I feel like I have found a miracle to help me with my weight management in the form of something called low energy density foods.
What are low energy density foods? Well first a bit about energy density.
The food we eat provides us with energy and energy density is the measurement given per gram of food. Low energy density foods provide less energy per gram so it means I can eat more of them without consuming loads of calories. Opposite to that are high energy density foods, which of course have the opposite effect, I eat a little and per gram it provides a lot of calories.
Of course vegetables come under the low energy and things like doughnuts under the high energy.
I mentioned in my post on giving up portion control that I can do that by focusing my attention on low energy density foods.
Vegetable juicing is an example of a low energy density food that I consume.
Research has shown that when it comes to the amount we eat (weight) we pretty much stick to the same amount every day.
The difference is if the weight I eat is in low energy density foods it means I can consume much more without having to worry about extra calories and without feeling hungry too.
With low energy caloric density foods you get to EAT MORE rather than less.
So, for example the energy caloric density in two slices of bread and a 1kg bag of spinach is around the same. In fact the spinach is less and I get a hell of a lot more. Mix that spinach in with some seasme seeds, tomatoes, cucumber and drizzle on some tahini and it becomes a simple, filling and satisfying meal. I can eat all of that rather than just two slices of bread.
By sticking to very low and low caloric density foods (0-1.5 calories per 100 grams) and medium caloric energy density (1.5-4 calories) I can eat a healthy vaired diet. Anything over 4 is considered high.
And how do you find out the energy density of food?
That is easy. You divide the number of kcals of a food by its weight.
As an example I did the following search “kcalories in 100g of brown rice” and the Google results told me there are 111 calories
So if I ate 100 grams of rice that would be
111 kcals / 100g = 1.11 which is in the low density foods range
A large banana was next
121 kcals / 136g = 0.89 which again is in the low density
Now compare that to a doughnut
452 kcals / 100g = 4.52 food density which is in the high range
Getting to grips with my food
I know I am eating more plants and rice/quinoa so I am healthy.
I don’t have to go crazy by measuring everything. I wouldn’t even bother measuring the density levels in my vegetables, but this is really helpful if I am tempted to eat something that isn’t healthy. I can measure it out and decide whether I want to eat it or not.
Also, because there are so many variations of diets. eg. ketogenic diet that says eat large pieces of meat and plenty of fats but hardly any carbs vs Starch based diet that says no fat and plenty of carbs it can be difficult to know what to focus on.
This way I can eat everything and make sure that the majority of my foods focus on being low-density but also let myself have some high stuff too. For example, there are 624 calories in 200 grams of french fries, so 624 / 200 = 3.12 – which is a medium density food.
Although there may seem like some inital sums to do to decide I don’t mind that and am going to see where this takes me in terms of stopping me from eating junk that is bad for me! I am hoping when I work it out it will be enough to put me off.
Other sources of information
There is a great image HERE – click on the image and look at the amount you can eat of low-density foods. The two plates represent the same calories.
There is a great blog post written by Laura Geraty HERE on caloric energy and nutritent energy density. Check out what are low and medium in terms of caloric energy. This could be one reason why the Starch solution way of eating works, because most of what you can eat falls in to the low and medium brackets.
And one over at Opportunity Fitness that is also great.
I discovered the term low energy density foods as part of my nutrition course I have taken and I am so happy I have because I can use it to create my own way of eating.