Energy density is defined as the amount of calories that a specific volume of food provides. The goal is to maximize the volume of food while maintaining or minimizing the number of calories. For instance, compare a 144 gram breakfast of two (2) chocolate doughnuts versus a 450 gram breakfast consisting of ¾ cup high fiber cereal with sliced bananas, 1 cup fresh fruit, one scrambled egg, 1 turkey sausage link, 1 slice whole wheat toast, and a teaspoon of jam. Both breakfast are 500 calories, but the energy density is only 1.1 calories/gram (500 calories ÷ 450 gram volume) for the larger, more substantial breakfast whereas the doughnuts are 3.5 calories/gram (500 calories ÷ 144 gram volume).
Which breakfast would hold you longer and help you feel more satisfied? Well, if you selected that bigger one then you may be on your way to successful and sustainable weight loss regimen since research consistently supports the utilization of low energy density intake for weight loss. At The Rite Bite, the dietitians could not agree more with this philosophy.
Your overall dietary pattern and intake is more important than elimination or avoidance of certain foods. Check out this press release from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
-Larissa Brophy, MS, RD, LD
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