Bariatric Support Series 6

#6: Daily Dose of Density

Hi there, well what did you notice after tracking your carbs closely for two weeks?

Are you eating the amount you thought you were? Has it crept up since you were tracking carbs during your weight loss program or surgery?

Every now and again it is a useful exercise to return to tracking your intake to make sure that things are where you thought they were.

I am interested to learn if you were perfectly on target or if you were surprised – so let me know in the chat box below. So far we have covered the importance of consuming 64 oz of water daily, emphasizing lean protein in your diet and carefully monitoring your intake of carbohydrates. Don’t forget about the mindful eating tips! Keep tracking with me as we move onto our next topic of discussion.

This week I want to talk about a specific type of carbohydrate that will increase your feelings of satiety. Satiety is a term used to describe how quickly you feel fullness after eating. In a previous discussion you learned that high protein foods create more satiety than high carbohydrate foods.

What are calorie density foods?

Another term that I would like to define for our discussion today is calorie density. Calorie density or energy density is a term used to describe the amount of calories a food contains per gram or ounce. There are advantages to selecting foods with a low calorie density.

Choosing low calorie dense foods will aid in weight loss or maintenance. Low calorie density foods contain a higher percentage of water and generally contain less calories.

This means that you can eat a larger portion of a low calorie dense food item and stay within a low calorie diet.  Eating calorie dense foods has been linked to weight gain and obesity.  For example: non-starchy vegetables and proteins like fish and lean meats have lower calorie density than fats, full fat dairy and starches like rice and potatoes.

Protein contains 4 calories per gram, while fat contains 9 calories per gram. Reduce the calorie density of your plate by filling half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, asparagus or cauliflower. Don’t forget a lean protein source like grilled chicken or baked fish to increase your feeling of fullness! Since fat is calorie dense avoid adding butter or oils during the cooking process.

Another advantage of low calorie dense foods is that they contain more fiber along with less fat than higher calorie dense foods.

Dietary Fiber has the ability to increase fullness mainly because these foods require more effort for your body to digest. Studies show that individuals with a higher fiber intake weigh less than individuals who have a low fiber intake. The recommended fiber intake is 25 to 30 grams per day. Food sources of fiber include vegetables, Fruit (with the skin), beans, lentils and nuts.

When making food selections use the strategy of selecting low calorie dense foods such as meat, fish, eggs, green vegetables, low fat milk, yogurt, and fruit. If you are pressed for time choose a Grilled Chicken Salad with Low Fat Dressing over a fried chicken sandwich. Skip dessert and grab a piece of fresh fruit. Keep a small serving of almonds handy as a snack option versus chips. Substitute low fat cottage cheese for cream cheese in a recipe.

Session Six Challenge

Now let’s look at this week’s challenge. Starting today try to reduce the processed foods that you eat. You are already eating the recommended amount of protein as part of the protein video challenge so now let’s try for the next two weeks rounding out your diet with low calorie dense foods. Green vegetables, low fat milk, lean protein and a little fruit. I think you will find that you have fewer problems with hunger and can more easily manage with lower calorie intake.