Calorie Density is a real game changer for health and weight loss. The more calorically dense a food is, the less room it takes up in your stomach for a given number of calories, so the more calories you’ll need to eat before you feel full. Clearly, caloric density is an important concept to understand for nutrition and weight loss. Calorie density is basically the amount of calories in a certain weight, say a pound, of food. Based on the same number of calories, you can eat a much larger portion of a low-calorie dense food than a high-calorie dense food, even consuming more food for fewer calories, thus feeling more satisfied and full. Typically, people eat about the same amount of food, by weight, every day. So, if that intake is made up of lower calorie density foods, you can eat more and consume fewer calories, and get more nutrition as well. Dr. Joel Fuhrman has suggested a simple formula for health—basically, “health equals nutrients divided by calories” (H = N/C, meaning that the most nutrients in the fewest amount of calories leads to the healthiest diet.
If you eat exclusively from the types of whole plant foods that have the lowest caloric density, those with 600 or fewer calories per pound (the ones above the line in the list below), you are almost guaranteed to lose weight while still feeling full and satisfied. So don’t watch your calories, have all you want of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes–as long as you eat above the line!
Approximate Caloric Density Comparison:
Vegetables – 100 calories per pound
Fruits – 300 calories per pound
Unrefined complex carbohydrates, potatoes, whole grains, legumes – 400-600 calories per pound
Avocados – 750 calories per pound
Refined complex carbohydrates, breads, etc.– 1,200 calories per pound
Sugar – 1,800 calories per pound
Chocolate – 2,500 calories per pound
Nuts and seeds – 2,800 calories per pound
Oil – 4,000 calories per pound
Once you understand the concept of calorie density, you can see how a small amount of oil can increase your calorie intake dramatically, without adding much to satiation and nutrition. See my Health post on Oil http://table-karma.com/oil-is-all-oil-evil/. Avocados, nuts and seeds are good whole foods and good healthy sources of fat, but anyone trying to lose weight should restrict these food as it would be so easy to consume too many calories and not end up feeling full and satisfied. Just a half cup of mashed avocado has about 180 calories. For the same amount of calories, you could have a baked potato and a a cup of vegetables! Adding a little avocado may taste great, but a small serving of avocado is not going to keep you as satisfied as a much larger portion of broccoli, plus a baked potato. So, use this information, make good choices and stay nourished, happy and full and still lose weight!