May 11, 2018
A low energy diet leaves people feeling full and eating fewer calories
Eating low energy density meals consume around 1,000 fewer calories a day.
People who followed a diet of low energy density food such as vegetables, lean meat and rice were more likely to feel full than those who tried to restrict their calorie intake, according to research.
The new study found those eating low energy density meals were on average consuming around 1,000 fewer calories a day.
Low energy density foods contain more water, protein and fibre, and result in bigger portion sizes when compared to higher energy density foods, and have the effect of reducing hunger pangs.
The research, led by the University of Leeds and published in the Journal of Nutrition, looked at the impact of low versus high energy density foods on desire to eat in a series of experiments at the University's Human Appetite Research Unit.
The study also compared the effectiveness, over 14 weeks, of a Slimming World weight-loss programme based on low energy density foods and the NHS Live Well diet, which advised women to limit themselves to 1,400 calories a day.
Women on both diets lost weight but those on the lower energy diet (Slimming World, UK) were more likely "…to lose clinically significant amounts of weight", more than five per cent of their body weight.
However, there were other differences between the two weight loss plans. The women with Slimming World took part in weekly group support sessions. Those following the NHS Live Well diet did not receive face-to-face support, although there was a website with advice on healthy eating, dieting and an online forum. The focus of their diet was to restrict calorie intake.
Psychologist Dr. Nicola Buckland, the lead author, said: "The findings show that a commercial programme based on low energy density foods helped people to feel more in control of their food choices, and that more than likely made the process of losing weight more effective.
"A lot of people give up on diets because they feel hungry between meals. Our research shows that eating low energy density foods can help overcome that problem.
"Gram for gram, low energy dense foods contain fewer calories than high energy density foods, so people are able to eat a larger volume of food for the same (or lower) calorie intake, leading them to feel much fuller.
"For example, someone would have to eat around 250g of carrots to consume 100 calories whereas it would take just 20g of chocolate to achieve a similar calorie intake, yet the greater volume of carrots is likely to make you much fuller."
By University of Leeds