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Eating Less And Feeling Full

Contributed by: NAPSA

(NAPSA) - Like many women my age, I have to watch what I eat so that I don't gain weight (even though I also exercise daily). This means having just moderate portions of most foods, and pretty small portions of high calorie indulgences like ice cream or chocolate. My challenge is finding foods that fill me up without piling on a lot of calories. Barbara J. Rolls, Ph.D., author of Volumetrics and a nutrition professor and researcher at The Pennsylvania State University, has a solution-Eat foods that have a low energy density. Here's what she means.

Energy Density Explained

Energy density (ED) is the amount of energy, or number of calories, in a given weight of food. Foods with high water content, like fruits and vegetables, soups, and milk, tend to have the lowest ED. So do foods high in fiber, like legumes (kidney beans, lentils, split peas, and other peas and beans) and whole grain cereals and breads. Chocolate, oils, dried fruits, and pretzels are just a few foods that have a high ED. To figure out the ED of a food, look at the Nutrition Facts on the label and divide the number of calories by the number of grams in a serving. For example, a cup of skim milk supplies 80 calories and weighs 240 grams. Its ED is 80 240, or 0.33. An ED less than 1.0 is considered low; ED can go up to 9.

Eat Less And Feel Full

Dr. Rolls' research has shown that eating lower density foods helps people eat fewer calories. In one study, Dr. Rolls served a lunch of either a casserole (higher ED) plus a glass of water to drink or a soup made from the same casserole plus added water (lower ED). The soup eaters ate fewer calories, were not as hungry later, and did not make up for the missing calories at dinner. "The water in the soup made it a more filling meal," explains Dr. Rolls. You can eat lower ED foods at other meals also. "To lower energy density at breakfast, have cereal with milk rather than toast plus a glass of milk," says Rolls.

Ask Mindy

Q: Most packages of meat are not labeled. Is the energy density of meat high or low? Sue, Tulsa, OK

A: The ED of sirloin steak is about 2.1. In comparison, farmed salmon is 2.0 and chicken breast is 1.7. These numbers are in the moderate range. You can lower the energy density of a meal by adding plenty of vegetables.

Low Energy Density Breakfast

  • 3/4 cup Whole Grain Total
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 6 oz. orange juice

255 calories, 422 grams
E.D. = 0.6

High Energy Density Breakast

  • 1/2 large bagel
  • 1 Tbsp. cream cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. jam

252 calories, 90 grams
E.D. = 2.8


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