top of page

What is Calorie Density?

What is calorie density and how can it help you to lose weight without counting calories or restricting your food intake.

Calorie density is a measure of how many calories are in a given weight of food.

Why does this measurement matter?

If you are looking to lose weight without having to count calories or weigh your food, then utilizing the principles of calorie density can assist you.

Choosing a food that is low in calorie density also typically means a food that is a nutrient rich whole food.

Below is a helpful chart that I found on Kaiser Permanente's Website:

As a general rule of thumb Carbohydrates and Sugar have around 4 calories per gram & Fat has around 9 calories per gram. You can see from the chart above that foods higher in Fat are more calorie dense and foods higher in Carbohydrates are lower in calorie density.

Another thing to note is Fiber and Water.

For example, white rice and brown rice are both around 4 calories per gram; however brown rice has the added benefit of fiber still being around the hull and therefore will provide you with more satiety (a fuller feeling in your stomach) for the same amount of calories as white rice.

As for water, if you were to make a vegetable stew it would easily provide you with less calories than chicken noodle soup not only because of the lower fat content, but also because of the water that is in the vegetables.

To put it Simply:

The higher the fiber and water that are in the foods that you eat, the lower in calorie density and therefore the easier it will be to lose weight.

From the chart above you can see that the lower calorie density foods (again higher in fiber and water) would include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (beans & lentils).

This knowledge is why a Whole Food Plant Based Diet is recommended for simple and sustainable weight loss.

If you would like to dive a bit deeper on the subject of Calorie Density, I highly recommend checking out this YouTube video by Jeff Novik who is a Registered Dietitian:

bottom of page