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updated: 4/25/2012 3:48 PM

Don Mauer likes what he sees in the lastest 'Volumetrics' book

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If you just realized that swimsuit season will be here faster than you're ready for and you're looking for a safe, weight-loss plan to help you shed some winter pounds, you'll be pleased learn that "The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet -- Smart, Simple, Science-based Strategies for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off" just hit the shelves.

The book (William Morrow, $27.50) is the latest in a series by Barbara Rolls, a nutrition professor at Pennsylvania State University builds on years of solid science. Rolls published her first Volumetrics weight loss program in 2000 with her study-based premise: keep calories low and portion sizes high.

In this new book, Rolls clearly explains her science-based, calorie density-centered program; first by breaking calorie density into four groups: very-low density (ingredients like lentil soup, celery, carrots, watermelon, salsa); low density (split pea soup, kidney beans, steamed shrimp, spaghetti with meatballs); medium density (avocado, whole-grain bread, thin-crust cheese pizza and premium ice cream); and high density (butter, pork spareribs, regular potato chips and peanut butter).

Next, Rolls presents a 12-week diet plan; one chapter for each week. During those 12 weeks you'll learn how to change your environment and your relationship with food, apply Volumetrics principles to eating away from home, rethink what you drink and how to manage fat and sugar, build your meals around vegetables and fruits, and more.

As you go through the first four weeks, you'll be following day-by-day complete meal plans, with many components keyed to the book's recipes. Simply follow the meal plan while learning and utilizing the tools presented in each chapter. The menu plan repeats itself each month (since you'll be learning more every week, you can change those components, too).

When week 12 ends, you should be slimmer (and never hungry) and be able to continue with the Volumetrics plan to reach a healthy weight, if you haven't already achieved it. You'll be able to follow the plan, without being hungry, to keep the weight off.

The book contains more than 100 recipes and loads of pictures in 35 categories like breakfasts, main course salads, meatless pastas, comfort foods, stir-fries and desserts. Each category showcases traditional and Volumetrics versions, explaining how Rolls lowered the calorie density of each. You'll find calorie-density controlled versions of Greek frittata, basil shrimp and pasta, chicken cacciatore, chicken Caesar panini, pork stir-fry with Asian cabbage and red pepper, macaroni and cheese and even a three-layer carrot cake. You will not feel deprived.

But you may be a bit confused. This is not a weight loss program that you'll instantly understand and assimilate, which I believe is why Rolls set it up with a full month of menus (all you have to do is follow it meal-by-meal) as each week you learn more about how it works.

Barbara Rolls brings decades of personal experience and the extensive knowledge gained from her studies and others' research to deliver a book that presents safe and healthy help for most folks who want to lose weight and keep it off without ever being hungry.

Here's a Volumetrics recipe to whet your appetite.

• Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Write him at

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