Energy Density For Weight Loss

Do You Want 50 Ways to Weight Loss That Actually Work

Energy density for weight loss: it’s the key to eating more, but weighing less.  If you are looking to lose weight, lowering the energy density of your diet by adding lots of fruits and vegetables is an amazingly simple way to help you lose weight without any deprivation.

 

(A Guest Post by Georgia Bamber)

 

Few people know of this highly effective strategy for weight loss and weight management, which is crazy given how simple energy density for weight loss is.

 

Most people are busy focusing on how many calories are in their food, rather than on how energy dense it is.  However, losing weight isn’t about portion control it is more of a function of the food choices you are making.  Eat low energy density foods and you will lose more weight.

Energy Density For Weight Loss

Energy Density For Weight Loss

Let me explain.

 

What is energy density for weight loss?

Energy density is the amount of calories in a food per unit of weight, i.e. how many calories per gram.

 

The energy density of foods varies greatly, most due to the amount of water and fibre present in the food.

 

Water adds a significant amount of weight to food, without adding any calories.  Fibre also adds a lot of bulk to food while adding only very few calories.

 

So foods high in water and fibre are generally low energy dense. Conversely those foods that are high in dietary fat are generally higher in energy density.

 

Fruits and vegetables are composed of 80-90% water, and are also extremely high in fibre and that is what gives them a very low energy density and make them great foods for weight loss.

 

Here’s a rough guide as to the energy density of some common foods:

 

Per 500g

 

Raw leafy vegetables – 70 – 200g

Fruits  – 200 – 400g

Starchy vegetables – 300 – 400g

Whole grains  – 400 – 500g

Beans and lentils – 500 – 600g

Avocado – 750g

Meat – 1200g

Sugar – 1800g

Chocolate – 2200g

Nuts and seeds – 2600g

Fats and Oils – 4000g

 

Why is energy density for weight loss important?

 

People tend to eat a consistent weight of food rather than a consistent amount of calories.

 

This is because, as we eat and our stomachs begin to stretch which causes satiation cues to be sent to our brain telling it to switch the hunger signals off. So when there are less calories per gram of food we eat the net result is that we eat less calories overall.

 

The power of eating by energy density has been shown in a number of studies.

 

In a study conducted in Hawaii, the caloric intake of participants was reduced by 40% by having them eat more plant foods. No surprise that they lost weight eating so many fewer calories, the average weight loss in 3 weeks was 17 pounds (7.5kg)!  The kicker was that they didn’t have to reduce their food intake at all. In fact they were eating more food. They dieted without having to ‘diet’.

 

Because plant foods like fruits and vegetables are so calorically dilute it is possible to eat satisfying and pleasing portions and still lose weight.

 

And to top it all off – lower energy dense foods are usually the healthier foods – so by changing up your diet this way, not only will you lose weight, but your overall health will likely improve too.

 

Wouldn’t drinking more water be just as good?

 

You would think that since it is partly the increased water content in foods that makes them less energy dense and more satisfying, perhaps drinking a glass of water with your (more energy dense, animal food) meals, would amount to the same thing.

 

Sadly it doesn’t seem to work this way.  Studies have shown that drinking water while you eat has no effect on the calories you eat later in the day.

You are going to have to get that extra bulk from real foods.

Energy Density For Weight Loss

Decrease the energy density of your diet for weight loss

 

Now you know the secret to easy weight loss how do you go about decreasing the average energy density of the food you eat? Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet one of the simplest ways.

 

Here are some ways to do this

  1. Be conscious of the energy density of your food choices: in general whole plant foods are going to be far less energy dense than processed foods and animal foods.  Reach for low density foods first.

 

Begin your meals with lower energy density foods.  I love to start meals with a big salad.  It fills you up, plus brings a whole lot of extra nutrition to the meal.  You might also try a small bowl of vegetable soup or even a piece of fruit before tucking into your main course.  Here are some extra ways to get your greens in.

  1. Increase the amount of plants on your plate in proportion to other foods.  Make sure you always have a side dish of vegetables, leafy greens are great.  You could even have your veggie side as a starter if you like.

 

  1. Snack on low energy density foods.  Fruit and veg can make great snacks.  Not only are they nutritious but they will definitely work to fill you up and reduce the amount of calories that you will eat in your next meal.

Energy Density For Weight Loss

 

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If you would like to learn more about how you can get more fruit and veg into your diet and start seeing the weight melt off, why don’t you join Georgia’s 7-a-day fruit and veg challenge.  The challenge is aimed to help you kickstart this healthy habit by eating 7 servings of fruit or veg every day for 1 week.

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Georgia Bamber is a health and wellness advocate, writer, endurance athlete, business owner, mother and lover of good food. She hopes to spread the word about the importance of eating a plant based diet -for our own health and the health of the planet.

 

You can find her online at www.georgiabamber.com on twitter and instagram as @georgiabamber and on facebook @georgiabamber1

 

Click below to join Georgia’s challenge —>

I’m in !! Sign me up for the challenge

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