The idea of being able to eat more and lose weight may sound like an impossible diet gimmick, but there are certain foods that can make you feel more full while providing fewer calories. Learning about the energy density of food really can allow you to lose weight while enjoying a higher volume of food.
What is energy density?
All foods contain a certain number of calories within a given volume. Foods that contain more calories per bite are said to be “high in energy density.” On the other hand, foods that contain fewer calories in the same sized bite are said to be “low in energy density.” For example, one serving of vegetables will typically contain fewer calories than the same serving size of candy. Although you’re eating the exact same amount of each food, you’re taking in fewer calories from the vegetables. The vegetables are low in energy density and the candy is high in energy density.
What does this have to do with weight loss? If you focus on eating low energy density foods, you’ll be able to eat more food and feel more satisfied, while taking in fewer calories than if you were eating high energy density foods. As a result, you’ll be able to lose weight without constantly feeling like you’re hungry.
What foods have low energy density?
As a general rule, foods that are have high water and fiber content and low fat content are going to have a lower energy density than foods that are high in fat and have very little fiber and water. Vegetables, fruits, whole-grain carbohydrates, and lean protein sources generally have a low energy density. On the other hand, most candies, desserts, and processed or packaged foods tend to have a high energy density.