Ask the Expert
It's important to have as much knowledge and accurate information as possible when learning about nutrition and weight loss. We'll answer a couple of key questions to begin building your nutrition smarts.
We'd love to hear from you! If you have a question, please contact us.
Q.Why is eating breakfast and "grazing" during the day important for weight loss?
A. Including a healthy breakfast everyday along with healthy snacks is essential for
providing your body with food to satisfy your hunger, metabolism and control
your “hunger” hormones.
When you skip meals, especially breakfast, your body thinks it’s going through a famine or starvation. This triggers you to store more fat as a protection against this famine. Your body also produces higher levels of a hormone called ghrelin which sends messages to your brain telling you to eat. High levels of ghrelin results in overeating, binge-eating and food cravings. Sound familiar? If you've been experiencing these behaviors..... it's not your fault and may be the consequence of skipping meals and restricting calories.
Q. I have always counted calories to lose weight. Don’t calories matter? What is “calorie-density”?
A. Most people who try to lose weight focus entirely on calories—counting, restricting, and obsessing about calories— leaving them hungry and unsatisfied with their meals. It's the quality of the calories that matters most especially for weight loss. The key is to choose foods that are “low in caloric-density”. This is defined as foods that contain fewer calories for their weight. There's a big difference to your stomach. "Low calorie-dense" foods contain water along with fiber, and weigh more than "high calorie-dense" foods, filling your stomach and providing you a feeling of satiety and fullness — the very thing you want when trying to lose weight.
Examples of "low calorie-dense" foods include vegetables, low fat soups, salads, whole fruit, and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, peas and beans. High calorie-dense foods include dried fruit, breads, bagels, nuts, chips and crackers -- go easy on these for weight loss--they don't fill you up and they're easy to overeat.
Let's look at an example of different caloric densities:
The vegetable soup weighs 4 ounces and contains 80 calories. The bread weighs 4 ounces (4 slices) and contains 320 calories! It takes a lot more bread (and calories) to achieve the same fullness in your stomach as a bowl of soup.
4 ounces (low calorie-density)
Tip: Include a bowl of vegetable soup or large salad before lunch or dinner instead of loading up on bread. You'll be amazed at how satisfied you'll feel... and less likely to overeat the bread!
© TheL.A DIET copyright 2012
It is always advisable to check with your physician before beginning any weight loss or exercise program.