The weight-loss power of the keto diet is legendary—it’s been shown to rev weight loss by 1,150 percent! The challenge: It’s too easy to subconsciously overeat on the plan’s delicious, fat-dense foods. To the rescue: Volumetrics, a clever collection of research-backed ways to amp up portions so they look and taste filling, while slashing up to 544 calories per day. And applying this know-how can work wonders on keto foods: One woman FIRST spoke to lost 108 pounds following a fun, flexible keto plan packed with volumized foods.
“Entire industries are dedicated to studying the texture profiles that make you want to eat more,” says Eric Westman, MD, co-author of the upcoming End Your Carb Confusion: The Cookbook (Buy on Amazon, $15.39). But we can flip that knowledge and apply it to keto foods to “make hunger go away.”
On this three-week plan, you’ll pair Dr. Westman’s delicious keto meals with clever portion practices from Barbara Rolls, PhD, the world’s most famous food scientist and the inventor of Volumetrics.
What do you eat on the Volumetrics diet?
Each day, you’ll consume unlimited amounts of eggs, fish, poultry and meat; eight servings of added fat (such as cheese, butter, mayo, avocado or olives); up to two cups of leafy greens; one cup of non-starchy veggies; and 20 or fewer grams of total carbs. You’ll avoid grains and natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup, which spike blood sugar and cravings.
But ingredients are only part of this powerful plan: Equally important is how they are served. So with each meal, you’ll apply simple techniques that “volumize” your food to maximize satisfaction. One option women are buzzing about? “Twisted bacon,” made by holding one end of a piece of raw bacon and twirling the other end to form a ringlet, then baking on a rimmed tray at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes (flipping halfway through).
Or try spaghetti Bolognese with spiralized zoodles instead of pasta, frothy soup and smoothies and kale chips piled high to give the feel of snacking from a bucket of popcorn. This keto-twist plan is all about customizing foods to make them feel like treats. You’ll naturally start eating less and seeing results.
When harnessing the cravings-curbing power of keto, Dr. Westman says, “I’m presenting it to you with the confidence of a prescription drug. It will be effective — it’s proven!”
To make the plan even more effective, incorporate the classic Volumetrics tricks that follow.
3 Tips for Starting the Volumetrics Diet
Boost size. A winning way to bulk up food while still whittling your middle includes adding air, water or ice to recipes. For example, use a handheld coffee frother to add bubbles to protein shakes or soups so you need less liquid to serve yourself a full portion — a trick that helps people eat 12 percent less. Another easy way to trigger crucial sensory cues during meals: adding zero-calorie liquid. Dr. Rolls explains, “Water incorporated into soups or drinks increases the volume, which in turn activates stretch receptors in the stomach that trigger satiety.”
Keep food interesting. Give food a novel new look by twisting, folding, or stacking ingredients in unfamiliar ways to boost satisfaction and speed slimming. For breakfast, enjoy fluffy scrambled eggs with twisted bacon; at lunch, try spiralizing zucchini noodles or apples for added flair in salads. Stack slider-sized mini burgers on top of each other or pipe egg mixture onto deviled eggs in high swirls like cupcake frosting. As Dr. Rolls explains, it ’s been shown that the average person eats a consistent weight of food each day. “So the appearance of a big portion can be as important as the number of calories it contains.” In one preliminary study, folks ate less food when it was piled high than when it was spread out flat on trays, so when given a choice, stack rather than spread.
Tweak texture. When slicing cheese or veggies, try using different angles (or even a knife with a corrugated “crinkle” blade) to create visual interest. Foods that lack physical bulk melt more quickly in the mouth so the brain doesn’t get the message that the body has really eaten, a phenomenon known as “vanishing caloric density” that’s associated with mindlessly overeating. But Dr. Westman says, “If you eat a real-food based keto diet, there won’t be any vanishing caloric density. That’s a bonus!”
After 3 Weeks…
If you have more weight to shed after 21 days, repeat the plan. And if you’re ready for maintenance, increase your daily carb intake to 50 grams and continue using the genius of Volumetrics at mealtimes to keep your cravings tamed and your waistline trim.
A Sample Day to Get You Started
BREAKFAST: Scramble 3 eggs with 2 Tbs. water to make them extra fluffy; wrap up in sliced ham. Secure with toothpicks and garnish with tomato and herbs.
LUNCH: Pile orange sections, blue cheese, fennel, nuts and seeds over 1 cup of wrinkly mixed greens. Top with 4 oz. grilled chicken or tuna.
DINNER: Fill a crockery with a mix of 6 oz. cooked ground beef plus 1⁄4 cup sautéed carrot and onion. Top with peaks of mashed cauliflower and broil until golden.
DESSERT: Core and spiralize 1 tart apple and arrange in a ramekin. Top with 1⁄2 Tbs. butter and cinnamon and heat in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until tender.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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