Whether you’re scrolling through TikTok or watching the local news, you’re bound to find a new “hot tip” for weight loss. While there have been many trends, eating volume has made its way back into the conversation as a means of shedding excess pounds. So does it actually work?
Bulking is a diet concept that prioritizes eating large amounts of low-calorie foods. In other words, it allows you to eat more physically, without accumulating calories. The idea is that the more you fill your stomach with lower-calorie foods, the less room you have for foods that throw you off your diet.
Foods that can be eaten in large quantities are considered “high volume” foods, while those that should be eaten in moderation during this diet are considered “low volume.”
High volume foods (those usually high in fiber and water) include:
- Citrus fruits
- Egg whites
Low volume foods (more calorie dense) include:
Does bulking really help with weight loss?
When done right, bulking can help with weight loss. Many low-volume foods are often rich in nutrients such as fiber and various vitamins and minerals. They also fill the stomach more than high-volume foods, meaning you’re more likely to feel full and satisfied after eating them.
For many people, the obstacle to losing weight is not feeling really satisfied after eating a meal. Low-volume foods literally take up more room in your stomach compared to high-volume foods, meaning you’re more likely to feel comfortably full after eating.
With proper planning, eating volume can also promote greater variety of nutrients in the diet. If you haven’t eaten a lot of fruits and vegetables before, basically follow a volume eating framework it fits you get started By default, you will then eat some high-calorie foods, such as baked goods and fast food, much less.
Things to remember about this diet
No diet should make you compromise on the quality of your eating. Up to this point, I have emphasized eating volume Correctly because things can go wrong. Bulking, like any other nutritional framework, is only healthy and beneficial if you meet all of your nutrient needs.
Many people are concerned with choosing the lowest calorie foods possible, even if this compromises the quality of their diet. Diet Coke contains zero calories and is therefore, by definition of meal volume, a suitable drink to be consumed in large quantities compared to orange juice. However, Diet Coke delivers no valuable food at all, while orange juice at least provides vitamin C and other antioxidants.
Another factor to consider is that being full is often only part of the fun for people. The taste and enjoyment of the food you are eating is ultimately what makes any diet sustainable in the long run. If you eat too much of a food simply because it’s low in calories, you may find yourself reaching for high-calorie foods that you’re trying to avoid.
For many people, this leads to overeating, which can backfire on your goals. There is no reason to completely avoid fats, carbohydrates, or other foods that you think may not fit into your diet. Some olive oil and all your favorite seasonings on your meat, baked potatoes and vegetables can still be considered volume food without sacrificing taste.
Bulking can be helpful for weight loss, but it’s not the only way to go about it. If you are interested in learning about this way of eating, be sure to work with a registered dietitian who can help you get started on a sustainable way that works for your lifestyle.
It’s important to remember that low calories don’t always have to outweigh nutrient density, and that high-calorie foods can still be included in a volume-based diet without making up the majority of it.
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