Caloric density – the key to weight-loss success!

Apologies for the previous, not-exactly-informative post. My son Mitchell, who generally favours brevity above clarity in conversations, decided I’d said all I needed to and hit the Publish button. What was that about never working with children and animals?

As I was saying…

As Louise commented in her post earlier today, one of the most magical things about a diet based on unrefined plant foods is that it facilitates almost effortless weight loss. The scientific principle behind this magic trick is caloric density. So what’s caloric density? It’s simply a measurement of the calories/kilojoules per gram of a particular food. Foods with a high water and fibre content, but a low fat content, have low caloric density. They provide fewer calories per serving, meaning that you can have bigger servings, or more servings, without taking in excessive calories. Giving foods with low caloric density centre stage on your plate is the most effective long-term weight management strategy there is. Interestingly, researchers have found that people tend to eat the same weight of food each day regardless of the composition of the diet, so choosing foods that have fewer calories per gram is obviously going to lead to lower calorie intake, and therefore weight loss.

Here is the caloric density of some representative foods, in kcalories per 100 g:

Celery                             12

Lettuce                           15

Asparagus                     20

Kidney beans               29

Broccoli                          30

Sweet potato                 76

Apple                                83

Banana                              90

Canned tuna                100

Bread                               248

French fries                  274

Macaroni & cheese    380

Cheddar cheese          392

Bacon                              588

Oil (any kind)               900

Get the picture? Vegetables, fruits and legumes have very low caloric density, so you can eat as much of them as you like without fear of exceeding your calorie needs. Fortunately, these foods are also high in nutrient per calorie density… but that’s a post for another day.

(BTW we had leftover Super Seed Burgers for dinner).

Visit my website for more info and great recipes.


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