Lose weight by eating more: the secret of food energy density

Who doesn’t want to fill up on…fewer calories? Here’s how eating more of certain foods can help you do just that!

Energy density is just another way of saying calorie density, after all, calories provide energy. In short: It’s the number of calories in the amount or weight of food you eat. Foods that do not contain many calories in each bite, such as fruits and vegetables, have a low energy density. They also tend to be low in fat and high in water or fiber. Energy-dense foods pack a lot of calories into a small volume of food. These include fatty foods, found in many fast foods, and foods high in sugar, such as sodas and candy.

Eat more low-calorie foods

Satiety is determined by the volume and weight of food, not the number of calories consumed. If you choose foods that are low in energy density, low in calories for their volume, you can eat more volume but consume fewer calories due to two key factors:

– The water

Most vegetables and fruits contain a lot of water, which gives them bulk and weight, but few calories. For example, half of a large grapefruit is 90% water and contains only 50 calories.

– Fibers

The high fiber content of foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains adds bulk to your diet, helping you feel full faster. Fiber also takes longer to digest, which helps you feel full longer. Adults need about 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day, but the average adult consumes much less. Gradually increase your fiber intake while increasing the amount of fluids in your diet.

Comparison between high and low energy density foods

Here is the comparison of typical foods to help you compare and guide your choices.

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1 For about 300 calories, you could have…

A high-density food: A single large pain au chocolat
Low-density meal: A bowl of bran flakes with skim milk, blueberries, and a slice of whole-wheat toast with butter

2 For about 275 calories, you could have…

A high-density snack: A candy bar
A low-density meal: A hot bowl of soup, made with beans and fiber-rich vegetables

3 For about 600 calories, you could have…

A high-density meal: A cheeseburger
Low-density meal: A sandwich of whole-grain bread, with soup, fresh fruits and vegetables, and some dry biscuits

As you can see, you can eat fewer calories and feel more satisfied by choosing foods that are low in energy density. In other words, you can eat more. Try reducing fat and increasing the amount of fiber-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, in your favorite meals.


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