Feeling satisfied with fewer calories? Then foods that make you feel full,may appear to be another another weight-loss trick, but it isn’t. The principle of energy density can truly help you lose weight.
Indeed, well-designed weight-loss programmes, such as the Mayo Clinic Diet, rely on the principle of energy density to help you lose weight and keep it off in the long run.
Simply put, the number of calories (energy) in a given amount of food is referred to as energy density. A high energy density indicates that a small amount of food has a large number of calories. Low energy density refers to the number of calories in a given amount of food.
When you’re trying to lose weight, you want to eat foods that are low in energy density. That is, you want to eat more low-calorie food in a larger quantity. This allows you to feel fuller while eating less calories.
Here’s a brief illustration using raisins and grapes. Raisins have a high energy density, with roughly 434 calories per cup. Grapes have a modest caloric density, with roughly 82 calories per cup.
The secrets of weight loss and increased energy density
There are three key factors that influence whether food has a high or low energy density:
Water and fibre are abundant in fruits and vegetables, providing volume and weight but not calories. It’s for this reason that they’re low-energy foods. Grapefruit, for example, is almost entirely made up of water.
A half grapefruit contains only 37 calories. Carrots are around 88 percent water when they are raw and fresh. Only approximately 25 calories are in a medium carrot.
High-fiber foods give volume while also taking longer to digest, allowing you to feel fuller for longer while consuming fewer calories. Fiber can be found in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
Popcorn is a wonderful example of a whole grain with a high volume but low calorie content. A cup of air-popped popcorn contains around 30 calories.
The energy density of fat is considerable. For example, one pat of butter has nearly the same number of calories as two cups of raw broccoli. Meals that naturally include fat, such as dairy and different meats, as well as foods with added fats, have more calories than their leaner or lower fat equivalents.
The food pyramid and energy density
It’s never simple to change one’s lifestyle patterns, and developing an eating plan based on the energy-density principle is no exception. The first step is to figure out which foods have the highest energy density.
The energy density of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid categories is shown below.
The majority of veggies have a low calorie count but a large volume or weight. Water is found in most plants, which offers weight without calories. Salad greens, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, and zucchini are among examples.
Instead of meat or cheese sauce, top your spaghetti with sauteed vegetables to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Reduce the amount of meat on your plate while increasing the amount of vegetables.
Vegetables can be added to your sandwiches. Raw veggies can be eaten as a snack.
Almost any sort of fruit can be included in a balanced diet. However, some fruits have fewer calories than others. Fruits that are whole, frozen, or canned without syrup are all wonderful choices.
Fruit juices and dried fruits, on the other hand, are concentrated sources of natural sugar with a high energy density – more calories — and don’t fill you full as much.
Add blueberries to your breakfast cereal to get extra fruits into your diet. Serve mango or peach slices with peanut butter and honey on whole-wheat bread. Alternatively, put some peach and mandarin orange pieces into a salad.
Keep entire fruit in a bowl or in the refrigerator and eat it whenever you like.
Many carbs, such as cereal, rice, bread, and pasta, are either grains or manufactured from grains. Because whole grains are higher in fibre and other key nutrients, they are the ideal choice.
Choose whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, oatmeal, brown rice, and whole-grain cereal instead of refined grains to emphasise whole grains. Keep an eye on portion sizes because many carbs have a higher energy density.
Dairy and protein
These include both plant and animal-based foods. Foods strong in protein but low in fat and calories, such as legumes (beans, peas, and lentils, which are also healthy sources of fibre), fish, skinless white-meat chicken, fat-free dairy products, and egg whites, are the healthiest lower energy-dense options.
While all fats are abundant in energy, some are healthier than others. Incorporate healthful monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats into your diet in tiny amounts. Healthy fats can be found in nuts, seeds, and oils including olive, flaxseed, and safflower.
Sweets, like fats, usually have a high energy density. Sweets that are low in added fat and contain nutritious ingredients like fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy are good choices.
Fresh fruit topped with low-fat yoghurt, a whole-wheat cookie, or a scoop of low-fat ice cream are all good examples.
Keep the serving size minimal and the contents nutritious when it comes to sweets. Even a modest piece of dark chocolate can help you lose weight.