Low Energy Dense Food

Low Energy Density Food

The energy contained in food is measured in calories. Calories per gram of food is what energy density is about. Foods with smaller number of calories per gram are low energy density foods. Generally, foods that are high in water content and fiber have low energy density. It is because water and fiber add weight without adding large number of calories.  


Low Energy Dense Food and Weight

Consumption of low energy density food can help manage weight, according to research published in ‘Obesity Research’ in June 2005. Research suggests that we consume same amount or weight of food everyday but not necessarily the same number of calories. Eating a lot of low energy dense food does not take in lot of extra calories, which makes it easy to stay within daily calorie goal. It is a good strategy to eat low energy dense food to feel full while keeping calorie intake low for weight loss. Low energy density foods are healthy food. According to research published in Journal of American Dietetic Association, people who consume low energy dense food have higher quality diet than those who consume high energy density food.

Calculating energy for every food is not necessary. To keep energy   density in check, it is useful to know that foods with high water or fiber content are less energy dense. Knowing this can help make smart food choices. We can keep energy density in check significantly by increasing consumption of low energy density foods such as fruits and vegetables and decreasing high energy density food such as baked goods, processed snack foods and fast food. Below are some foods that are of low energy density and good for weight management.


Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables and fruits are low in fat and calories and high in fiber and water. Vegetables and fruits are among the least energy-dense foods available. Non-starchy vegetables such as carrots, lettuce, spinach and broccoli are lower in energy density than starchy vegetables such as corn, peas and potatoes. Fresh or frozen fruits are better choices than dried fruit or fruit juices that are higher in sugar and calorie. Filling half of the plate   with vegetables and fruits helps lower energy density, keep portion size good and feel full.


Whole Grains

Whole grains are better than refined grain as whole grains contain more fiber. There is no difference in number of calories in whole grains and refined grains. But the good thing with whole grains and fiber is that fiber helps feel full for longer. Brown rice, brown rice, whole wheat, popcorn and oatmeal are whole grains.


Lean Protein Sources

Food with high fat content are high in energy density. This is because fat yields 9 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram yielded by protein and carbohydrate. Low-fat dairy products, fish, egg whites, skinless white-meat poultry, lean meat, beans and legumes are sources of lean protein.


Mixed Dish Considerations

Soups are low in energy density as it contains lot of water. Adding fruits and vegetables to any mixed dishes is a good way to lower overall energy density.


Tips on Lowering Energy Density

  1. Replacing chips, pretzels, crackers for bell pepper slices or carrot sticks with bean dip.
  2. Eating fruits or vegetables for snacks, helps turn away from vending machine for processed foods when hunger hits.
  3. Adding peas, beans and lentils to main dishes is good. These foods are high in fiber and protein and low in calorie.
  4. Using butter, fat spread oil, fat as little as possible. Mayonnaise and reduced fat are good to go for.

Weight and hunger control get lot easier to deal with, consuming low-energy density food.

Last update: June 17, 2017 12:32:05 pm

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