When you are planning to lose weight, you should consider incorporating low energy density food in your diet as part of your weight loss goal.
What is energy density in food?
Food contains energy by the calories present in it. Energy density is the number of calories in a specific amount or weight of food.
- High-energy density – high calories in a little amount of food.
- Low energy density – low calories in a high amount of food
To illustrate, one cup of grapes is 104 calories while a cup of raisins is 434 calories. So, the cup of grapes is low energy density, while processing into raisins increases the energy density.
What makes food high or low energy density?
The 3 key components that contribute to energy density are water, fiber and fat.
Foods that are high in water content provide a lot of volume and weight but not calories. Fruits and vegetables are high in water content.
Fat is high in energy density. 1 teaspoon of butter has the same calories as 2 cups of raw broccoli. Most fruits and vegetables contain low fat. Foods that naturally contain fats are dairy and meat.
How lose weight with low energy density food?
You can start by looking at your macro-nutrient source
It is common to obtain protein from meat and dairy. However, they are naturally high in energy density and calories due to the saturated fat present. Fish, skinless poultry and egg whites are better than beef , lamb and the entire egg.
You can consider legumes (soya beans, red beans, green beans, lentil) as alternative source as they are rich source of protein with low energy density, plus high in fiber, antioxidants and minerals.
The main source of carbohydrates come from grains ( rice, wheat, oat, barley, millet etc). Eat the grains whole is better as compared to processed into flour to form of pasta, noodle, bread. Whole grains are high in fiber, vitamin and minerals. Processing removes these nutrients and increases the glycemic index.
Fat are naturally high in density. But some fats are healthier than others. The good fats are mon-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats from nuts, seeds, olive oil, and walnut oil. You can lose weight by eating good fats.
4) Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables form an important part of weight loss diet. They are low in calories and energy density, high in fiber and rich in antioxidants. According to the new nutrition guideline MyPlate, fruits and vegetables should form 50% of what you eat in each meal.
Fresh fruits are the best followed by canned fruits without added sugar. Avoid fruit concentrate or dried fruits as they are high in sugar and as a result higher in energy density compared to fresh fruits.
By eating large portions of low energy density food, you are eating a lot and yet on lower calories. You will feel full and satisfied in your meal. In fact, you will feel more refresh and alert. As these foods do not cause hormonal imbalance and surge in blood sugar triggering fat storage. They will help to condition the body to burn fat naturally rather than to store fat.