Episode 15 – Thoughts on Volume Eating

Key Topics Covered

Volume Eating –

Volume Eating Example
  • Volume eating is the concept of eating a larger volume of lower calorie foods. It is a tool that can be useful to help manage appetite while in a calorie deficit.
  • You can also think of it from both perspectives. For somebody looking to lose weight, they can implement more volume eating strategies. For somebody who struggles to get enough calories in while trying to build muscle, the focus can shift towards more energy dense foods.
  • It is a great concept if not taken too far.


  • If you are in a calorie deficit for long enough you are probably going to get hungry regardless of volume eating.
  • Part of our appetite is based on the physical fullness of eating a decent volume of food. But our hunger hormones are also relatively closely linked with our calorie intake too.
Diet Breaks

General Good Nutrition

  • Focusing on volume eating often means you end up eating more fruits and vegetables, leaner cuts of meat and less sugar or high fat foods. In a lot of cases, this is generally a good thing.
  • This is not a strict rule. For example things like extra virgin olive oil, salmon and nuts are quite energy dense. But they are also associated with a lot of health benefits.

Potential Issues If Taken Too Far

  • This is rare, but some people start doing things like eating >1kg of veg per day or a LOT of low calorie foods in a bid to avoid ever feeling hungry.
  • One of the most common associated issues with this is gastrointestinal symptoms e.g. bloating. Particularly if it is a really high fibre diet.
  • In some cases this can contribute to disordered eating.
  • Sometimes it becomes an issue where it becomes really hard to have normal sized meals if you have been having massive meals consistently due to volume eating. This is kind of like the concept of how professional eaters sometimes have massive salads to train themselves to be able to eat more food, without having to worry about the calories.


  • Hunger is likely more of an issue during a calorie deficit. If you are not in a consistent calorie deficit, you probably should not also be consistently implementing volume eating to an abnormal degree. If you are averaging maintenance or higher calories, having a high food volume intake might make it harder for when you go into a deficit down the line.
  • Strategies for curbing hunger often only work for short to moderate periods of time. They are really useful for phases up to 12 weeks. But because hunger hormones adapt based on calorie intake, you likely can only “trick your body” for so long. These strategies likely become the new baseline that the body starts to base hunger signals around. This is another argument for doing dieting in shorter phases rather than in large blocks.
  • Some level of hunger likely should be embraced at various points. This is not saying to starve yourself. It is just saying that a little bit of hunger is okay.

Practical Applications

Volume eating graph
  • <6% of Australians eat enough vegetables. Most people do not need to worry about whether they are taking volume eating too far. The vast majority of people would benefit from implementing more of these principles, particularly in regards to eating more vegetables.
  • Eating >30 different plant based foods per week is a great idea for almost everybody. Focusing more on micronutrient rich foods is also a great idea for almost everybody.

Relevant Resources

Useful Blog Post