Eat More To Weigh Less?
Eat MORE to weigh LESS?
You’ve probably heard the claims that you can eat more to weigh less. There are books, articles, podcasts, and blogs about it. Dietitians, doctors, fitness professionals, and your sister are talking about it. So, is it possible?
Good news: Yes, it is (mostly) true. You can eat more and weigh less.
Bad news: You won’t be eating pizza and donuts.
When you hear a fitness professional or dietitian say you can eat more to weigh less, they’re talking about eating foods that are low in calories, but have a lot of volume. This “diet” was coined the volumetrics diet. There’s a book about it. I haven’t read it. If you are reading this blog post, you probably don’t need to read it either.
The basic premise is this: you can eat more food if you eat the kinds of foods that are low in calories, high in nutrients and fiber, and are bulky. That is, you eat the kinds of foods that give your body plenty of nutrition and fill your stomach. What kinds of foods? High-fiber foods like celery, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, apples, and cucumbers, and foods high in protein like fish, lean beef, and chicken.
Hmmm. I didn’t see cake or Cadbury eggs anywhere on that list. Darn it.
Eat more to weigh less
To lose weight you still need to be in a calorie deficit. But no one likes to be hungry. So the idea of eating more to weigh less means you are filling up on “air foods”…things that have few calories but physically fill the space in your stomach, causing you to get full and eat less.
Have you ever noticed you can eat a serving of Pringles and still be hungry? Hell, I can eat an entire can of Pringles and still be hungry! That’s because processed foods are high in calories, are digested quickly, offer little in the way of nutrients, and certainly don’t fill the space in your stomach.
Let’s switch gears. Have you ever tried to eat 100 calories of spinach? Or 300 calories of apples? Or 500 calories of tuna? It’s almost impossible because, calorie for calorie, these foods are bulky. They simply take up a lot of space in your stomach! The physical filling and stretching of the stomach lining sends the “all full” signal to the brain.
Additionally, nutrient-dense foods tend to be high in vitamins and minerals, may contain lots of fiber, and may contain protein. All of these satiety-inducing characteristics of healthy foods have a positive effect on the hormones that control hunger.
It’s hard to eat two or three cans of tuna because the high protein content of tuna turns off your hunger hormones. In fact, you’d probably be quite miserable if you ate 3 cans of tuna because protein is hard to digest and stays in the stomach longer. When I eat too much tuna, I get some crazy heartburn!
It’s hard to eat five apples or five boxes of spinach because these foods are high in fiber (and take up a lot of space in the stomach). If you eat that much of either spinach or apples, I highly recommend that you stay close to a bathroom.
Let me get this straight I can eat more to weigh less…but that does NOT include ice cream, cake, pizza, and donuts?
You got it sister. All of that stuff about nutrient-dense foods and hunger hormones…sounds like plain old healthy eating, doesn’t it?
Please don’t mistake my sometimes-sour and sarcastic attitude as being anti-healthy-eating, or that I’m against volumetrics. Eating healthy, fibrous, nutrient-dense foods can absolutely help you feel full, make your body healthy, and may help you lose weight. But you still have to want to eat healthy foods and enjoy eating those foods most of the time!
As I mentioned in last week’s post about how humans frequently self-sabotage, most of us already know what we should be eating! The question is: why don’t we do what we know we should?
My point is that the “volumetrics diet” is nothing new…it’s not the magic pill people are hoping for when they see the claim “EAT MORE TO WEIGH LESS!” You can search the internet and you’ll never find a (legit) diet that will tell you it’s possible to eat more donuts, pizza, and Froot Loops and weigh less. That’ll never happen.
In the end, it still comes down to straight up healthy eating.
I hope you enjoyed this post and thank you for reading!
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Blog Author: Kelly Bailey, IIN certified holistic nutrition coach, and NPTI certified personal trainer
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