MIAMI, March 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A French lawyer, politician, and gastronome first penned the connection between the foods we eat and the bearing they have on one's health back in 1826. History and research have proven the connection true, yet Americans continue to suffer the profound impact of their food choices. Today, poor diet is linked to almost half of the deaths caused by heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. This National Nutrition Month, Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa, America's longest running transformative health and weight-loss retreat, outlines the key to achieving better nutrition and sustainable weight loss: Calorie Density.
Understanding Caloric Density
Calorie density describes the number of calories in a given volume or weight of food. Each food has a caloric density, and certain foods have more calories packed into them (pound for pound) than others. Fresh tomatoes, for example, have just 90 calories per pound. Bagels are packed with more than 1,200 calories per pound – almost 13 times as many calories as a tomato.
Caloric density is not calorie counting. An easy way to think about calorie density is the "concentration" of calories in a food. Bagels are more "concentrated" in calories than tomatoes. Understanding caloric density can help improve one's diet and maintain a healthy weight.
"Counting calories only tells one side of a multi-sided story. So instead of calorie counting, we recommend filling your plate with heaping amounts of good, healthy food. This way, with each bite, you're naturally ingesting much-needed nutrients while dramatically cutting calories. It's smart eating," explains Pritikin's Director of Nutrition Kimberly Gomer. "Knowing the calorie density of the foods you're eating helps keep you full and happy, which means you're far less likely to go places you ought not to go, like eating a whole pizza."
Smarter Eating for Better Nutrition
Pritikin is the first and most celebrated comprehensive lifestyle program in America, and for more than 40 years, has been at the forefront of lifestyle science. The program, which has been published in more than 100 peer-reviewed studies, is the most successful method for preventing and controlling leading health concerns, including coronary artery disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Operating on the evidence-based findings that good nutrition is critical to a longer healthier life, Pritikin offers the following tips for a low-calorie-density diet:
1. Go for Satiety
Low-calorie-dense foods have a high water and fiber content, which promotes satiety or fullness. They also contain many more nutrients – more calcium, more iron, more potassium, and more vitamins A, C, B-6, and folate – than fattier, richer, calorie-packed foods.
2. Go Veggie, Go Lean
The more plant-based, fiber-rich foods such as vegetables and fruits one eats, the better for health and weight-control benefits.
3. The 90 Percent Rule
For at least 90 percent of a daily diet, Pritikin recommends low-calorie-dense foods such as non-starchy vegetables; fruit; smart carbs: potatoes, whole-grain pastas, brown rice, sweet potatoes, corn, hot whole-grain cereals like oatmeal; legumes: peas and beans, such as pinto, garbanzo, black, and lentil beans; nonfat dairy and soy foods.
4. Limit Animal Proteins
Non-vegetarians should limit the other 10 percent of their daily diet to one lean animal protein – seafood, lean poultry, lean red meat (and no more than 4 ounces a day) – to keep their arteries in good shape.
5. Skip Dry, Fatty Foods
Oils are the most calorie-dense foods on the planet. Foods that are high in calorie density tend to be dry and/or fatty. These foods don't take up a lot of space on one's plate or stomach, but they have a high calorie cost. Examples include butter, oils, salad dressings, sugar, nuts, seeds, dry bread, dry cereal, crackers, egg yolk, avocado, dried fruit, red meat, and yes, pizza too.
Low-calorie-dense foods offer a variety of health benefits. They not only fill one's plate with a lot of satisfying food, but they contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients. Filling up on nutritious, low-calorie-dense foods is the way to overall better nutrition, while also lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and controlling blood sugars.
About Pritikin Longevity Center
For more than 40 years, the internationally renowned Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa has served as the leading total body and mind health resort destination in the world. From weight loss to the prevention and reversal of the progression of coronary heart disease, diabetes and other health concerns, the program immerses guests in a life-calibrating educational journey embedded in longevity-rich dining, culinary classes, private physician diagnostics, weight-loss workshops, diabetes management and reversal, longevity living education and psychological wellbeing. Located in Miami, nestled within an exquisite 650-acre, four-star resort with beautiful pools, championship golf courses and other world-class amenities, a Pritikin health and wellness retreat offers something for those seeking to enjoy the greatest duration of life. To begin a longevity journey, visit www.pritikin.com.
 Health Essentials, Poor Diet Linked to Half of Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes Deaths, Mar. 28, 2017.
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SOURCE Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa