Most people think a calorie is a calorie, right? You know, 200 calories of salad is still 200 calories, so it must be the same as 200 calories of chips.
You guys are too smart for that.
Calories are the most important factor to measure of your food if your goal is weight maintenance or weight loss. A lot of people say 1 pound of fat = 3,500 calories. These are excess calories, and most reason that it doesn’t matter if they’re from protein, fat, or carbs. This is a very basic measure of what it takes to lose weight. However, what really should be your concern is how you ate those calories.
The nutrient density of your food refers to how many nutrients you’re getting per calorie. It’s the ratio of nutrient content to energy content. Nutrient-dense foods are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, etc, but low in calories. They’re stuffed full of the “good stuff”.
You want to be eating foods with a very HIGH nutrient density — it’s a better way to spend your daily calories. So, 200 calories of these foods are actually better for you than 200 calories of foods with a low nutrient density.
Now, calories are still calories. Excess calories are still excess weight in the long run. However, eating more nutrient dense foods will keep you full and satisfied, resulting in less calories consumed overall.
Luckily nutrient density is easy to find online. You can google “nutrient density of ___” and find at least an estimate of it in seconds. If that doesn’t work, their “ANDI score” is the measure of their nutrient density, so try that.
Here are some important ANDI scores to know. Remember, The higher the number, the better!
What’s your favorite nutrient dense food?
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