How To Eat More, FEEL FULL And Lose Fat – Food Volume & Calorie Density
When it comes to dieting there are a few key concepts that are helpful to understand. Two of these are food volume and calorie density which tie in together. Understanding these will help with better food selection and hunger levels, making fat loss or weight gain phases easier.
Food volume = the physical size (volume) of the food/meal. A larger food volume will help to keep you feeling full as it will take up more physical space in your stomach and take longer to digest (see image).
Calorie density = The number of calories in a given amount of food. For example the number of calories per bite, per spoonful or the number of calories per 100g (as seen on nutrition panel labels) all describe calorie density.
See the image below which shows 200 calories from different foods. Notice the differences in food volume for the same amount of calories.
In the image above, broccoli and celery have low calorie density and trying to get 200 calories from these foods will fill you up. Peanut butter and bacon however, are calorie dense so you don’t need much food volume before you have consumed 200 calories.
The image below depicts how much space in the stomach is taken up by 500 calories from different foods. As you can see 500 calories from fruits and veggies is a large food volume and will take up much more space in your stomach, leading to a better feeling of fullness as opposed to 500 calories from oil or cheese.
Some foods are super helpful for fat loss and dieting because they have low calorie density. This means that you can eat a large volume of food for a low number of calories. This will help make you feel full so you don’t feel as hungry compared to foods that have high calorie density.
Examples include salad, vegetables, fruits such as strawberries, chobani fit yoghurt etc.
When someone is talking about eating more and losing fat this is usually what they are referring to; eating a larger volume of food by selecting foods that have low calorie density.
When someone reports “I hardly eat anything and still can’t lose weight” they are referring to food volume not the amount of calories they are consuming.
Food volume and calorie density are also important for those trying to gain weight and maximise muscle growth. If someone doesn’t feel hungry and struggles to consume enough calories then choosing foods that have high caloric density will be helpful.
The same goes for endurance athletes who require large amounts of calories to fuel their training. Sometimes choosing a more calorie dense food will be more beneficial so they are more easily able to get the fuel they need for training.
Examples include a smoothie with oats and peanut butter, granola, an oat slice bar (nearly 500kcal per serve), dark chocolate, olive oil, coconut oil, nut butters, nuts, cookies, doughnuts etc.
Use food volume and calorie density to your advantage to make dieting easier.