It’s time for another Austin Sports Medicine 101 class!
Energy density is defined as the amount of calories or energy per gram of food. It’s a different way of looking at eating. It doesn’t involve necessarily counting calories. For example, 24 peanuts and 6 ½ cups of air-popped popcorn have the same amount of calories (200). It would be much easier without realizing it to eat much more than 24 peanuts and still not feel satisfied. With the popcorn, you would have a sense of fullness and likely stop before finishing the entire bowl.
With energy density, there are things that create a feeling of fullness without adding a lot of extra calories. The first is water as we can see with grapes or carrots, which are 85% to 90% water. The second is fiber. This is found in the popcorn example, and it helps you full as well.
With snacks like potato chips, peanuts, chocolate candies, they don’t contain much (if any) fiber or water making it easier to eat more of them, consuming more calories in doing so.
Focusing on what you can have in larger quantities like the grapes, carrots and healthy popcorn can help save calories.