What are calorie-dense foods?

Calorie-dense foods are those that contain a large amount of calories in relation to their portion size. Of the three major calorie sources (fat, protein and carbohydrate), fats have the most calories per gram making fat-rich foods the most common calorie-dense foods.Overconsumption of calorie-dense foods can easily cause weight gain so intake should be carefully monitored by those trying to manage a healthy weight. Shown below are common calorie-dense foods. Use the GB Diet and Nutrition Evaluator to find out if you are eating right.

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Animal Fats
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Lard
Per 100 g 892 kcal
Per Serving 116 kcal
Serving Size 1 tbsp (13 g)
Plant Oils
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Palm oil
Per 100 g 850 kcal
Per Serving 119 kcal
Serving Size 1 tbsp (14 g)
Butter and Margarine
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Butter
Per 100 g 726 kcal
Per Serving 102 kcal
Serving Size 1 tbsp (14 g)
Nuts and Seeds
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Nuts, macadamia
Per 100 g 725 kcal
Per Serving 203 kcal
Serving Size ¼ cup (1 oz)
Nuts and Seeds
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Seeds, sunflower
Per 100 g 589 kcal
Per Serving 165 kcal
Serving Size ¼ cup (1 oz)
Fried Foods
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Pork, bacon
Per 100 g 538 kcal
Per Serving 129 kcal
Serving Size 3 slices (24 g)
Chocolate
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Chocolate bar, milk
Per 100 g 535 kcal
Per Serving 230 kcal
Serving Size 1 bar (43 g)
Cheese
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Cheese, parmesan
Per 100 g 396 kcal
Per Serving 111 kcal
Serving Size 1 oz (28.35 g)
Granola bars
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Granola bar, cereal bar
Per 100 g 354 kcal
Per Serving 131 kcal
Serving Size 1 bar (37 g)
Cereals
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Cereal, ready-to-eat
Per 100 g 300-400 kcal
Per Serving 300-400 kcal
Serving Size 1 cup (32 g)

Foods that are low in nutrients but high calorie are called empty-calorie foods. Foods containing the most empty calories have high levels of added sugar and fats. The following pictures show some common empty-calorie containing foods.

Junk Food
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Candy, Heath bar
Per 100 g 549 kcal
Per Serving 214 kcal
Serving Size 1 bar (39 g)
Junk Food
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Brownies
Per 100 g 405 kcal
Per Serving 405 kcal
Serving Size 1 medium (100 g)
Junk Food
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Doughnut, plain
Per 100 g 408 kcal
Per Serving 245 kcal
Serving Size 1 medium (60 g)
Junk Food
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Candy, fudge
Per 100 g 312 kcal
Per Serving 265 kcal
Serving Size 3 oz (85 g)
Alcoholic Beverages
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Liquor, vodka
Per 100 g 230 kcal
Per Serving 96 kcal
Serving Size 1 jigger (1.5 fl oz)
Alcoholic Beverages
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Beer
Per 100 g 43 kcal
Per Serving 153 kcal
Serving Size 1 can (12 fl oz)
Soda and Energy Drinks
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Energy Drink, Red Bull
Per 100 g 45 kcal
Per Serving 115 kcal
Serving Size 1 can (8.3 fl oz)
Soda and Energy Drinks
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Soda, Coca-Cola, regular
Per 100 g 37 kcal
Per Serving 137 kcal
Serving Size 1 can (12 fl oz)
Soda and Energy Drinks
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Sports Drink, Gatorade
Per 100 g 26 kcal
Per Serving 159 kcal
Serving Size 1 bottle (20 fl oz)
Dairy Products
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Ice cream, Kemps
Per 100 g 209 kcal
Per Serving 136 kcal
Serving Size ½ cup (65 g)

What is a calorie?

A calorie is a measurement of energy. A dietary calorie is defined as the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius. Fats, protein, and carbohydrates are the three major sources of dietary calories. Fats contain 9 calories per gram while protein and carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram. Alcohol, an often ignored calorie source for drinkers, contains 7 calories per gram.

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How many calories does a person need daily?

Calories are used to power all the activities of the human body including the thousands of reactions our cells are performing at any given moment, even during our sleep! Calories needed for these reactions come from our diets and daily calorie intake depends on the age, gender, height, weight, physical activities, and personal weight goals. Recommended daily calorie intake can be calculated using the GB HealthWatch Diet and Nutrition Evaluator. On average, recommended daily calorie intake for most adults ranges from 1,800 to 2,400 calories.

How do you use calorie restriction to manage weight loss?

When the calories you consume match the amount of energy you need to power your body, you are in “zero energy balance,” meaning your weight will stay constant. When you consume more calories than your body needs, the excess is converted into fat and stored, leading to weight gain in a situation called “positive energy balance.” When you consume fewer calories than your body needs, stored fat is broken down to make up for the energy deficit, leading to weight loss in a situation called “negative energy balance.”

Limiting your calorie intake is an effective weight loss strategy because it creates a negative energy balance. Other benefits include lower risks for diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Excessive or mismanaged calorie restriction can trigger eating disorders and lead to hormonal changes, and malnutrition.

You can calculate your recommended daily calorie intake using the GB HealthWatch Diet and Nutrition Evaluator. The calculator was developed based on the principle that your weight loss represents fat loss. Each pound of body fat stores roughly 3,500 calories. In order to lose one pound per week, you would need to create a negative energy balance of 3,500 calories per week, or about 500 calories per day.

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What are nutrient-dense foods?

Nutrient-dense foods are the ones with a high number of nutrients per calorie. Nutrients include proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fiber. These nutrients provide the body with building materials and functional molecules. Most nutrient-dense foods are energy-sparse (low-calorie) vegetables, fruits, and whole grains however some foods are both energy-dense and nutrient-dense like cheeses. Empty calorie foods are ones that contain few nutrients but are high calorie, typically as a result of added sugar and fat.

How do I manage my daily calorie intake more efficiently?

We recommend keeping track of how many calories you take in and the number of calories you expend using the GB HealthWatch Tools. Here you can find the Lifestyle Tracker and Diet and Nutrition Evaluator, two tools that can give you started with the information to set you on the right path to maintaining a healthy weight. In addition to this, increasing your intake of nutrient-dense foods, decreasing your intake of energy-dense foods, and avoiding empty-calorie foods are general strategies to manage calorie intake more efficiently.