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The Energy Density of Food

Posted Dec 10 2008 2:52pm
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If you are one of the many people who believe you need to starve to get or stay thin it is time to change your way of thinking. Its not so much about how much you eat but what you eat. Different foods can have the same amount of calories but one will make you feel full faster and longer. For example you can eat a ceasar salad with sliced chicken or a cup and a half of pasta, veggies, and cheese and you will be ingesting about the same number of calories. The difference between them is not the calories, but the amount which you can eat before feeling full and also how long this feeling lasts for.

The amount of calories a food contains for a certain amount of volume is referred to as its energy density. If a food is “energy dense” that means that it has a lot of calories in a small amount of food. Foods considered to have a low energy density have a very low number of calories in small portions meaning that you can eat much more of them. The two main components that distinguish these two apart are water and fibre. Both are filling and do not add calories to food. Fruits and vegetables are high in both water and fibre and you can eat a lot of them without having to worry about your caloric intake. Whole wheat grains and whole wheat pastas also contain high amounts of fibre which takes your body a longer time to digest, making you feel full for a longer period of time. Dr. Susanna Holt of the University of Sydney developed a system that measures how filling a food is and called it the Satiety Index. She measured and compiled a list of the most filling foods by giving participants breakfast and asking them to measure how hungry they were every 15 minutes for the next two hours. The most filling foods were potatoes, oatmeal, oranges, apples, grapes, whole wheat bread, lentils, and bananas. Because of all these foods are also very good for you, if you are looking to fill up while slimming down, they all make great choices.

Losing weight doesnt have to make you hungry. Choosing the right kinds of foods such as fruits, vegetables, lentils, and whole grains will not only fill you up for longer periods of time but they also contain fewer calories and have more nutritional value than a lot of other foods.
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