The Recipe for Eating Well and Weight Loss

Armen Hareyan's picture

Weight Loss and Food

Studies show choosing foods high in water and fiber content is key

As many people search labels for low amounts of everything from fat grams to calories, a recent scientific review says there are two nutrients that serve them well in high quantities, water and fiber, the main characteristics of low-energy density foods 1.

Recent news is consistent with Weight Watchers communication: eating foods with fewer calories per volume, scientifically termed "low-energy density" foods, may actually help achieve sustainable weight loss. While the term low-energy density sounds scientific and complicated, the concept is quite simple: make "smarter" food choices, and one can eat enough food to not feel deprived and still lose weight. The secret weapon of these foods is their ability to provide eating satisfaction and to create a feeling of fullness without a lot of calories.

How? First of all, low-energy density foods tend to be loaded with water, air or fiber, which adds calorie-free volume to food, and has a big impact on how much of a food one eats. In other words, it makes one feel satisfied with fewer calories. Secondly, these foods are typically lower in fat, a notorious source of "hidden" calories.

A common example of where one can make wise choices is breakfast foods. Grapes are a better choice than raisins because they contain more water and have a lower energy density; and a cup of hot oatmeal has a much lower energy density than a cup of granola due to its higher water content.


Other examples of foods low in energy density are:

  • Vegetables such as celery, cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes

  • Fresh fruits such as pears, berries and melons (not dried or dehydrated fruits)

  • Non-creamy soups such as bean soups, veggie soups, broths

  • Cooked grains such as oatmeal, brown rice and couscous

Other examples of foods with a high-energy density include:

  • Pretzels, chips and crackers
  • Fried foods
  • Nuts
  • Sugary snacks

"Focusing on low-energy density foods increases eating satisfaction with fewer calories, an important element in achieving sustainable weight loss," said Karen Miller-Kovach, M.S., R.D., Chief Scientist at Weight Watchers International, Inc. "And, in addition to the weight loss benefits, incorporating wholesome, less-processed foods is good for your overall health and well-being."

Weight Watchers has put its years of experience and scientific study into learning what works for healthy, maintainable weight loss, and the new TurnAround