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The term nutritional density has gained a lot of popularity lately, so in this post I want to explain to you what it means, how you can apply it to your diet and which foods are most nutritious.
Let's start with the official definition. Density of nutrients identifies the proportion of nutrients in foods, usually when calories are measured. So, in this context, "nutrient density" means how much of a given nutrient you get in terms of how many calories the food has. Of course, the more nutrients you get for less calories, the better.
Let's look at a quick example:
You may need to increase your vitamin E intake. Now you want to evaluate different foods from your diet in terms of vitamin E density.
You see that a piece of white bread will give you about 100 micrograms of vitamin E, which is very small while still adding 80 calories to your calorie balance.
A piece of whole grain bread, on the other hand, will give you between 250 and 500 micrograms of vitamin E for approximately the same calories. So you would obviously choose whole grain bread.
You can look at it in the following way:
By eating the foods that contain the most nutrients, you get lots of nutrients while spending fewer calories.
On average, whole raw foods tend to be the most nutritious, while highly processed foods loaded with sugar are the least dense.
This is due to the fact that most food products remove fiber by adding sugar and unhealthy fats, which reduces the amount of food and increases calories by adding little or no nutrients.
Interestingly, at least nutritional food will be alcohol that has a high calorie content of 7 calories per gram but does not have important nutrients.
So the concept helps when you want to create a healthy diet. Choosing high density foods will make your diet healthier and more balanced.
But you have to remember one thing!
The term "solid nutrient" is intended to be relative rather than absolute, so it should be measured against a specific nutrient.
Simply saying that food is a solid food ingredient does not mean that it is always a good supplement to your diet because the term does not say anything about what food is dense food.
Examples are fruits that are packed with vitamins and are low in calories for their size, so they can be considered a vitamin dense. But the fruits have virtually no protein, so if your goal is a high protein diet, they will not help, at least not as primary sources of protein.
This means that even if you understand the term nutritional density, you also need to know what your body actually needs and what nutrients you may have shortcomings.
I often see lists of the most nutrients posted on the internet. They usually contain lots of vegetables or vegetables that are of course extremely healthy but can make people believe that you need to consume them to get all the nutrients.
This, of course, is fake. There are countless foods you can use to meet your nutritional requirements and what food is healthy for you can be completely different from anyone else.
Perhaps you are a long-term vegan with early signs of calcium deficiency. In this case, a glass of milk will be much healthier for you than for someone who regularly consumes dairy products. Because health is such an individual subject, I'm not a big fan of those lists that claim to be absolute.
So to complete this post, nutritional density is usually a useful concept and will show you which foods provide the most nutrients for the least calories. Make sure you know how to use it and make sure it does not fall into fad diets or too simple food lists.
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