Nutrient Density – Key to Losing Weight

Nutrient density is it the key to losing weight? Before we break down the nutrient density chart and start looking at some ways to improve your diet, there are some terms which we must be familiar with first.

The standard American diet is known to be both energy-rich and nutrient-poor. Energy, in this case, refers to the amount of calories present in what you’re eating. Nutrient-poor means there are very few nutrients in what you’re consuming, which is problematic for your overall health.

What are you looking for when we say nutrients? You’re looking at the amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and proteins your food provides to you.

The best kinds of food for everyone are nutrient-dense foods. Nutrient-dense foods are rich in everything good for your body, which is why we use the nutrient density chart to balance out the foods you eat.

Before we continue on to the Nutrient Density Chart, let’s look at an example for comparison. If you were to take a banana and a scoop of ice cream which contained the same number of calories, they would not contain the same amount of nutrients. Bananas have potassium, protein, and fiber while ice cream would have more sugar, fat, and cholesterol. This means the banana is more nutrient dense.

Implementing this knowledge of comparison into every single choice you make in terms of your diet and consumption you’ll be able to make more educated and healthier decisions.

How is Nutrient Density Calculated?

The example I have used is quite vague, but rest assured there is an actual science to nutrient density. First, foods are measured using nutrient profiling. They measure how many nutrients are present in a certain quantity of the food. This could be every 100 grams, 100 calories, or in every standard serving. The nutrients present in the selected quantity are then compared to dietary recommendations, and then given a score.

A better nutrient density will help determine which foods are better options for a healthy diet. This can also be used to measure the nutrient-to-energy ratio in food, to determine whether the amount of nutrients present is worth the amount of energy in the food.

Foods that contain nutrients such as potassium, iron, vitamin D, vitamin C, calcium, protein, and fiber will score better than foods that contain sodium, sugars, and saturated fats.

What is the Nutrient Density Chart?

Now you may notice that there are an abundance of nutrient density charts and graphs you can find based on your search and consulting health experts. The following nutrient density chart we’ll be assessing is the Chef AJ Calorie Density Chart used to help choose foods which will better your weight loss progress.

This nutrient density chart demonstrates which foods are richer in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, micronutrients, and water. They’re the best options for weight loss and do not exceed an average of 600 calories per pound. These are classified as green foods and remain behind the red line.

Examples of green foods are non-starchy vegetables, fruits, potatoes, whole grains, and legumes.

Purple foods are considered healthy foods, but they are also higher in average calories per pound. They are not the best foods for weight loss but are fine to eat after you’ve reached your ideal weight. Such foods are avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butter, and tahini.

Red foods should simply be avoided whenever possible. They exceed an average of 600 calories per pound, reaching up to even 4,000 calories per pound. These are processed foods which are not healthy options for a weight loss diet. Such foods are bread, cheese, sugar, chocolate, oils, and refined complex carbohydrates.

How Does the Nutrient Density Chart Help You?

It can be hard to differentiate between good and bad foods, especially when seeing something like a food pyramid. When you use the laws of nutrient density, then there is a clear-cut differentiation between what’s good and what’s less healthy.

If you’re new to the weight loss game, a nutrient density chart really simplifies all of the complications some health fitness coaches bring to the table trying to explain what works and what harms your diet. With a nutrient density chart as a point of reference, you can easily build your own customized diet plan around it.

Final Thoughts

Now you may be thinking this seems like a lot of work and you’re absolutely right!

Understanding nutrient density and nutrient requirements is a lot of work and a skillset in and of itself! Not everyone can calculate their own requirements and construct their own perfect diet plan.

This is why professional nutritionists and dieticians are available. They can help you create your perfect weight loss diet plan with their professional comprehension of nutrient density. They will do the extra brainwork and guide you closer to your goals.

Nutrient density is a factor of your food that you should always consider if you intend to change your diet for the better. A know-how of healthy foods is not enough for you to make educated decisions.

If you’re looking for some recipes to follow and interpret into your own lifestyle then feel free to check out the Plant Based Eva YouTube channel!

Stay healthy,

Eva

References:

https://www.wishkah.org/site/handlers/filedownload.ashx?moduleinstanceid=734&dataid=1391&FileName=Calorie%20Density%20Chart.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK221362/

https://www.eufic.org/en/understanding-science/article/what-is-nutrient-density