The Recipe for Eating Well and Weighing Less

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Weight Loss and Calories

Studies show choosing foods high in water and fiber content is key to weight loss.

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.

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.

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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)

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