You can work out the energy density of any given food by dividing the number of calories by the number of grams. To use two of Dr. Rolls’ examples, if a 28g serving of a reduced-fat cheese stick is worth 60 calories, its energy density would be 2.1 (60 divided by 28). A 33g serving of salsa worth 15 calories yields an energy density of less than 1 (15 divided by 33). The lower the number, the better the food, and the more of it you can consume without gaining weight. A food that is high in energy density has a large number of calories in a small amount of food. A food that has a low energy density has fewer calories for the same weight of food. Dr. Rolls says that this matters because we tend to eat roughly the same weight of food each day, regardless of the number of calories. If we can choose foods that offer fewer calories for the same amount of food, we will be able to manage our weight more effectively without going hungry. (see more below ...)
Would we feel fuller on 2 cups of grapes or 1/4 cup of raisins? One is simply a dried version of the other. They are worth the same number of calories (about 100 calories) but see how many more grapes you can eat? Water has weight but no calories. As a rule of thumb, the higher the moisture content of a given food, the lower its energy density, and the more of it you can eat. You will also feel fuller for longer after consuming it. This explains why people who begin their meals with either a salad or soup go on to consume fewer calories over the course of a meal. They become satisfied sooner.
Recognizing that people lead busy lives, she offers 125 quick and easy recipes, including techniques on modifying recipes to include more volumetric foods. Many of her recipes have visual comparisons between a traditional serving of a food or dish and the new, improved volumetric version, which is always bigger. If seeing is believing, then this should persuade us of the merits of the volumetric approach. This book should appeal to anyone trying to manage their weight. It’s a sensible, satisfying and sustainable way of eating.
Published by HarperCollins (ISBN 0-06-07373729-8)