Table of Contents
What Are Nutrient Dense Foods?
Nutrient dense foods are fruits, vegetables and some animal proteins that are proven to have a significant combination of nutrients and compounds that are proportionally greater ounce per ounce than other foods. It's true in a raw state and a cooked state for fruits, vegetables and animal proteins. They are low-carb fruits and vegetables and animal proteins high in good fats like Omega-3, and low in saturated fats.
How Do Nutrient Dense Foods Help Weight Loss?
Calories from nutrient dense food allow us to eat less from a caloric standpoint, while also helping us to feel satisfied and "full." That's because many nutrient dense foods accelerate our metabolism. In fact, some of these foods require us to burn calories to digest them. Protein requires about a 30 percent expenditure in calories to simply digest. It's referred to as the "specific dynamic action" or SDA of foods. Nutrient dense fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber. Fiber helps to give us that feeling of "satiety" or the satisfaction of feeling "full." Better yet, fiber helps reduce cholesterol and improves our gastro-intestinal health improving regularity and avoiding constipation. The result is you can eat more, feel full and lose weight. .
Many of the foods we eat provide calories that are either empty calories defined by simple carbohydrates, or fat calories that provide calories from trans fat or saturated fat that add to LDL or bad cholesterol. We also eat a lot of processed foods that have diminished nutrient value but have flavor profiles enhanced by added sodium and artificial colors and flavorings. Nutrient dense foods are complex carbohydrates and the fats in nutrient dense proteins are high in good fats or HDL cholesterol.
Foods also affect our hormones. Simple sugars like sucrose and fructose compromise our glucose levels and make us want to eat more. We expend fewer calories to digest simple sugars which motivate our bodies to store all excess calories as fat. Complex carbs put less of a burden on our systems with complex sugars that don't cause a spike in glucose levels and lead to conditions like Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.
The Quality Of Our Calories
Nutrient dense fruits and vegetables consist of complex-carbohydrates that define a low-carb profile. Low-carb diets with fewer simple carbohydrates and increased complex carbs result in weight loss without a compromise to overall health and nutrition. Nutrient dense proteins like salmon and other oily fish along with skinless chicken and lean beef build muscle mass and don't convert to fat when complex carbohydrates are on the plate.