News | Published December 10, 2012

Internationally known author speaks to a packed house at Mount Nittany Medical Center on World Diabetes Day

Internationally known author and diet expert Barbara J. Rolls, PhD, brought her science-based weight management program - Volumetrics, to a full house at Mount Nittany Medical Center November 14 - World Diabetes Day - as part of the health system's educational outreach aimed at prevention and management of one of the country's fastest growing diseases.

Professor of Nutritional Sciences and the Helen A. Guthrie Chair in Nutrition at The Pennsylvania State University, Rolls described in detail the features of her program designed to keep people full, and satisfied on less calories.

Dr. Rolls has literally written the book on Volumetrics along with over 250 scientific articles and six books total on the subject. Her work focuses on calorie density - the calories per bite or per any given portion of food. Her findings? If you lower the calorie density without changing the palatability of the recipes, people will "eat less," without really eating less.

In other words, people can eat the same amount of food, and feel full, by reducing their calorie intake by about 25 percent. The key? Changing the amount of water in foods, because water adds weight and volume but no calories. So, for example, if you increase the amount of water in a casserole - which you do by adding vegetables, which are mostly water - you lower the calorie density.

In a study co-authored by Dr. Rolls, and published in a 2011 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who ate an entrée made up of 25 percent pureed vegetables (in this case, squash and cauliflower were blended into macaroni and cheese) consumed 360 fewer calories per day.

Roll's rules for putting science to work for you:

  • Add fruits and vegetables to everything.
  • Eat before you eat. Fill up on soup, or a salad, or an apple, before your main course, so that you eat less.
  • Satisfy your eyes first. The goal is a full plate. Think of the difference between raisons and grapes. You can easily fill up your plate with grapes, and actually eat fewer calories. Your brain will subconsciously realize that you will not leave the table hungry!
  • Don't forget protein. Opt for small portions of low-fat protein, like skim milk, beans, tofu and lean cuts of beef, chicken or fish.
  • Clean your plate! The idea is to feel full, and be full. Don't eat less; just eat less calorie dense foods.

Prior to Rolls' presentation, a health fair featured over 20 different tables of information and literature focusing on diet and exercise. Health providers were on hand to discuss diabetes topics and Mount Nittany Medical Center's culinary department provided several sample dishes from Rolls' book, The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet. After the program, there was also a book signing.

The message from Mount Nittany Health is that people can prevent the onset of type-2 diabetes through lifestyle changes. The prescription? Change diet, increase physical activity, and maintain a healthy weight. Through these positive steps, one can live a healthier life that is diabetes free. For more information on diabetes prevention and how to lower the risk of developing the disease, visit