It is not that well-known, but it makes sense: If you want to shed the pounds, it is not just the amount of calories that matters, but above all the energy density of the food.
Have you already had painful experiences with annoying calorie counting on a diet that did not help? It is a fact that the amount of calories alone does not determine the success or failure of losing weight. It is also important how full you feel – and this is where the different energy density of foods comes into play. Because the amount of calories you eat at a meal has only a limited bearing on how full you feel afterwards.
Considered change in diet
Every healthy weight loss should start with a change in your established eating habits. So the yo-yo effect has bad cards. A crash diet can certainly be successful for a limited time and help ensure that the new summer dress fits properly. But such radical cures are unfortunately often not very sustainable. If you can find a diet that will keep you feeling full, the pounds can also melt away permanently. You don’t run the risk of being plagued by food cravings and ultimately overwhelmed.
Choosing foods based on their energy density will leave you feeling full without regrets. A growling stomach will then be a thing of the past.
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What does energy density mean in food?
The calculation is simple. To determine the energy density of a certain food, the calorie content is divided by the weight. This means that products with a lot of water and fiber often have a low energy density. On the other hand, treats with a lot of fat, sugar or starch with a high energy density make a difference.
The online pages of the Techniker Krankenkasse refer to studies and laboratory experiments which have shown that a feeling of satiety arises first and foremost from the total amount of food you eat. The amount of energy only comes second. This means that a large plate of stew will fill you up longer than a small bowl of potato chips or nuts – even though they are more calories.
The amount is crucial – you shouldn’t completely ban nuts from your diet as power packs.
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Lessons for the menu
So in order not to have to constantly live with a feeling of hunger when losing weight, you should bring as many foods as possible with a low energy density on the table. We are talking about vegetables and fruit, for example, and low-fat dairy and meat products. You can easily find precise breakdowns of the energy density of foods on the Internet.
Of course, you don’t have to do without pizza and pasta or muesli and croissants entirely, but you should cut down on the proportion of foods with a high energy density if you want to achieve weight loss. If you include lots of fresh salads and fruit in your menu, you will be full and satisfied.
It depends on a skilful combination in order to be full and to tumble the pounds. This is also supported by an analysis by the German Institute for Nutritional Research from 2014. A scientific team examined more than 2,000 studies more closely and thus verified the measurable connection between a diet with foods with a low energy density and weight loss among overweight study participants.
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Classification of food energy density
Nutritionists distinguish three levels of energy density.
We speak of a low energy density when a food contains less than 1.5 kilocalories per gram. This is for example with vegetables, salad, potatoes and many types of fruit, lean meat such as chicken or fillet, low-fat dairy products such as quark, cream cheese, yogurt are the case.
We speak of a medium energy density when a food has 1.5 to 2.5 kilocalories per gram. This is the case, for example, with cereal products such as bread, rolls and muesli, with pasta, rice and lentils, as well as with full-fat quark, yoghurt and cream cheese.
There is a high energy density when a food contains more than 2.5 kilocalories per gram. This is the case, for example, with whipped cream, butter and oil, nuts, cookies and cakes, chocolate, sweets, chips and the like. Fast foods and highly processed foods are also among those calorie bombs.
What about drinks? With them, the energy density is usually not extremely high because of the high water content. However, the saturation value of sugary drinks such as soda or cola is also not essential. Alcoholic drinks also have the effect of stimulating the appetite. That is why you are always on the safe side with water – it is the ideal thirst quencher and highly recommended and healthy. Everything else – if you want to lose weight – you should only enjoy it to a modest extent.
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You can prepare beer soup in different variations, ranging from savory and spicy to sweet and mild. You can also use beer to flavor stews and meat dishes.
Important energy for your body
Losing weight or not, your body needs the energy from the kilocalories that you consume with the proteins, fats and carbohydrates in food. However, as with any successful diet, your daily basal metabolic rate must be higher than the calorie intake. So it is definitely worth eating more foods that fill the stomach and make you really full – for the sake of slim lines and the sustainability of losing weight.
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