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Living Well in Yalobusha County

Eating Healthy Is Key For Weight Loss

Most people eat until they feel satisfied or full, and this is why portion control alone will not work for weight loss. To lose weight without chronic hunger, you need to choose the right foods — the ones that are low in calorie density. Imagine what 400 calories of three different foods: oil, protein and vegetables would look like. One  cup of broccoli is about 53 calories so you would need to eat eight cups to get 400 calories. You would only need about 1/4 cup of olive oil for 400 calories. And 1.3 cups of chopped chicken would equal about 400 calories.

What is “calorie density”?

Calorie density is defined as the concentration of calories in a given weight of food. Comparing calories per pound, ounce, or gram provides a useful way to compare foods for weight loss purposes.

Why is calorie density important?

Foods with a high calorie density provide MORE calories than foods with a low calorie density. For example, your favorite chocolate candy bar is far more calorie dense than a low-fat green leafy salad.

Let’s take a look at that in more depth. Two ounces of chocolate contains 240 calories. To eat the same amount of calories in lettuce, you would have to eat 3.2 pounds of lettuce! Of course you can probably fit in a little chocolate into your eating plan, but if all of the foods you eat are that calorie-dense you will be starving yourself to keep the portions very small so that you don’t consume too many calories. And we all know where that leads us — to diet failure and weight regain.

How does calorie density aid weight loss?

A Penn State study (Am J Clin Nutr 69:863-871) looked at how lean and obese women ate. Study subjects ate all their meals in a testing laboratory for four-day periods. They were required to eat the entire portion of the main dish at each meal (and this main dish varied in calorie density). Otherwise, they could eat whatever they wanted during meals and snacks. When the calorie density of the main dish was lower, the women ate fewer calories over the day. Their calorie intake decreased by 16 percent, yet they felt just as full.

Okay, so how do I choose foods that are low in calorie density?

We don’t want to bore you with huge lists and charts of foods. Just remember that the best foods are fruits, vegetables, cooked grains (especially cooked whole grains) and low-fat dairy products (without sugar). Water- and fiber-rich foods are the best choices for weight control.

Very low-calorie-dense foods have 0 to 0.5 calories per gram. These include non-starchy vegetables, many fruits, skim milk, and light nonfat yogurt.

Low-calorie-dense foods have 0.6 to 1.4 calories per gram. These include starchy vegetables, cooked grains (barley, rice, pasta), canned beans, canned fruit, skinless turkey breast, low-fat fish, and shrimp.

Medium-calorie-dense foods have 1.5 to 3.9 calories per gram. These include chicken breast, whole-wheat bread, apple pie, bagels, lean ground beef, and dried fruit.

High-calorie-dense foods have 4.0 to 9.0 calories per gram. These include baked and regular chips, croissants, cookies, French fries, pretzels, oils, margarine, cake, and many other high-fat/high-sugar foods. Most people are surprised to find that many fat-free snacks and cookies fall in this category too.

Compare a few popular foods by calories per gram to understand how fat and fiber have an impact on the calorie density of foods:

A skinless, roasted chicken breast provides fewer calories by weight than lean ground beef because it is lower in fat.

An apple has 0.6 calories and apple pie has 2.4 calories per gram. The addition of fat, white flour, and sugar increases calorie density. This comparison helps you realize that it is better to choose whole foods versus refined foods.

Article Source:

MSU Extension Service


• There will be a Women’s Firearm Familiarization Class held at the Extension Office on Friday, Sept. 29th from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The class instructor will be Tony Carmichael. The morning format will be classroom instruction where participants learn about guns, ammunition and gun safety. After a lunch break, the group will head out to the Coffeeville shooting range for target practice.  The registration fee for the class is $10 and must be paid to be considered registered for the class.  

Please Note: you must bring your own gun and ammunition to the class.  All guns and ammunition should be brought separately.  Please DO NOT bring a loaded gun into the building. You will not receive any type of certification for attending the class. Space is limited, so register soon!  

Healthy You Exercise Classes are free and meet every Monday and Wednesday from 9 until 9:45 a.m.  This is a great time to exercise with a group, meet new people with the same goals as you.  Make sure to wear cool, comfortable clothes, good walking shoes and bring some water to drink.  

• On Fridays in September we will be doing a Beginner Yoga Class in place of the Healthy You Exercise Class.  Please bring a yoga mat with you when you come to class as there are floor stretches we will be doing.  

• The Crochet MHV Club will meet at the Extension Office on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 10 a.m.  The group is led by volunteer Karol Jarman.  You will need to bring the yarn of your choice and a crochet hook. This is a great opportunity for beginners to learn how to crochet, as well as, a good time for more experienced people to get ideas for new projects, or finish existing projects. Our Save a Life collection will also be on this day.   

Sewing for Service will meet on Monday, September 25th at 10 a.m. at the Extension office.  If you love to sew and you enjoy helping others this is the group for you!  We hope you will join us! The ladies have started working on Christmas Bags for Blair Batson.  If you have any Christmas Fabric (must be at least 2 yards) that you would like to donate for this project we will be glad to accept it.  All other supplies and machines are provided.  We just need volunteers to sew!

• The MSU Extension’s Annual Holiday House will be held on Saturday, October 28th from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.  There will be vendors, food, and exhibits,   Kids can come dressed in their Halloween costumes and trick or treat at the booths and don’t forget to stop by and vote for your favorite Decorated Pumpkin during the 4-H Decorated Pumpkin Contest.  This is event is free, however, we do ask that you bring one canned food item per person to donate towards our Food for Families Food Drive.  You can come early and eat breakfast.   The FCS 4-H Club will have a Pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m.  Tickets can be purchased for $5 from any 4-H FCS member or at the Extension Office.  

MSU Extension will provide accommodations to persons with disabilities or special needs. Please contact our office at 675-2730 prior to a program or event to request reasonable accommodations.

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