Counting calories isn’t everything. Pay more attention to a low energy density. So you can consume more significant portions that still have little impact and keep you full for a long time.What do 100 grams of apples and 10 grams of croissants have in common? Both contain around 50 kilocalories. But the apple is much better. If you want to lose weight or maintain weight, you will do well to reach for the apple.
The energy density principle is based on this relatively simple comparison. Because how full we get from a meal does not depend on how many calories it has. Instead, the decisive factor is the amount or the volume. The US scientist Dr. Barbara Rolls found out 20 years ago in laboratory studies.
Everything Under 1.5 Is Excellent
According to the energy density principle, food is assigned to three groups:
- low energy density: less than 1.5 kilocalories per gram
- mean energy density: 1.5 to 2.5
- high energy density: over 2.5
The values are calculated by dividing the calorie content of a certain amount of food by its weight.
100 grams of apple = 50 kilocalories
50: 100 = 0.5 (energy density)
The apple, therefore, has a very low energy density.
100 grams of croissant = 500 kilocalories
500: 100 = 5 (energy density)
The croissant has a high energy density.
To lose weight or maintain weight, one should give preference to foods with a low energy density. It has been scientifically proven that this works. In an extensive literature review, scientists analyzed the data from 13 nutrition studies and concluded that if overweight people change their diet to prefer to eat foods with a low energy density, they lose weight.
Adapt Instead Of Converting
A decisive advantage of this principle: It can be easily integrated into everyday life and tailored to the habits of those who want to lose weight. “Today’s dietary recommendations are too complicated for many people and are difficult to maintain in the medium term,” says Professor Johannes Erdmann, endocrinologist, and nutritionist.
“Those who, on the other hand, eat according to the energy density principle do not have to change completely, but can even adapt their favorite dishes.” So if you like to eat pizza or pasta, you don’t have to delete them entirely from the menu despite the high energy density.
You have already gained a lot if you only eat half a serving instead of a whole and supplement the meal with a crunchy salad with a light dressing. And instead of two scoops of ice cream with whipped cream, it might be a scoop with fruit salad.
Water And Fiber Instead Of Fat
In general, fruits, vegetables, lettuce, potatoes, legumes, low-fat dairy products, and lean meat and fish have a low energy density. In addition to fats, the category with high energy density also includes sausage, fast food, and highly processed foods.
Trim fat, lots of water – that is the magic formula for a low energy density. Many foods in this category are also rich in fiber, which makes you feel full. A starter salad or a large glass of water before a meal is therefore ideal.
“On the other hand, you should avoid sugary drinks such as lemonades or juices,” says Professor Anja Bossy-Westphal, nutritionist at the University of Kiel. You don’t have to do without nuts or fatty fish.
Ultimately, there should be plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit, healthy fats, as little sugar as possible, and almost no ready-made products on the menu. Then obesity shouldn’t be a problem at all.