There’s an epidemic of obesity in America and the trend shows no signs of letting up. Although Americans are blessed with a diversity of food choices, many of them are calorie dense and low in nutritional value. A trip to a local fast food restaurant will reveal an impressive array of burgers topped with bacon and cheese, and slathered in mayonnaise. For breakfast? A heavy, dense sausage biscuits laden with fat is likely to be at the top of the menu. Eating even small portions of these foods results in a considerable intake of calories without the satisfaction of having eaten a great deal of food. One solution? Substitute these energy dense, high fat foods with high water foods instead. Eating high water foods can be filling and satisfying without all the additional calories.
What are high water foods? High water foods are foods that contain a high proportion of water and a low overall density. There’s a whole diet based on this concept of water rich foods. It’s called the Volumetrics diet and is the subject of several books. These books show illustrations of high water, low density meals alongside more energy dense, calorie rich ones. It’s astounding to see how much more food you can eat when you eat low density, high water foods, while still not taking in a lot of calories.
Does eating high water food really help with weight loss? A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that women who ate a bowl of soup before a meal consumed significantly fewer overall calories than those who didn’t. Eating water rich foods prior to a regular meal increases satiety so that less calories are consumed at mealtime. It’s interesting to note that drinking water before a meal didn’t have the benefits as eating high water foods such as soup.
What are some high water foods you can add to your own diet? A bowl of soup prior to a meal is an easy way to satisfy the appetite without adding a lot of calories. Broth based soups are preferable to cream based ones due to the latter’s higher fat and calorie content; although a study showed that even a bowl of cream based soup before a meal lowers overall calorie consumption. Broth based vegetable soup is one of the best choices since you can benefit from the lycopenes in the tomato base along with the antioxidants in the vegetables.
All types of raw vegetables are high in water and are very low in calories. Some vegetables with the highest water content include lettuces of all types, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, and mushrooms. Eating a large salad before lunch or dinner with a light vinegar based dressing is an easy way to lower overall calorie intake while getting a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Many fruits are also high in water, although they can also be a significant source of natural sugars. Some of the fruits with the highest water content are strawberries, watermelon, grapefruit, and cantaloupe.
The bottom line? Adding more high water foods to your diet both prior to a meal and during the meal itself can help to reduce overall calorie intake. It also allows you to eat more food without taking in excessive calories which can be quite satisfying to someone who loves to eat. Next time you’re ready to eat a meal, do yourself a favor and start with a soup or salad.
Would you like to eat more food and still lose weight? Try adding more high water foods to your diet.