C is for Caloric Density

One blueberry contains one calorie. 

A Calorie is a unit of measure. It’s a measure of energy the body gets from a certain food. 

Awareness of the calories in food matters. Eating excess calories means extra work to metabolize the extra energy and store it as fat. We can only use what we need. If we don’t expend the energy, we carry it around with us. If our bodies could talk back to us! 

The real concept to get is caloric density, the measure of calories relative to weight or volume. Another word we use is “fattening”. 

Three key things to know

Foods composed of fat, are more calorically dense.

PROTEIN and CARBOHYDRATES have half the calories (4 cals/gram), whereas FATS have 9 cals/gram. So fats have more than twice the energy in calories. It’s not necessary to avoid them, as some are healthy fats, and they add satiety to foods. It makes sense to be aware of portions of these foods. Examples are butter, nuts, seeds, avocado, oils, meat and dairy, snack foods and deserts.

Caloric density sneaks into our foods via processing, and preparation. 

Caloric density is most often added to our food, in the form of fats and concentrated carbohydrate. Foods in restaurants are made to delight our tastes, often prepared with added oil or fried, rich sauces and butter. Most store-bought processed foods contain added fat and sugar. Read the label on snack foods, baked goods, deserts, cereals, energy bars, you see the added ingredients. These all add to caloric density.

Choosing foods lower in caloric density means we can enjoy more food.

These are what I call real food, the whole plant foods, the vegetables, fruits, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, grains, peas, lentils, beans. These LOW caloric density foods are high in WATER and FIBER. When you eat these foods you take in less calories. You can add healthy fats, butter and seasonings to these foods and you’ll still come out ahead.

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I’m Jenifer,

As a certified life coach with a lifelong interest in health and fitness, I’ve studied the struggle. I’ve also studied the connection of body and mind and how they work together to amplify our well-being. 

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