Foods With Lower Energy Density: What is the best way to eat if you want to lose weight? By this, I do not mean any particular diet or fashion. An institution has promoted the idea that eating everything systematically is the best route for slenderness, but another proposes to choose mainly foods that have a lower energy density (think of lettuce, not hot chocolate). Does it make any difference? After all, following any of the prescriptions faithfully could reduce your calorie intake. Well, a recent study in the magazine Appetite, says there is a difference.
Dr. Faris M. Zuraikat and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University investigated the effect of portion control training (a one-year training program) on food selections in trained women vs. untrained women. Three groups of women participated. The first team included 39 overweight or obese women who had undergone the 1-year training program. The second group included 34 untrained women who were overweight or obese, and the third group consisted of 29 healthy weight women who had not been trained in portion control.
It is well known, the authors said, that portion sizes can influence the number of people who choose to eat. What they wanted to discover was whether the training that the first group had would affect the size of the chosen portions or the selection of foods when they were analyzed in a controlled situation. Then, on 4 different occasions (once a week for 4 weeks), the women received meals with 7 different foods, each of which varied simultaneously in serving size on the various test days: from 100 to 175 percent of the reference meal, which contained 808 calories. The different size portions were given at random for each person.
What they discovered was that the weight of food consumed in a meal increased significantly when the portions presented increased, even for women who had been trained in portion control. Although, when the researchers examined the energy density (ED) of the meals consumed (calories per gram of food), they found that the trained women chose foods with lower energy density than those selected by the other groups, although the total energy consumed increased a bit This still resulted in educated women consuming fewer calories per meal (506 calories) than the untrained overweight / obese group or the inexperienced normal weight group (592 and 611 calories respectively).
So, what was happening? The researchers found that, although the weight of the food consumed increased similarly in all groups, the food selections differ. Women who had trained in portion control selected foods with lower energy density and, therefore, consumed fewer calories.
These findings provide additional evidence that the portion served is a significant determinant of the amount consumed and indicate that even prolonged training in standard portion control strategies, such as the use of scales and measuring tools, the use of prepared foods or the Instruction to eat less, may not be efficient enough to counteract the influence of the signs of the amount of food available.
And also, they said their results.
Suggest that it may be easier or more sustainable to moderate energy intake by consuming healthy foods with low ED than to avoid eating large portions. Future interventions should encourage people to assess the types of food available, rather than focusing solely on the amount of food served.
In the end, they suggested that it is important to provide information about the healthiness of food choices, instead of simply recommending decreasing portion sizes.