If you want to achieve your ideal weight, you MUST understand this concept.
Has trying to lose weight ever left you hungry, irritable, and/or confused? Do you have a difficult time being consistent with counting calories or figuring out the correct portion sizes of various foods? You’re not alone. The standard “dieting” concept of eating less and exercising more is a zero sum game. Sure, you can simply reduce the amount of food you eat and blast off a few pound on the treadmill for a while, but sooner or later the hunger, mood swings, and fatigue will catch up to you, and you’ll end up right back to square one … or even worse off.
Luckily, there is an easier way to think about healthy eating, sustainable weight management, and nutrition that takes the frustration as well as hunger off the plate. It’s called “calorie density,” and it puts the focus on WHAT you’re eating much more so than HOW MUCH.
Simply put, calorie density refers to the amount of calories by weight of food (in this case, calories per pound). The lower the calorie density, the greater volume of food you can eat compared to higher calorie dense foods while eating the same amount of calories. So for example, a pound of leafy greens would have fewer calories and take up significantly more volume in your stomach than a pound of cheese, oil or meat. The beautiful part is that foods with lower calorie density, veggies, starchy veggies, intact whole grains or legumes, generally have a much higher nutrient density as well, which means you intake more nutrients with each bite! The more nutritionally satisfied you are, more infrequent your cravings will be.
How does this work? It turns out that our bodies are actually pre-programmed to eat about the same amount of food by weight on a daily basis. So by choosing foods that are lower in calorie density, you can get your daily weight of food while consuming fewer calories.
Another benefit of using the calorie density approach to eating is that foods lower on the calorie density scale are full of water and fiber, which means you’ll be able to eat a satisfying amount of them without worrying about how many calories they contain. Also known as “volumetrics,” eating high volumes of these calorie-poor but nutrient-dense foods lets you actually eat MORE than you might be used to while keeping calories low!
Remember the following principles:
- Hunger & Satiety: Choose foods that are low in calorie density so whenever you are hungry you can eat until you are comfortably full. Don’t starve and don’t stuff yourself. And remember to be mindful of your eating…feeling stuffed can sneak up on you if you aren’t paying attention.
- Start with Foods with Low Calorie Density: By starting all of your meals with a salad, soup and/or fruit you are choosing low calorie but high nutrition foods first before moving on to foods that will contribute more to your overall calorie load.
- Don’t Drink Your Calories: Avoid empty liquid calories. Eat/chew your calories, don’t drink them. Liquids have little if any satiety so they do not fill you up as much as solid foods of equal calories. Smoothies made with veggies, fruits and superfoods such as those found in trusii products would be an exception to this rule. tru.fuel, tru.meal and tru.juice.gr are nutrient dense but low in calorie density, which makes them an excellent choice for a snack or meal.
- Crowd Out the High Calorie Dense Foods: Lower the calorie density of your meals by filling 1/2 your plate (by visual volume) with intact whole grains, starchy vegetables and/or legumes and the other half with vegetables and/or fruit. By filling your plate this way there will be little room or need for foods higher on the density scale.
- Be Aware of the Impact of Vegetablesvs HighFat Foods: Vegetables are the lowest in calorie density while fat and oil are the highest. While a small amount of oil daily such as tru.blend can be incredibly beneficial to your health, adding too much extra oil or high fat food products to your meals (in the form of oily salad dressings or cooking oils) will always raise the overall calorie density of a meal. On the other hand, adding more vegetables to any dish will LOWER that meal’s caloric density! Pay special attention when adding salad dressings.
- Practice Moderation With Healthy But Higher Calorie Dense Foods: Limit (or avoid) foods that are higher in calorie density (dried fruit, high fat plant foods, processed grains, etc.). If you use them, incorporate them into meals that are made up of low calorie dense foods and think of them as a condiment to the meal. For example, add a few slices of avocado added to a large salad or a few walnuts or raisins into a bowl of oatmeal and fruit.
Overall, with the Calorie Density Approach to eating, you can eliminate the need for calorie counting. After all, most healthy people don’t carry around measuring cups or a scale with them wherever they go! You’ll eliminate the frustration of over-analyzing your food, and you’ll feel satisfied throughout most of the day! By keeping your diet focused on foods with low caloric densities, you can eat amazing, nutritious foods, feel great, lose weight and improve your health all at the same time.
Feel free to share how you plan to or already do incorporate this approach into your life or any comments/questions you might have. Enjoy your day!