We all know that we should eat more fruit and vegetables, but do you really know why it is so important?
I think most of us think of the vitamins and minerals in fruit and vegetables when we think of why they are so good for us, however this is just part of the picture! When it comes to weight loss / maintenance (and disease prevention) the energy denseness of food plays a vitally important part. Energy density relates to the number of calories in food versus the weight of the food. For example:
- 100g bar of chocolate = 520 calories (High Energy Density)
- 100g of apple = 52 calories (Low Energy Density)
It’s easy to determine which foods have high energy density and should be limited! Energy dense foods tends to have:
- very little water
- high fat content
- usually processed / manufactured
Fruit and vegetables on the other hand have loads of water, and very little fat making them low in energy density!
How Hunger Works
Energy Density can help control hunger! One of the mechanisms used is when the stomach is full, a signal is sent to the brain to tell you to stop eating. One of the problems with energy dense foods such as chocolate and crisps is that you can eat an awful lot of them before you begin to feel full.
Because the volume (bulk) of the food you eat directly affects how full you feel, its imperative you consume plenty of vegetables and fruit (Low energy density foods) every day.
Fruit is usually much more energy dense than vegetables, meaning that when you aim for your 5 a day, you really should focus more on vegetables. It’s very interesting to note that Kaizen Active have NEVER ever had a client approach us for weight loss who eats a lot of vegetables, but we do often have clients approach us for weight loss who eat 2-3 pieces of fruit a day. makes you think….
Did you know?
Not only is being overweight awful for confidence, increases your risk of heart attacks, diabetes and depression (to name but a few), it also significantly increases your risk of developing a number of different cancers!
Below are The World Cancer Research Funds recommendations for reducing your risk of getting cancer. You will notice that Kaizen Active’s own nutrition guidelines are very similar – that’s because not only do we want to help people lose weight, we want to help them avoid diseases where possible too!
Click the link to get more information and some great practical tips for improving the Energy Density of your food. Just a few simple swaps could make all the difference!
Summary and Next Steps
Put simply, eating too much energy dense food makes us far more likely to consume more calories than we need which in turn leads to gaining weight / having difficulty losing weight. Sadly, the range of processed / convenience foods we have available nowadays makes this more likely to be the rule than the exception.
Energy density directly affects how many calories you will consume, and how many calories you consume will directly affect your weight! In my opinion, I don’t think its possible to lose weight and keep it off, or maintain your body weight unless you eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, so if you don’t do this already you better make some changes!
Take Action: Increase the amount of vegetables (and to a lesser extent fruit) that you eat! Start small by adding side salads and fruit, or decreasing your evening meal potatoes / rice /pasta and adding some steamed / microwaveable veg! Try focusing on this one area for a month and see what a difference it makes for you!
And just incase you need a little extra motivation: Swapping a chocolate bar for an apple very day could save you over 100 calories a day. Over the course of a year that’s a weight loss of over 10lbs from one simple swap!