A Surprising Way Food Affects Your Appetite

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It’s all about nutrient density.

You may not be familiar with the words, so let’s start by defining the concept of nutrient density. Nutritionists, doctors and eating psychologists use the term nutrient density to refer to how much nutrition is packed into a particular food. In other words, nutrient density refers to the quality of your food. For example, every knows that potato chips offer the body far less nutrition than, say, an actual potato, baked and stuffed with broccoli. Therefore, we would say that potato chips are less nutrient dense, because they offer fewer nutrients per calories than many other foods.

On the other hand, kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. It offers the body vitamins (chiefly C, A and K1), a number of important minerals (including potassium and calcium) as well as fiber and protein. When you eat kale, your body benefits from a whole host of nutrients.

How can choosing more nutrient dense foods help appetite regulation? You may think that your body signals fullness based simply on volume of food in your belly. It’s actually more complex than that. Your incredibly intelligent body is not only looking for volume to shut off appetite, but for the fulfillment of its nutrient needs. If you eat an entire bowl of potato chips, your body is chemically scanning the potato chips for its nutrient needs. Since there is so little nutrition available in what you just ate, the body didn’t get what it needs. So the brain might send out “I’m still hungry!” signals.

In summary, the more nutrient dense foods you eat, the less food volume you have to eat in order to meet your body’s need for nutrition. This mechanism is actually very helpful to know about. Eating nutrient dense foods is a natural appetite regulator and works very well in tandem with an adjustable gastric balloon.

Some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet include salmon, kale, blueberries, sardines, potatoes, eggs (especially the yoke) and, happily, dark chocolate. Most fruits, vegetables, beans, lean meats, including poultry, dairy products and whole grains are also good, nutrient dense choices. Notice that all of these nutrient dense foods are whole foods, not foods that have been heavily processed, packaged and labeled. That’s often the best general rule of thumb for choosing the most nutrient dense foods for yourself and your family.

Author: Rebeca Espinoza

Rebeca Espinoza writes about health, fitness and weight loss for Spatz Medical, makers of the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon.  You can find her on at rebeca@spatzindia.com. Like the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon page on Facebook or follow us on Pinterest for healthy eating tips, inspiring quotes, videos and photos and more.

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