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Be alert to hidden energy in foods

Updated: Sep 23, 2022 Print
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The key to effective weight loss is to ensure a slight negative balance of daily energy intake so that energy consumption is slightly higher than energy intake.

The method is suitable for most people who can lose weight by controlling energy intake while increasing intake of protein and dietary fiber.

Now, let us discover the foods with high energy density so we can lose weight scientifically.

What foods can't be consumed excessively?

Energy density refers to the energy contained in every 100 grams of food, in kilojoules or kilocalories. In daily life, if the energy contained in every 25g of non-liquid food or every 100ml of liquid food is more than 100 kcal, there is a risk of excessive energy intake.

For the same type of food, higher water content means lower energy density, such as fresh fruits, vegetables and fresh meat; the lower the water content, the higher the energy density, such as dried fruit and beef.

For different types of food, lower water content and higher fat and carbohydrate content mean higher energy density, such as fried chicken and potato chips.

The addition of refined sugar in many processed foods such as candied fruit and beverages such as Cola and Sprite will also lead to an increase in energy. The energy density of food that contains added refined sugar and has been processed with oil, such as cakes and doughnuts, will also be higher.

How can we know whether a certain food is high in energy density or not? The first step is to learn to read the nutrition labels of food.

Look at the food composition table: Foods with added fats, such as liposuction powder, plant oil, edible oil, and sugars such as white granulated sugar and fructose, tend to have high energy content.

Look at the nutrition table: Learn about energy content in 100 grams of food. If the energy content per 100 grams of non-liquid food exceeds 1,672 kilojoules (400 kcal) or the energy content per 100 milliliters of liquid food exceeds 418 kilojoules (100 kcal), please take a small amount of this food.

Pay attention to the NRV% (percentage of nutrient reference value) in the rightmost column of the nutrition table. If the NRVs of energy, carbonhydrate and fat are higher than that of protein, it means that the protein content of the food is low and you may take in more energy when consuming the food.

How to choose food wisely

Choose fresh vegetables: Select more leafy vegetables, melons and mushrooms; and choose less starchy vegetables such as potatoes, lotus roots, and yams.

Limit consumption of fruits: All fruits contain sugar and excessive intake will lead to obesity. Try to stay away from tropical fruits with low water content.

Eat more coarse cereals: The main component of refined grains such as white rice and white flour is starch (carbohydrate). Coarse grains and miscellaneous grains are rich in dietary fiber and their energy density is lower than that of refined rice and flour.

Select lean poultry and livestock: Try to select lean poultry and livestock with less fat content, such as chicken breast, drumsticks, fillet and tendon. Do not eat skin or subcutaneous fat. Avoid drinking broth while on diet.

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