University Park, Pa. --- Being able to enjoy your favorite foods, feel full after meals -- and still lose weight -- sounds like having your cake and eating it too.
But "feeling full on fewer calories" is exactly what is promised by a new approach to eating based on research conducted by Dr. Barbara Rolls, who holds Penn State's Guthrie Chair of Nutrition in the College of Health and Human Development.
The eating plan is detailed in a new book, "Volumetrics: Feel Full on Fewer Calories," to be published in January by HarperCollins. The authors are Rolls and nutrition writer Robert A. Barnett.
The basic strategy of "Volumetrics" -- eat a satisfying volume of food while controlling calories and meeting nutrient requirements -- is based on a series of studies conducted by Rolls in Penn State's Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior over the last seven years.
These studies show that eating your usual amount but selecting low-energy density meals, which have fewer calories per ounce and contain lots of fruits and vegetables, offers a way to cut back on calories and still leave the table feeling full and satisfied.
"When we first started these studies, we thought that fat played an important role in satiety," Rolls says. "We found that, when you keep the calories and volume of food that a person eats fairly constant, you don't see any special effects for fat in terms of reducing hunger."
The Rolls research team also investigated the effects of drinking water before or during meals. The results showed that the energy density of food mattered most in producing satiety, the feeling of leaving the table well satisfied.
Rolls explains that her group's research has shown that feeling full depends on eating a satisfying amount of food. Tiny portions just don't do it. The energy density of food, or the ratio of calories to the weight of food, is what matters most in order to feel full while controlling calories.
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Contact: Barbara Hale