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Calorie Density and A Plant Based Lifestyle

By: Guest Author, Denise Balistrieri, Owner of Pflurish PBK (Plant Based Kitchen)

“Calorie Density. What is it and why is it important to the WFPB lifestyle?” Read on to learn more from our special guest Denise Balistrieri !!

The definition of calorie density is: the number of calories in a given weight of food.

The best explanation I could find was in an article written by Jeff Novick, MS, RD for the Forks Over Knives website.

“Calorie density is simply a measure of how many calories are in a given weight of food, most often expressed as calories per pound.

A food high in calorie density has a large number ofcalories in a small weight of food, whereas a food low in calorie density has much fewer calories in the same weight of food.

Therefore, one can consume a larger portion of a low-calorie dense food than a high-calorie dense food for the same number of calories.

On a day-to-day basis, people generally eat a similar amount of food, by weight.

Therefore, choosing foods with a lower calorie density allows us to consume our usual amount of food (or more) while reducing our caloric intake. Foods low in calorie density also tend to be higher in satiety so by consuming foods lower in calorie density, one can fill up on much fewer calories without having to go hungry and without having to weigh, measure or portion control our food. In addition, the foods that are lower in calorie density (fruits, veggies, starchy vegetables, intact whole grains and legumes) are also the foods highest in nutrient density.

Therefore, by following a diet lower in calorie density, one also automatically consumes a diet higher in nutrient density.”

Below is a graphic that helps to demonstrate calorie density by food category.

As you can see, Fruits, Vegetables, Potatoes, Beans and Rice contain lower calorie density than Meats, Cheeses and Oils, therefore you can eat more for about the same amount of calories!

*Plant based oils are not recommended on a WFPB diet because they are simply fat calories and your body does not recognize oil as a food. For a more in depth reading on calorie density, use this link-

A plant-based diet not only provides many health benefits, it can also aid in weight loss and maintenance. You can eat more and weigh less!

I can’t believe how much I can eat in one day! I don’t count calories or carbohydrates, I simply eat until satiated. For a visual explanation of this concept, see the graph below.

FYI-Foods made from refined flour, sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oils are technically “plant-based” but it doesn’t make them healthy.

Eat more plants! Feel free to comment or message! I love to learn what others have experienced!

Follow me on Facebook Pflurish PBK or on Instagram for recipes and more!

—— Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian, nor will I diagnose anyone. IMPORTANT! If you or a family member should decide to adopt a more plant forward lifestyle and are taking ANY type of medication, it is IMPERATIVE that you involve your healthcare provider in your decision to do so! Many medications will function VERY DIFFERENTLY with changes to your diet and you may need to have your healthcare provider change your dosage as your body chemistry changes.

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