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Nutrient Density

I came across this website- in my search for good wiki ideas and found a discussion on "Nutrient Density"-- is this something anyone else is familiar with? I immediate thought of a question- I know that I have to eat fruits and veggies each day- what have the best bang for the effort??

Here is a bit from what they say:

Can I lose weight with the World's Healthiest Foods?

Virtually all weight loss plans endorsed by public health organizations across the country adhere to the same basic principle that we established for ourselves in the creation of the World's Healthiest Foods. That principle is that of nutrient density. Nutrient density is one critical component of long term weight management, regardless of who you are, how much weight you have to lose, or what foods you like to eat.

Definition of nutrient density

The term nutrient density refers the concept of getting the most nutritionally for the least caloric expenditure. In other words, nutrient dense foods give you the "biggest bang for the buck." You get lots of nutrients, and it doesn't cost you much in terms of calories.

Nutrient density also happens to be the exact principle we used when we rated all of 127 foods found on this website. They give you the most nutrients you can possibly get for the calories you spend.

Example of nutrient density - bread as a source of vitamin E

To more clearly illustrate nutrient density, let's use an example. Let's say you're low on vitamin E, and decide to eat a food that is not nutrient dense, such as white bread. This slice of run-of-the-mill white bread will give you about 1/10th of a milligram of vitamin E and will cost you about 200 calories (the number of calories in a slice of many white breads). Now let's compare these values to those in a slice of 100% whole wheat bread.

Whole grain products, like most whole foods, are nutrient dense. A slice of 100% whole wheat bread will usually cost you slightly less in calories (perhaps 175 instead of 200); the reason for this is that many manufacturers will assume that consumers buying 100% whole wheat products will also want fewer additives, sweeteners, or added fat in their foods; this often translates into a food with fewer calories.

Now even if the calories were the same in both types of bread, the nutrient density of the two foods would still greatly differ because their vitamin E content is dramatically different. Unlike white bread where you only get 1/10th of a milligram of vitamin E in exchange for your 175-200 calories, with 100% whole grain bread, you get over 1.16 milligrams - over ten times as much. To look at this example another way, you would have to eat more than ten slices of run-of-the-mill white bread to get the same amount of vitamin E as is found in one slice of 100% whole wheat bread. The extra 9 slices will cost you about 1,800 calories.

It is clear from this one example how getting your nutrients from nutrient dense foods is clearly the way to go when it comes to losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. Why? Because in this example, eating nutrient dense foods like the World's Healthiest Foods saves you about 1,800 calories! 1,800 calories is about one whole day's worth of food.

World's Healthiest Foods contain only what's essential

At the World's Healthiest Foods we also focus on simple, fresh, whole organic foods. Our recipes contain the whole foods themselves and very little else - no fillers, fillings, added sugars, or added fats. Whatever is found in our foods has to be there. Nature put it there because it was essential to the life of the plant. Nothing is contained in a fresh, whole organic food that doesn't need to be there.

For this reason whole, fresh organic foods are custom tailored to weight management - they bring you what's essential and they leave out everything that's unnecessary. Losing weight always has this exact same component. Even when you are losing weight, you can't stay healthy unless you eat. But when you are trying to lose weight, it doesn't make sense to eat things you don't need. Unnecessary food will just bring in unnecessary calories. Bringing in unnecessary calories is exactly what we don't do at the World's Healthiest Foods.

Changing relationship with food supports weight management

We also predict that your relationship with food is likely to change once you begin to incorporate more of the World's Healthiest Foods in your meal plans. You may find yourself amazed that meals so low in calories, and so simple in ingredients, and devoid of extra sugar, salt, and fat, can be so pleasurable to eat! When you are trying to lose weight, it helps to feel non-deprived.

Practical tips

Explore the many recipes featured on our website; they were all designed to leave you feeling fully satisfied and delighted. Not only are they filled with lots of taste and flavor but they are visually and sensually appealing as well. And, as they are nutrient dense, they provide you with lots of nutrients for relatively not too many calories. Our tasty and nutrient dense recipes are an example of why this style of eating, with a focus on the World's Healthiest Foods, makes sense for anyone trying to lose weight.


Thu. Jul 20, 1:05pm

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I've been using the concept of caloric-density since I started my new healthy lifestyle last November (with over 60 lbs lost now). It's the same idea as the nutrient-density program but since I'm trying to lose weight it centers on getting the most volume of food for the least amount of calories. Because I choose mostly whole, unprocessed foods I get the greatest amounts of nutrients as well. I get to eat more than I ever did before and lose weight.

Nathan Pritikin first came up with the idea of caloric density over 30 years ago. His son wrote a fantastic book that I think has the best explanation of how to put this into practice to lose weight and optimize your health. You can read all about it in "The Pritikin Principle: the calorie density solution" by Robert Pritikin, ISBN 0-7370-1616-7. The book has sample menus, a fair calorie density index, and some great recipes, too.

Hope this helps!

Thursday, July 20, 2006, 2:02 PM

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Love that worlds healthiest food site. It's one of the bookmarked ones on my list. Their quiz as to if you're getting enough nutrients from your food is amusing. And I like that they realise there are more grains out there than just wheat and rice. Quinioa, amaranth, spelt, rye, buckwheat, kamut... really, why are we so dependent on wheat?

Thursday, July 20, 2006, 3:20 PM

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