient thing is to change lifestyle habits in general, giving greater importance to physical exercise. The diet must be adjusted around this variable in order to maximize performance. This will help you achieve good body composition over time.

There may be extra-dietary factors that condition the oxidation of fats. Issues such as genetic determination or the profile of the microbiota can have a significant influence. Also, polycystic ovary syndrome or hypothyroidism. For this reason, if good habits don’t achieve the expected results, it’s best to go to a specialist for an accurate diagnosis.

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