Nutrient Density the Importance of Eating Nutrient Dense Foods
When it comes down to structuring a diet there are many variables and options to consider. However there is one universal rule among them all, You need a calorie deficit to lose weight. Now a question we are getting a lot is what kind of foods are the best to fill out our daily calorie requirements.
Energy Dense vs Nutrient Dense
Identifying the differences between these two types of food can be very important and can often be the difference between a successful diet and one that fails. The majority of the food in the western world is considered ‘energy rich – nutrient poor’ meaning generally our foods are macro nutrient filled but lacking in vital micro nutrients.
Energy Dense foods are mainly going to be your macronutrient rich foods. Macronutrients being Carbohydrates, Fats and Proteins. The flip side to that are your micronutrient dense foods.Mainly foods that not only provide macro nutrients, but also a host of micro nutrients filled with vitamins and minerals.
What are the benefits of Micro Nutrient Rich Foods
The easy answer: You’ll be full! We all know the feeling of downing that 5$ Footlong, burger and fry or slize of Za only to have our stomach grumbling soon thereafter! Why is that? Often these foods pack a whollup of calories! Well you got a good dose of macronutrients (carbs protein fat) but very little in way of micronutrients. Now if you were to have taken the same amount of calories let’s say in dark leafy green or broccoli and some chicken or other source of protein and a sweet potato. We can guarantee that you would not be able to reach the same amount of calories as the fast food option.
This phenomenon comes in two parts, one we have to look at the palatability of the foods. Think of a smoked and salted peanut, eating the whole container is a pretty easy feat, now take that same peanut without the salt or smoked texture and let us know if you can eat the same amount. See when a food isn’t all that palatable our stomachs are pretty good at sending the ‘okay were full’ signal. But now our foods are actually designed and prepared to be ultra-palatable. Don’t believe me order anything off the cheesecake factory menu…
Now the second side to this very same coin is that when we eat a nutrient rich food compared to an empty calorie food. Our bodies still require vitamins and minerals and since they didn’t receive that with the empty calorie foods our bodies will continue to send that hunger signal. The best representation of this is that many inner city populations where fast-food is truly the only sources of food are obese; but they are also malnourished!
Choosing the Right Calories
If you wish to truly be successful in your diet we recommend doing some research and finding some nutrient rich foods that you like and look forward to eating. May I recommend a baked sweet potato with cinnamon & pumpkin spice. Finding nutrient dense foods can be the key to you staying full and crushing cravings when on a calorie restricted diet.