Eat More, Weigh Less
And run better. Yes, you can do all three. Here's how

by: Christine Aschwanden

 

Weight loss is easy--if you adore microscopic meals and the hunger pangs that follow them. Fortunately, there's a better way. Believe it or not, you can actually lose weight by eating more. The key is to eat the right foods--ones with a low calorie density and a high volume.

This discovery came from more than a decade of research by Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., a nutrition researcher at
Pennsylvania State University and one of the world's leading experts on appetite and appetite control. In study after study, Rolls found that people stopped eating after they had consumed the same amount of food--whether it was high-calorie food or lower-calorie alternatives.

Regardless of the food's calorie content, research subjects consistently polished off nearly identical servings by weight--about 3 pounds of food per day. Most important, the subjects felt just as full after the low-calorie meals as they did after the calorie-rich meals--provided both meals contained the same volume of food.

"The biggest mistake dieters make is that they eat less of everything, and then they feel hungry," says Rolls. A smarter alternative: Eat more foods that have a low calorie density (few calories per ounce) and a high volume. "You'll get more satisfaction for the same number of calories," says Rolls.

Rolls calls this plan "volumetrics," and it's the basis of her book The Volumetrics Weight Control Plan. The plan's two cardinal rules: (1) Foods loaded with water, fiber, and air have the lowest calorie density; and (2) Dry foods and high-fat foods have the highest calorie density. To lose weight, eat more of the first group, and less of the second group.

Below, we present side-by-side comparisons of many foods that runners like to eat, and show you the calorie densities and total calories of these foods. This makes it easy to pick the choice that will save you calories. Often, these selections offer a "serving bonus" as well.

In other words, you can eat more of these foods, and still consume fewer calories. You'll lose weight, feel better, and run stronger.

 

 

Volumetrics
Pizza



 

BEATS



 

Pepperoni
Pizza



 

Serving
size: 1/6 of 12-inch pizza crust topped with 1/2 cup part-skim shredded
mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, and loaded with vegetables
(see recipe on opposite page for details)

Calories: 270

Calorie density: 2.4


Serving
size: 1/6 of 12-inch pizza topped with 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 3 oz.
pepperoni slices

Calories: 391

Calorie density: 2.7


 

 

Calories
saved: 121



 

 



Most runners love pizza, and it can be a healthy postwork-out food, but
not when itís laden with pepperoni and full-fat mozzarella cheese.
Instead, make or order a pizza thatís piled high with your favorite
chopped vegetables. And trim the fat content by substituting part-skim
mozzarella for the full-fat version. Result: A pizza with lower calorie
density, much less fat, and many more antioxidants, thanks to all the
vegetables.



 

 

Fruit-flavored
Yogurt



 

BEATS



 

Cinnamon-raisin
Bagel



 

(99-percent
fat-free)

Serving size: 3/4 cup

Calories: 170

Calorie density: 1.0


Serving
size: one 3.5-inch-

diameter bagel

Calories: 195

Calorie density: 2.7


 

 

Calories
saved: 15



 



A bagel isnít a terrible mid-morning snack, but itís not the most
filling choice either, especially when compared to yogurt, with its high
water content. Rolls says the protein in yogurt makes it an especially good
snack: ďYou should make an effort to eat lean protein, because thereís
some evidence that protein is more satiating than other foods.Ē


 

 

Cantaloupe



 

BEATS



 

Dried
Apricots



 

Serving
size: 1 cup, diced

Calories: 56

Calorie density: 0.4


Serving
size: 1/4 cup

Calories: 77

Calorie density: 2.4


 

 

Calories
saved: 21 -- Serving bonus: 3/4 cup



 

Fresh fruits
deliver great flavor and sweetness along with lots of water and fiber. On
a per-calorie basis, fresh fruits are a much smarter choice than dried fruits
or fruit juices.


