You know what I find to be just so cool about food? It’s as if Mother Nature built a system for classifying how healthy the foods are right into the food itself! Actually, she built in a few of them… but for today, I just want to focus on one – the food density rating.
The concept is simple: ‘energy density’ is the amount of energy (or calories) per gram of food.
Every food has an energy density rating. Foods like candy and junk food have a high energy density. This means that a small amount of these foods has a relatively high number of calories. But foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products have a low energy density, meaning they allow you to eat a large amount of food for a relatively low number of calories. This is mainly accounted for by the high fiber and water content of low energy density foods. Foods with a low energy density provide more volume and take longer to digest, leaving you feeling satisfied for longer on fewer calories.
Low energy density foods include foods with a high water content, such as soups and stews, foods like pasta and rice that absorb water during cooking, and foods that are naturally high in water, such as fruit and vegetables and low fat starchy foods like rice and pasta. Fiber in foods like whole grains and potatoes with skin can also help to reduce energy density. High energy density foods tend to include foods that are high in fat and have a low water content, for example biscuits and confectionery, crisps, peanuts, butter and cheese.
You probably won’t know what the food density rating is on many of the foods you eat (it was that way for us too for a bit!), but it’s easy enough to figure out through a simple trip to the library or Google search. If the foods you are choosing have a high energy density, then maybe that might explain those tummy cramps after eating or that bloated feeling as your food digests.
The solution i simple: choose lower density foods to help your body process the foods that you eat… your tummy will thank you!