We use calorie density to describe the number of in a given weight or volume of food. If you understand how it works, it can help you lose weight and also improve your diet. So, focusing on low-calorie-dense foods permits you to consume a large volume of food while also cutting back on calories.
There are many health benefits in this, including weight loss and increased nutrient intake. In this article, you will learn everything about calorie density.
What is the Meaning of Calorie Density?
Calorie density is defined as a measure of calorie content of food relative to its volume or weight. It is also known as energy density, usually measured as calories/100g of food.
Consuming foods with a low calorie density can help you in your weight loss routine. This makes you automatically consume fewer calories while eating large and filling portions.
A vegetable containing 30 calories per 100g has a low density, while the chocolate containing 550 calories per 100g has a very high calorie density.
Though, people may be less familiar with calorie density than the other weight management strategies like calorie counting, choosing your food based on this measure may be simpler and even more effective.
For instance, if you base your diet on low-calorie-dense foods, it may reduce your food options in a positive way because it will limit you to predominantly nutrient-rich and healthy foods. It can help you to quickly clean up your diet, thereby eliminating most calorie-dense, processed foods that are popularly known to be unhealthy and easy to overeat.
How Calorie Density Affects Weight?
In weight gain, eating too much calories is a key factor. Different studies have shown that people who consume low-calorie-dense diets also consume fewer calories per day in total. This can also be linked with lower body weight, waist circumference and body mass index (BMI).
According to studies, those who eat diets made of high-calorie-dense foods are at increased risk of obesity and weight gain. Low-calorie-dense foods tend to have more fiber and water, along with less fat. This is good to help you feel full and at the same time reducing you daily calorie consumption.
In contrast, those high-calorie-dense foods are extremely processed and highly palatable. As we all know, they are quite easy to overeat.
Research shows that natural and whole foods help signal the brain to stop eating, while this effect is greatly delayed when you are eating highly processed foods.
A Low-Calorie-Dense Diet Helps You Lose Weight
For several reasons, a low-calorie-dense diet is very perfect for weight loss. For the starters, it focuses on the natural, whole foods and also limits your intake of processed foods.
It is normally combined with the increased intake of vegetables, fruit and protein. All of these have been shown to help in weight loss by reducing the total calorie intake per day or per meal. A low-calorie-dense diet can also fill your plate as it helps with hunger, since your stomach senses the amount of food you have consumed in a meal. It also meal last longer and forces you to eat more, thereby further increasing your feeling of fullness.
In a particular study, participants lost an average of 7.7kg (17 lbs) after switching their high-calorie-dense fats to low-calorie-dense vegetables and fruits for one year.
So, the results from five years observational study showed that men and women who eat low-calorie-dense diets had significantly lower measurements of BMI and waist circumference.
A Low-Calorie-Dense Diet Can Improve Your Health
A low-calorie-dense diet forces you to overhaul your diet and make different positive change. All these changes benefit your health for a very long-term.
A low-calorie-dense diet includes:
- More healthy food: You will consume more highly nutritious, low-calorie foods.
- Less processed food: Your processed and unhealthy food intake will be reduced.
- More nutrients: A low-calorie-dense diet helps you to eat more antioxidant and micronutrient-rich vegetables and fruits.
- More lean proteins: These can help you with weight loss and also benefit you in other several ways.
- Reduced calorie intake: If you are overweight, reducing your calorie intake and losing weight is among the best ways you can improve your health.
- A well-balanced and sustainable diet: This method of eating shows you to focus on low-calorie and healthier foods while not totally forcing you to eliminate other food groups or foods forever.
The Foods With Low Calorie Density
Aside from the healthy high-fat foods like olive oil and nuts, most natural foods have low calorie density. They include:
- Fruits: Because of their high fiber and water content, they have a very low calorie density. Berries and many other watery fruits tend to be very low in density.
- Fish and meat: Lean proteins like white fish, turkey and chicken have a low calorie density, yet the fattier fish and meats have moderate-to-high calorie density.
- Vegetable: They have a very low calorie density. Several of green vegetables have the lowest calorie density out of all foods, because they a mainly made up of fiber, water and very small amount of carbs.
- Eggs: The whole eggs are super food packed with protein and are very low in calorie density, especially when you combine them with vegetables. Read how to prepare egg
- Yogurt and milk: Reduced-fat yogurts and milk without an added sugar also have a low calorie density and can provide a good source of protein.
- Sugar-free drinks: Beverages like tea, coffee, water and other sugar-free drinks have low calorie density and can help you full.
- Starchy carbs: Natural starchy carbs like legumes, potatoes and other root vegetables can contain a low-to-moderate calorie density.
So, out of different diets around, the eating plan based on foods with a low calorie density is one of the most effective and sensible. It is also quite easy to understand and implement. A low-calorie-dense unlike diets that only focus on excluding food groups allows you to consume all foods while you simply shift attention towards healthy, whole foods.
Low calorie density foods help you to feel less hungry and be able to eat a large volume of healthy, whole foods. If you can base 90% of your food intake on low calorie density foods, you will easily reduce your calorie intake and lose weight with little or no effort.