Energy Density of Foods



The amount of calorie (energy) contains in a certain portion of food is termed as the energy density of that food. It is very important to know the energy density of foods if you are on a diet. There are different types of foods that are similar to in their quantity but still having a significant variation in their energy or calorie density. The quantity of food we eat on a regular basis some of them have more calories or energies per gram than others do. So, you may find out a variety of foods where some of them are higher energy density, some are medium energy density and some are lower energy density etc.


Fundamentally, having eaten lower energy density foods you can take in fewer calories per gram than its counterparts. At the same time, low calorie density foods also can satisfy you still providing relatively low-calorie intake. Having eaten a small amount of high energy density foods, on another side, may not satisfy you but leave more energy (calories) in your body than its counterparts do.


Therefore having a conception of the energy density of foods might help you to maintain a healthy body weight.


Importance of Knowing the Energy Density of Foods


To maintain a healthy weight management you might have the clear idea of the energy density of foods. If you are not able to categorize them then, your weight management may fall in trouble, which can be even lingering. If you want to meet your hunger without taking in so many calories, then, you may be able to do this. As I already mentioned that, there are a lot of foods that are low in calorie but can satisfy you. Eating these types of lower energy density foods relatively in large quantity will not allow you to gain body weight. In weight loss management it is very crucial for one to limit his/her calorie intake without depriving himself/herself of foods at all. Conversely, eating higher density foods to meet hunger can hamper your weight loss goal that ultimately corrupts your weight management. So it is important to know which foods are highly dense and which are not for maintaining your weight.


Difference in Between Lower and Higher Density Foods


The basic difference between higher and lower energy density of foods discussed below-


Low Energy Density Foods


There are some foods that are naturally high in water like-fruits and vegetables help to reduce the density of energy. Therefore, some fiber-enriched foods such as potatoes, whole grains etc. are very helpful in reducing the density of energy as well as the foods with high water content (stews, soups) are used to make you feel full but not increase energy density.


According to a finding, it is found that low energy density diet can help people to stay in a healthy weight zone. Nevertheless, for this you don’t need to deprive yourself of foods, just one thing you can do is find the foods that are lower calorie dense.


High Energy Density Foods


There are some higher energy density foods that are full of fat but having the low water content which often triggers many calories even it is consumed in a small portion. To keep yourself stay in healthy weight zone you need to be careful of these types of foods. These are likely- crisps, butter, peanuts, cheese, biscuits and confectionary foods etc often hamper your weight loss goal.       


Understanding the Density of Calorie


A general calculation is given below to help you categories the energy density of foods-


If you know the amount of portion that coming from a serving of food and the amount of calorie contained in as well, then you can easily calculate how much energy or calorie is coming with it.


Formula > the energy density of a food = the number of calories divided by the weight (in grams)


Now the result that coming from above calculation you can put it in below category to know wherein it actually lies whether in lower, higher, medium or other categories of energy density.


  • Less than 0.6 kcal/g is considered in a Very low energy density foods category.
  • 0.6 to 1.5 kcal/g is considered in a Low energy density foods category.
  • 1.5 to 4 kcal/g is considered in a Medium energy density foods category.
  • More than 4 kcal/g is considered in a High energy density foods category


Finally, I would like to recommend you that before selecting any foods on your own get consulted by a registered dietitian.



Energy and Nutrient Density

Familiarity with energy and nutrient density helps manage weight and overall health. 


Low Energy Dense Foods and Weight Management

Low energy density foods help keep calorie intake low and aid weight management.