Managing Your Weight by Managing the Weight of Your Food

You may have heard the following buzzwords: calorie density or volumetrics.

Calorie density is simply the amount of calories contained in 1 bite.  Fruits and vegetables have very low calorie density while candy, oils/fats, and meats are calorie dense.  Who cares, right?  How is helpful to me?

Scientists have discovered that people tend to eat the same weight/volume of food at a meal no matter the type of food.  Using this information to plan meals is called volumetrics.   A person will tend to eat the same weight of french fries as they would a garden salad at a given meal.

And this is how calorie density matters.  Foods high in water (again, fruits and vegetables) have a large volume, but few calories.  Foods low in water will have fats,protein, carbohydrates making up the bulk of their weight and providing calories.  In a study by Barbara Rolls, PhD, participants ate close to 25% less calories in low calorie-dense meals while reporting the same levels of satiety.

How to use this to your advantage?

If your body recognizes being full because of the weight of your food, not the density of calories, then eat a larger proportion of vegetables to grains, meat, and fats.  And feel just as full.  At least half of a plate at every meal should be covered with vegetables.

Instead of entire plate of pasta, make a 1/2 to 1 cup serving with 2 cups of mixed vegetables including spinach, zucchini, bell peppers, and fresh herbs for flavor.  Not only will you get more vitamins and minerals, you’ll also get more fiber and water while minimizing calories.

Primary Care Doctor at Seattle's University Health Clinic

Dr. Justin Steurich, Primary Care Physician at Seattle’s University Health Clinic


As a naturopathic primary care physician, Dr. Justin Steurich sees all patients with all conditions.  His clinical interests lie in working with patients with muscle and joint pain, heart problems, diabetes, and gastrointestinal disease.  He is dedicated to patient education and will spend time helping you understand your problems and your options.

Dr.Steurich is currently seeing new patients and accepts most insurance plans.  Call The University Health Clinic at (206) 525-8015 to make an appointment today.



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