The volumetric diet that says goodbye to calorie counting and weighed foods

Not all diets require the use of the scale. With the nutritionist Bacciottini we talked about the volumetric diet, the diet that is not based on the weight of food.

Interview with Dr Lucia Bacciottini

Biologist and nutritionist

What if we said goodbye to weight and calories to manage our meals? If we abandoned the scale and adjusted only on the volume of food, yes exactly on the volume it occupies on a plate or in a cup, to realize the quantity of food we need to satisfy us? It’s the volumetric regime, a diet, useful both for those who want to lose weight but also for those who simply want to follow a healthy style at the table without excess. “The volumetric regime – explains to the biologist and nutritionist Lucia Bacciottini, author of several volumes on the subject – it starts from the assumption that we have anatomical volumes, in particular of the mouth and the stomach, and from this “measurement” we must compose the volume of the meal. The stomach, for example, has an average volume of about 1 liter (obviously this data varies according to age and constitution) and it is on this data that we should be able to check in order to avoid overload and organ dilation.

How to arrange a meal in the volumetric diet

Come to think of it, we have always been used to managing meals in “volumes”: a cup of milk or cereal, a plate of pasta. We already know a few volumes that indicate the portions as an indication. “However, in recent years, the abundance of food has exploded certain fashions, such as all you can eat, where we eat everything we can without taking into account the capacities of our body. And then today we are also used to the fact that if we really like a dish we tend to eat it, again without respecting the anatomical volumes of our stomach”. The volumetric regime can be adjusted with ad hoc bowls and plates. “Larger volumes and portions must be dedicated to nutritional foods necessary for our energy needs, and in particular these are vegetables, preferably in season, consumed both raw and cooked”. While smaller volumes can be filled with foods that the nutritionist defines as “emotional”. “It is this side of food that concerns flavors, sensoriality, in this case the volume to be taken into consideration is that of the mouth, which is why it is smaller”.

The feeling of satiety

The other fundamental principle that the volumetric diet takes into account is the feeling of satiety. The feeling of satiety after a meal is a complex mechanism based on two types of signals: immediate and mediated. “The immediate are given by the filling, by the feeling of a full stomach and you notice it right away”. But to feel true satiety, you have to wait for the media signals “The absorption of food in fact sends chemical signals to the brain and for this reason they come after a certain time compared to the feeling of having a full stomach”.

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Volumetric diet: how to organize lunch and dinner

A typical day of those who follow a volumetric diet begins with a breakfast that can vary according to their tastes and obviously also the objectives, whether or not they are looking for weight loss. “You can adjust with cups or glasses that we have at home to understand the amount of milk, fruit or cereal. For today’s biscuits, for example, there are those already portioned which help us to consume the right amount”. At lunch, however, we start with vegetables. “I believe that today the concept of the first should change, the first should no longer be pasta but vegetables. For those who want to follow the volumetric diet, vegetables represent the biggest volume. For lunch, let’s eat them raw, a nice salad of valerian or iceberg, radicchio, enrich it with carrots and tomatoes and accompany it with vegetable protein (which in the scale of volumes will have a size more smaller than that of vegetables) we could prepare a humus with olives for example, try to alternate vegetable and animal proteins. And you can also fit a portion of carbohydrates between vegetables and proteins, I always recommend whole grains (barley or spelled)”. At dinner, on the other hand, raw vegetables are replaced by cooked ones. “Let’s prepare a good seasonal soup, during this period there is asparagus or spinach to be associated with a protein, to understand the volume we can also use our hand: a slice of meat or fish. If, on the other hand, we want to go towards vegetable proteins, we can go towards legumes and regulate the quantity with our fist”. For snacks, let’s arm ourselves instead with a glass of those used for limoncello. “Almonds, hazelnuts, you can eat dried fruits, which are extremely rich in minerals, give energy but do not increase the glycemic index, and to regulate yourself I recommend using a small glass of liqueurs. And let’s not forget to drink: flavored water, herbal tea, infusions, orange juice, barley coffee”.

The information provided on is designed complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his doctor.

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