Many of you know already that I love fruit. That’s where I get most of my calories. Same goes for my family.
And as you’ve seen in my before and after photos, all that fruit and all those extra calories are definitely not making me fat.
What’s going on? Science can tell us…
Researchers added three apples or pears to test subjects’ daily diets. Logically, we’d think more fruit means more calories means more weight gain—right? Wrong! Participants lost a few pounds.
Was it the fiber? Another group was given three oatmeal cookies, which contained the equivalent amount of fiber, instead of fruit. They didn’t lose any weight. So nope, it’s not the fiber.
Nutritionists think the answer to this puzzle is in something called energy density, a pretty new term that may be linked to weight management. Energy density refers to the amount of calories per unit weight contained in a food or drink. Water, for example, is heavy, but calorie-free, so it has an extremely low energy density. Fiber is also high in weight and low in calories.
Therefore, foods that have high water and fiber content (yep, like fruit!) will have a lower energy density. These low energy density foods fill us up better. (High-fat foods, on the other hand, are extremely high energy density. Think bacon, or anything in that high-calorie, small package category.)
With some exceptions, low energy density foods (mostly fruits and vegetables) are just better for us.
And the science seems to confirm that this plant-based kind of diet is an effective system for weight loss or management. According to this line of thought, the lower the energy density of the foods we eat, the more weight we’ll lose.
More than three decades ago, researchers cut test subjects’ daily caloric intake from 3,000 to 1,570 without reducing portion size. Wait, come again?! Yep, by substituting less energy dense foods like fruit and vegetables for denser meats and other animal products, participants could eat the same amount of food (and enjoy it just as much!) while cutting their daily calories in half.
Pretty sweet, right?
And there are loads of ways to incorporate that simple fact into our daily diet! Add more low energy density foods like sweet potatoes, fruits, beans and plants to your plate, and watch the pounds drop. Need an inspiration boost? Check out my recipes!
Of course, these “low energy density” substitutions also make for a healthier diet in all ways—so that doesn’t hurt our weight loss chances either. 😉
Give the plant-based lifestyle a real shot. Check out Wild Nutrition: Your 30-Day Revolution to Plant-Based Vitality—and learn how simple and delicious it is to lose weigh and thrive!