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How can I eat more food without consuming extra calories?

The secret to eating more food without consuming extra calories is in the energy density (calories per gram) of what you eat. And the key to keeping energy density low is water -- not the stuff you drink from those cute little bottles, but the water content of foods. Foods with low energy density are loaded with water. When you eat them, you can increase the volume of food you consume for the same, or fewer, calories.

To understand the influence of water on food volume -- and its ability to dilute calories -- consider that for a 100-calorie snack, you could eat either two cups of water-rich grapes or one-quarter cup of raisins (dried grapes). The volume of grapes you can eat for 100 calories is a more satisfying portion.

The most energy dense component of food is fat, at nine calories per gram. Water has zero calories per gram. So if you cut fat a bit and add more water (with vegetables, fruit or broth) in your cooking, you reduce energy density significantly.

Eating more fiber is also important for lowering energy density. High-fiber foods, such as whole-grain cereals and breads, help you feel full longer.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
With some easy, simple substitutions, you can eat all the foods you love without the extra calories.

Watch as Dr. Oz introduces low-calorie substitutions for audience members' favorite foods in this video.
Fiber-rich, watery foods deliver more volume to your plate and fewer calories. Ounce per ounce, foods with more fat and less fiber and water are more energy dense, packing more calories per ounce.

Energy-dense foods add up to less food for the same calories than those lower in energy density. For example, one cup of sliced raw carrots has 50 calories, while an ounce of chips has 150. And the carrots give you more nutrients and fiber and can leave you feeling full with fewer calories.

Try broth-based soups, fruits and vegetables, fat-free and low-fat milk and yogurt, and beans for low energy density, high volume foods that you can eat more of without all the calories.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.