Eating for Volume to Lose Weight

I recently saw a neat graphic on Precision Nutrition.


From the article Here’s why you’re always hungry.

The article goes into why we reach satiety quicker when the volume of food in the stomach is greater. This is obvious, but I like the simplicity of how this is framed. A simple image that demonstrates how at the same level of calories we can be more or less hungry. This ties in with food reward, as the modern foods that are engineered for us to eat past satiety, take up little volume in the stomach. One example would be corn. 400 calories of corn chips takes up much less space in the stomach than 400 calories of corn or my favorite hominy.


Hominy by Geoff Lane

When looking at a menu or inside your kitchen for your next meal, consider picking lower-calorie higher volume foods. In addition to the food choice we make this information can also help us with the timing of how we eat our meals if our goal is to lose weight. The obvious is to eat the salad first and the ice cream last, but as you scan your environment you can use this idea to make better decisions.

Because the higher volume foods tend to be more nutritious, Precision Nutrition calls the volume approach positive dietary displacement.

…when someone eats enough nutritious food each day, leaving little or no room for the non-nutritious foods.

In other words, the nutrient needs are met at a lower level of calories. The article also says:

Humans usually eat about 3-4 pounds of food per day. If we add in enough healthy foods, we won’t have much room left for unhealthy foods. We can use this to our advantage.

By picking higher volume food we can create caloric deficits with less or no hunger. No need to count calories or weigh your food. Pass the boiled potatoes!


Add yours

  1. Is there a downside to increased fiber in my diet? Perhaps……as when I was in college….a friend introduced me to bran….and my experimental fiber over-dosage became readily apparent.

    However, dietary fiber can be your BFF. Dietary fiber can slow the rate at which glucose can enter the bloodstream, and help balance insulin levels. I feel much fuller for longer and can manage my cravings more easily.

  2. @Marc – A lot of sites say to ease into fiber.

    Rather than adding high-fiber foods all at once, add just one or two servings a day to your regular diet for a week — maybe switching from white to whole wheat bread for your sandwich at lunch, or adding a salad at dinner. Let your body adjust, then add another serving the following week, and so on.

  3. I like this blog, and anyone who makes natto is a friend of mine. May yours always be stringy.

    Now your site is one of my favorites, and this diagram has no place in such hallowed grounds. The illustration appears to describe a world where humans possess a zipper that allows them to put food directly into their stomach.The assumption that “food volume” has any physiological mechanism to trigger satiation remains to be shown with evidence. And the scientific literature makes a strong case that in terms of satiation, the foods selected will have the exact opposite effect. 400 calories of coconut oil will keep you satisfied longer than chicken or high fiber veggies.

    One of the least mentioned examples of overcoming satiation signals appears in many asian cultures during times of occupation. Their cornerstone was fatty bone broth, and it still prevades much of their diet.

  4. @Jeff – Although I am certain there are exceptions, in general I believe what Precision Nutrition posted. I’m not going to go through their article references. My opinion is based upon personal experience. Natto itself is a high volume, low calorie food that fills me up quickly.

  5. Thought this might interest you – 200 calories worth of food for multiple different foods:

  6. @Arhur- Thanks for sharing!

  7. @Arthur believe it not I used to eat 3 heads of broccoli a day and it kept me full I couldn’t eat anything else. LOL

  8. Johan Lindén

    May 7, 2015 — 4:57 pm

    MAS, what are your thoughts on the fact that most of us get tired after a big calorie intensive meal?

    Say lots of white rice and meat. Do you think that is normal and a sign of health or do you think it signals that you have eaten the wrong food?

    Sorry to be off-topic to your post.

  9. A very good tactic to control weight is this:

    Before my evening meal I have a fiber supplement….which helps me eat less due to felling fuller… faster… longer… and as an added bonus, helps reduce late evenings food cravings. The fiber supplements contain soluble and insoluble fiber, and serves as prebiotics.

    Yeah I know….fiber is not as sexy as the latest protein shake or energy bar/drink….and certainly will not make supplement companies rich, but they are effective for appetite control.

  10. @Johan – It suspect it could be either.

    One of Matt Stone’s books talks about the food coma can be good if it follows a period of dieting, under-eating or someone has a poor metabolism. On the other, I know certain foods will have a negative drug like effect. I haven’t had a donut in 20 years. 30 minutes after eating one, I feel like I’ve been poisoned.

    So it depends.

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