The idea of eating more food while eating fewer calories may seem counterintuitive, but it’s very possible to apply this idea to daily life.
It all boils down to this fact:
► Calorie-density (the amount of calories per unit of food weight) varies from food-type to food-type.
► For example, an ounce of apple slices contains roughly 15 calories, while an ounce of cheddar cheese contains roughly 110 calories.
► You can see that each option weighs the same, but that the cheese has significantly more calories than the apple slices.
► To take this a step further, if you allocate 225 calories of food for a snack, you can eat 15 ounces of apple slices, but only 2 ounces of cheese. It is clear in this case that you will feel much fuller after eating almost a pound of apple slices compared to 2 ounces of cheese (a common amount of cheese for snacking).
Choosing foods with a low calorie-density means you can eat a lot without consuming many calories. Not feeling full after meals is a common complaint that people have when attempting to lose weight. That is why it is great to have many low calorie-dense foods available to eat. By incorporating plenty of low calorie-dense foods, you can eat to satisfaction without eating too many calories.
Examples of low calorie-density foods:
► Most fruit (especially berries)
► Whole grains (e.g. oats, quinoa, rice, and barley)
► High fiber wraps and breads
► Fat-free or low fat Greek yogurt
► Lean cuts of meat
Examples of high calorie-density foods:
► Nut butters
► Deep-fried foods
► Fatty cuts of meat (e.g. lamb, duck, chicken thighs, and rib-eye steaks)
► A lower-calorie alternative would be lean cuts of meat (e.g. cod, tilapia, sirloin steak, and chicken breast).
► Creamy dressings
► A lower-calorie alternative would be dressings that use fat-free Greek yogurt in lieu of sour cream, mayonnaise, or oil.
► Soda and fruit juice
► A no-calorie alternative would be water or flavored seltzer water. If you drink soda or fruit juice on a regular basis, substituting with water can make a profound difference in your daily caloric intake.
► A lower-calorie alternative would be water (flat or seltzer) with a little added fruit juice for flavor.
Important Note: You may notice that fat is a common factor in many calorie-dense foods (e.g. butter, nut butters, oil, mayonnaise, and fatty cuts of meat). A gram of fat contains 9 calories, while a gram of protein or carbohydrates contains 4 calories. Despite the fact that it is naturally calorie-dense, fat has an important place in a healthy diet. Dietary fat is an essential nutrient for many fundamental metabolic functions. Calorie-dense foods are not inherently bad for you, but they do need to be moderated when it comes to weight loss.
Bottom line: Eating till fullness is an important factor in a successful weight loss program. Including large amounts of low calorie-dense foods in your diet, while moderating your intake of high calorie-dense foods, ensures a greater likelihood of weight loss success because you will feel full more often.