 

 

Vegetables
and Dip



 

BEATS



 

Potato
Chips and Dip



 

Serving
size: 1 cup carrots, 1 cup bell pepper, 2 tablespoons French onion dip

Calories: 142

Calorie density: 0.5


Serving
size: 1 oz. potato chips,

2 tablespoons French

onion dip

Calories: 200

Calorie density: 3.3


 

 

Calories
saved: 58 -- Serving bonus: approximately 1 3/4 cup



 

Finger
food is easy to overeat, so chose snacks with plenty of fiber and water,
and you wonít have to stop the nibbling before youíre satisfied.
Vegetables have lots of bulk and will fill you up. Potato chips are compacted,
dry, and contain little fiber, but are loaded with fat.


 

 

Strawberries



 

BEATS



 

Honey



 

Serving
size: 23/4 cup

Calories: 100

Calorie density: 0.2


Serving
size: 2 tablespoons

Calories: 120

Calorie density: 2.9


 

 

Calories
saved: 20 -- Serving bonus: about 2 1/2 cups



 

We all
like a little sweetness on our cereal, but consider a new approach: Leave
the honey in the hive, and top your cereal with berries. Suddenly your bowl
overflows with tangy decadence, but your calorie count drops. Honey and
sugar are dense sweeteners, while berries come full of fiber, nutrients,
and water, so you can eat lots of them.


 

 

Bran
Flakes



 

BEATS



 

Granola



 

Serving
size: 11/3 cups

Calories: 125

Calorie density: 3.3


Serving
size: 1/3 cup

Calories: 160

Calorie density: 4.6


 

 

Calories
saved: 35 -- Serving bonus: 1 cup



 

If youíre
like most people, you eat your cereal out of the same bowl every morning,
and fill it to the rim no matter which cereal youíre munching on. But
since the energy densities of breakfast cereals vary greatly, so do the
calories youíre pouring into that bowl. High-fat cereals, such as most
granolas, cram lots of calories into a small bowl, while puffed grains and
whole-grain flakes take up the most volume for the fewest calories. Serve
with skim or low-fat milk to keep the calories low.


 

 

Soft
Pretzel



 

BEATS



 

Corn
Chips



 

Serving
size: 3 oz.

Calories: 210

Calorie density: 2.5


Serving
size: 2 oz.

Calories: 306

Calorie density: 5.4


 

 

Calories
saved: 58 -- Serving bonus: approximately 1 3/4 cup



 

Finger
food is easy to overeat, so chose snacks with plenty of fiber and water,
and you wonít have to stop the nibbling before youíre satisfied.
Vegetables have lots of bulk and will fill you up. Potato chips are compacted,
dry, and contain little fiber, but are loaded with fat.


 

 

Bean-and-cheese
Burrito



 

BEATS



 

Beef
Burrito



 

Serving
size: one 12-inch flour tortilla stuffed with 1/2 cup mashed black beans,
1/4 cup low-fat cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup shredded romaine

lettuce, 1/4 cup diced tomatoes; topped with 2 tablespoons fat-free sour
cream

Calories: 310

Calorie density: 1.2


Serving
size: one 12-inch flour

tortilla filled with 1 cup ground beef, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, and 1/2
cup mashed black beans

Calories: 574

Calorie density: 2.5


 

 

Calories
saved: 264 -- Serving bonus: 3/4 cup



 

Hereís
a simple, healthy trick: Add some fresh, chopped vegetables to your favorite
recipe, and you instantly boost the mealís volume while reducing the
calorie density. A big pile of lettuce and tomatoes will fill your plate,
but add very few calories to


 

 

Chocolate
Milk



 

BEATS



 

Milk
Chocolate



 

(1-percent
fat)

Serving size: 8 oz.

Calories: 158

Calorie density: 0.6


Serving
size: 11/2 oz.

Calories: 230

Calorie density: 5.5


 

 

Calories
saved: 72



 

Chocolate
will never be a diet food, but if youíre the type who canít stop
at just one bite, consider chocolate milk instead. The extra liquid means
you can have way more chocolate without overdosing on fat and calories.
Of course, even Rolls, a self-confessed chocolate lover, admits there are
times when only the real thing will do. In that case, donít give up
the chocolate. ďYou can eat anything you want,Ē she says. ďYou
just have to realize that if you eat some calorie-dense foods, youíll
have to eat lower-density foods some


 

 

Strawberry-banana
Smoothie



 

BEATS



 

Milk
Shake



 

(yogurt,
low-fat milk, ice cubes, strawberries, and a banana)

Serving size: 2 cups

Calories: 215

Calorie density: 0.5


(vanilla
ice cream, whole milk, and chocolate syrup)

Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 410

Calorie density: 2.0


 

 

Calories
saved: 195 -- Serving bonus: 1 cup



 

Here again,
fruit adds sweetness and flavor while reducing calories. The added ice tickles
your tongue like ice cream, without all the fat. Keep the blender humming
an extra minute or 2, and you will add more air to the mix. This boosts
the volume of your smoothie, reducing its calorie density even more.


