Health Benefits Seen in Low-Energy-Density Diets

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables are more nutritious, less caloric and as filling as richer diets

FRIDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who eat a low-energy-density diet consume more food, take in fewer calories and have a healthier diet than people who eat richer diets, according to a study published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Jenny H. Ledikwe, Ph.D., of Pennsylvania State University in State College, Penn., and colleagues studied 7,500 adults enrolled in the 1994-1996 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals.

The researchers found that subjects with a low-energy-density diet, defined as a mean daily energy density value less than 1.7 kcal/g for men and 1.6 kcal/g for women, consumed more food by weight from most food groups than subjects with medium- or high-energy-density diets. They also found that the low-energy-density diet group consumed more water and low-fat foods such as fruits and vegetables, drank fewer caloric carbonated beverages, and had a higher intake of vitamins A, C, and B-6, folate, iron, calcium and potassium.

"These analyses add to a growing body of evidence indicating the beneficial effects associated with the consumption of a low-energy-density diet," the authors conclude. "Counseling about a low-energy-density diet should include encouraging the consumption of a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as grains, dairy products, and meats or meat alternatives that are high in micronutrients and water, and low in fat."

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