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Energy Gap Weight-loss Option May Be the Easiest Thing You Can Do About Your Weight

Tim Boyer's picture
Sensible energy gap steps for stopping weight gain.

Here’s how one dietician believes that the obesity epidemic can be stabilized to help prevent people from gaining any extra weight.


According to a recent news release issued by the New Zealand Food & Grocery Council, food and nutrition expert Nikki Hart will help dieters understand their obesity through a series of videos about why some people are getting fatter and what kinds of simple strategies they can implement to help prevent additional weight gain.

VIDEO: Energy gap offers easier weight-loss option

Summary of the Energy Gap Option

According to Ms. Hart, the key to preventing additional weight gain is to create what she refers to as an “energy gap.” Ms. Hart explains that the global increase in weight gain is subsequent to the fact that the average person is moving less these past 2 decades than he or she did previously because of our developing modern lifestyle.

“Humans are physiologically designed to move a lot—but we don’t. And we are not designed to under-eat, so we cannot balance our body weight with a low level of movement. We need what is called an ‘energy gap,’ ” says Ms. Hart who explains that an energy gap―essentially the difference between calories consumed and calories burned―can be created in two ways:

1. Increased exercise such as using a pedometer to add an extra 2,500 steps each day.

2. Swapping out a high energy food item for one that is less energy dense.

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“There are lots of ways we can create an ‘energy gap’, or deficit. The combined effect of being a little more active and swapping some higher-energy foods for lower-energy options, or choosing smaller portions, make a big impact over time. Because everyone is different, it’s about finding the changes that suit your food preferences and lifestyle.”

“However, the small changes are not enough to maintain significant weight loss, but they could prevent additional weight gain in adults and in children,” says Ms. Hart. Furthermore, Ms. Hart points out that food restriction alone is not an effective long-term way to manage weight. But rather, that making small changes such as the aforementioned ones, are what can make managing your weight a real possibility.

She also emphasizes that one way to help fight obesity and put a stop to its rising rate is to do your part by influencing companies with sensible food demands such as downsizing food products so that people will eat fewer calorie-dense foods and thereby come closer to achieving an energy gap balance.

“If we can encourage consumers to move toward better behaviors around food, then the industry will move into that direction too,” says Ms. Hart who proposes that one change would be to change the average beverage serving size from 350 milliliters to 250 milliliters.

“The emphasis, I believe, should be on helping people make healthy choices around food and lifestyle,” says Ms. Hart.

In her next video, which is expected to be launched early next year, Ms. Hart will discuss topics that include snacks and treats, smart shopping for healthier foods, and eating to live healthier for longer.

For more about how swapping out a high energy food item for one that is less energy dense can help with your weight management, here is an informative article on how downsizing your food is recommended for successful weight loss.

Reference: Press Release New Zealand Food & Grocery Council (FGC) “Energy gap offers easier weight-loss option