Pump Up the Volume: The Volumetrics Weight Control Plan for Older Adults
Whenever someone mentions a diet, the first thing that usually comes to mind is smaller portion sizes. According to Dr. Barbara Rolls, a nutrition researcher at Pennsylvania State University, reducing calorie intake does not mean reducing food intake.
Interested in dietary strategies for weight management, Dr. Rolls has found that those who are trying to lose weight are more satisfied when able to ingest the same amount of food, rather than the same amount of calories. To place her extensive research into practice, Dr. Rolls has created a healthy eating plan—the Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan—that emphasizes eating foods low in energy density. What this means is eating foods that are low in calories but are collectively the same weight as foods previously eaten. By eating the same amount of food, those who are following this eating plan are able to still feel full, but fewer calories will be consumed. Most of the foods that fall into this low energy density category are fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and foods high in fiber and water content. 
For an older adult, this eating plan may prove beneficial not only for losing excess weight, but also for maintaining a healthy diet. As we age, some of us find it difficult to stay hydrated, so increasing consumption of foods that are high in water content may ameliorate this issue. Additionally, this eating plan encourages the consumption of high fiber foods, which aid in proper digestion and may better manage constipation. Although most older adults do not need to worry about reducing calorie intake, abiding by this dietary plan may improve the intake of the essential nutrients necessary for graceful aging. When adopting this eating plan, it is important to remember to still eat three meals a day, incorporating a protein at every meal. Even though most of the recommended foods have a high water content, drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day is vital. Following these recommendations will lead to a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Want more information? Download this helpful handout: Patient HandOut_Lauren Brown
 Rolls BJ. The supersizing of America: Portion size and the obesity epidemic. Nutrition Today. 2003;38:42-53.
 Rolls, Barbara J., and Robert A. Barnett. The Volumetrics Weight-control Plan: Feel Full on Fewer Calories. New York, NY: HarperPaperbacks, 2003. Print.
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