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Staying full on low macros; Volume Foods

Did you know it's possible to eat more whilst staying within your required macro range?
Weight Loss Articles
Weight Loss Articles

By Alex Campbell at Neutral Bay

Staying full on low macros; Volume Foods

 What exactly are volume foods?

They're foods that are nutritionally (typically) dense while being low in macros (nutrient), meaning you can have large meals without going over your daily macros.

Eat more food without going over my macros? What is this high-tech sorcery? Are you the Food Devil trying to tempt me down the dark path?

Not at all! I'm just a guy trying to have a good time, who also happens to be an amateur bodybuilder. When I prepare for a bodybuilding competition, I have to reduce my body fat by lowering my macros at a slow, gradual rate, while keeping my training intense. To do this, I eat foods that fill me up and keep me satisfied while also staying within my macro guidelines. This then helps prevent me from "cheating" on my diet or over-eating. Especially in the later stages of competition preparation this becomes crucial, hence my love for foods that keep me satisfied!

Why do they fill you up?

They're typically higher in water or fibre, or both.

What is Fibre?

A type of carbohydrate commonly found in grains, fruits and vegetables, fibre helps the digestive system function, and assists in stabilising blood sugar levels (the energy spike you get from a fast-acting or "simple" carbohydrate - think "sugary"). On average, Australians consume 20-25gm of fibre daily, but should be aiming for 25-30gm each day.


So how can I tell a "Volume Food" by looking at nutritional information on packaging?

The majority of "Volume Foods" are going to be whole, natural sources, however for packaged items the main information you need is:

  1. The macros per serve
  2. The serves per pack
  3. How many serves you would consume in a single meal

An example of this is the physique breakfast staple, oats. The recommended serving size is typically 40gm, and the macros per serving reflect that amount, usually sitting at 25gm of carbohydrates, 2-3gm of fat or protein, and 3-4gm of fibre.

Not going to lie, that's a small amount of oats, way too small to fill me up but just enough to make me cry if I had to get up and eat only that every day. Some choices to improve the volume of food (and lower the volume of my tears) could be:

  • Foods that have lower macros for the same serving size i.e. puffed rice or puffed corn
  • Adding berries to increase the volume of the meal without over-adding macros
  • Adding some protein powder, almond milk, and a pinch of baking powder to your oats, blending them before throwing them in the oven to bake, and having a breakfast cake out of them!


…I can have cake for breakfast?

Provided you can make it high volume and low macros, I'll allow it. You have an inch, don't take a mile.

Making large meals with volume foods requires some creativity. If you add in the typical flavours (sugar) or bases (rice, potatoes, bread), it can very quickly turn into a macro-dense meal, and small, macro-dense meals generally don't fill you up. While they may temporarily satisfy cravings, they never really "hit the spot", making it more likely you will:

  1. Over-eat on these foods
  2. Eat more later

Okay, I think I've got it. Big meals, small macros, mostly wholefoods, water and fibre. Anything else?

If you are interested and would like to compete in bodybuilding, contact Alex at Vision Personal Training Neutral Bay Studio

Yours in health & fitness,

Alex Campbell

Vision Personal Training Neutral Bay

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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