Hi Nutrition Nut on the Run readers! I’m Lisa, the blogger behind The Skinny on Health, a health, nutrition, and fitness blog that uses science to explain how to be healthy. I’m currently a nutrition masters student and soon-to-be registered dietitian. I’m going to be talking to you guys today about nutrient density and superfoods.
Most people think a calorie is a calorie, right? You know, 200 calories of salad is still 200 calories, so it must be the same as 200 calories of chips.
You guys are too smart for that.
Calories are the most important factor to measure if your goal is weight maintenance or weight loss. A lot of people say 1 pound of fat = 3,500 calories. These are excess calories, and most reason that it doesn’t matter if they’re from protein, fat, or carbohydrates. This is a very basic measure of what it takes to lose weight. However, what really should be your concern is how you ate those calories.
The nutrient density of your food refers to how many nutrients you are getting per calorie. It’s the ratio of nutrient content to energy content. Nutrient-dense foods are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, etc, but low in calories. They are stuffed full of the “good stuff.”
You want to be eating foods with a very HIGH nutrient density — it’s a better way to spend your daily calories. So, 200 calories of these foods are actually better for you than 200 calories of foods with a low nutrient density.
Now, calories are still calories. Excess calories are still excess weight in the long run. However, eating more nutrient dense foods will keep you full and satisfied, resulting in less calories consumed overall.
Luckily nutrient density is easy to find online. You can google “nutrient density of ___” and find at least an estimate of it in seconds. If that doesn’t work, a food’s “ANDI score” is the measure of their nutrient density, so try that.
Here are some important ANDI scores to know. Remember, the higher the number, the better!
If you do want to learn more about how to live a healthy lifestyle, I just launched The Skinny Docs, a completely free online webinar series and community for members to lose weight while learning about how to sustain a healthy lifestyle indefinitely! It starts April 1st, so be sure to sign up for free today!
Thanks so much for having me, Hillary!