I have just listened to a 20 minute podcast by Danny Lennon from Sigma Nutrition Radio, that I can honestly say, is THE BEST summary of nutrition for weight loss, weight gain, or sports performance. Danny covers the issue of caloric density, nutrient value, eating for weight loss, weight gain, and eating to support your goals when you can only eat a few times a day (shift works for example). He also covers the marketing dense area of meal replacement and ‘diet companies’. This is such a broad area, that each element could be its own feature podcast, but it covers the basics perfectly. The approach that Danny outlines in this recording is real-life, practical, sustainable, and sensible. It is also right in line with the approach that we have to nutrition at ACLAÍ, and most importantly, it’s an approach that gets real long lasting results.
From listening to the podcast, here are my main take-away points. Have a listen to it yourself (link below) , as Danny really does give a great insight into how you apply the points below in real life situations.
1. Some foods pack more calories than others. For example, 100g of cashew nuts contains 611.6kcal, while 100g of apple contains 47.5kcal.
2. Whole foods that are unprocessed are generally speaking less calorie dense than processed foods as they often contain more water, and will fill you up much better than a preserved, processed, or dehydrated food.
3. By eating lower calorie density foods, you essentially feel fuller sooner, and hence will take less calories (i.e. energy) on board, and thus will be more likely to burn fat or lose weight. Great if this is your goal!
4. Calorie dense foods should not be totally avoided due to their often-high nutrient content. Use them in the right amounts to stay healthy and keep you on track. If your goal is to add weight, eating high calorie dense foods will help you achieve an energy surplus, and aid your weight gain. Further. If your work or daily circumstances means that you only have a few limited opportunities to eat, then packing in the nutrients with some wholefood calorie dense ingredients will really help you stay on top. 1 thumb sized portion for ladies, and 2 thumb-sized portions of high fat foods like nuts is our guideline at ACLAÍ.
5. Remember that NUTRIENT DENSITY is important as well as CALORIE DENSITY. Things like nuts and oils can really help your satiety, and add extra nutrition’s to your meal. Just remember to stock up on vegetables and salad foods to help you feel satisfied from you meals.
6. Meal replacement/ dieting bars such as those readily available in the shops are full of very low calorie foods. This of course will result in weight loss as you will be eating much less food, and thus taking on much less energy, than you are spending. However, this approach fails to develop whole food, long lasting nutrition habits, and invariably you will end up back to square one, if not further back. For a tiny 100g-meal replacement bar, you could eat a pretty big salad, which would give more nutrition to your body, fill you up more, as well as helping you get into the habit of eating real food that will bring long lasting results. You will feel more satisfied with your diet, as well as save the expensive outlay of processed and low value meal replacements.