 

 

Vegetarian
Chili



 

BEATS



 

Chili
Con Carne



 

Serving
size: 11/2 cup

Calories: 240

Calorie density: 0.7


Serving
size: 1 cup

Calories: 322

Calorie density: 1.3


 

 

Calories
saved: 82 -- Serving bonus: 1/2 cup



 

Rolls is
a big soup fan. Hereís why: In a study published in 1999, she and her
colleagues fed groups of women one of three meals: a chicken and rice casserole;
the same casserole served with a glass of water; or a chicken and rice soup
made with exactly the same ingredients and portions contained in the casserole
served with water. The women got the same number of calories at this meal,
but the ones who ate soup reported less hunger later in the day, and ate
less food. Rolls says chili is an especially good soup choice, because it
is low-fat and loaded with fiber-rich beans. Remove fatty meats, and you
can cut the calorie density nearly in half.


 

 

Wild
Rice



 

BEATS



 

Flour
Tortilla



 

Serving size: 1/2 cup

Calories: 83

Calorie density: 1.0


Serving size: 9-inch
tortilla

Calories: 114

Calorie density: 3.3


 

 

Calories
saved: 31



 



Wild rice could easily serve as the volumetrics eating planís poster
child. Itís filled with water and fiber, so a modest number of calories
takes up a lot of space. Next time youíre tempted to go for seconds
at the burrito bar, skip the tortilla. Instead, add a healthy mix of burrito
fixings to some wild rice or brown rice.


 

 

Applesauce



 

BEATS



 

Fat-free
Fig Cookies



 

(unsweetened)

Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 104

Calorie density: 0.4


Serving size: 3 cookies

Calories: 135

Calorie density: 3.1


 

 

Calories
saved: 31



 



Water matters. Applesauce has it; the cookies donít. Both foods are
fat-free, but the calories in cookies are compact, while the high water
content of the applesauce gives it fewer calories per bite. Result: You
can eat a bigger serving without scarfing many calories.


 

 

Turkey
Breast



 

BEATS



 

Italian
Pork Sausage



 

Serving size: 5 oz.

Calories: 221

Calorie density: 1.6


Serving size: 3 oz.


Calories: 275

Calorie density: 3.2


 

 

Calories
saved: 54 -- Serving bonus: 2 oz.



 



Protein is an important part of a runnerís diet, but the calories that
accompany it can add up quickly unless you select low-fat sources. So always
choose lean cuts of meat.
Turkey breast, for example, has just half the
calorie density of sausage. A meatless alternative: Consider substituting
high-fiber beans and legumes at some of your meals. Beans are a good protein
source.







You don't have to weigh every morsel of food to figure its exact calorie density.
You can use the following guidelines to guesstimate where a food falls.

 

 

Things
that lower calorie density



 

Things
that raise calorie density




 

Water
(think fruit and vegetables)


Fat (cream, butter,
cheese, added fats)



 

Air (rice
cakes, popcorn)


Dehydration (dried
fruits)



 

Fiber
(whole grains)



 


Across the Spectrum
Here are some examples of foods that range from very low on the calorie-density scale, to very high.

Very low density:
(Less than 0.6 calories per gram)

 

*      Most fruits and vegetables

*      Broth-based soups


Low density:
(0.6 to 1.5 calories per gram)

 

*      Most cooked grains

*      Cereals with reduced-fat milk

*      Low-fat meats


Medium density:
(1.5 to 4 calories per gram)

 

*      Meats

*      Cheeses

*      Salad dressings


High density:
(4 to 9 calories per gram)

 

*      Pastries and cookies

*      Chocolate

*      Butter

*      Nuts