12 Foods That Make Counting Calories Obsolete (We Can’t Get Enough of #4!)

dieting apple calorie counting

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The first thing many people do when they are trying to lose weight is to start counting calories. The age-old piece of advice most people hear is: Calories in, calories out. In other words, eat fewer calories than you burn. This sounds logical and it does work for some people, but not everyone.

The problem here is that counting calories does not work for everyone. Why? Because a calorie is definitely not a calorie. Your body treats different types of food differently. Even different types of sugar are not processed equally. The identical calorie count from fructose and protein, or glucose and fat, or even fructose and glucose, will cause your body to respond in entirely different metabolic rates.

If you truly want to lose weight and improve your health, you need to replace empty calorie, denatured foods with nutrient dense foods. In other words, to lose weight, shift your focus from food quantity to food quality.

For example, although many people turn to salads to help them fill up their stomach but lose weight, this can be a mistake. True, eating a salad that is mainly lettuce and cucumbers will fill you up with water and very few calories, but your body will be getting almost no nutrition.

Consider the fact that you can only consume so much food in one day. When you realize that your stomach is akin to a prime piece of real estate, you would be wise to consider the nutritional value of the foods you eat, rather than the quantity of food you can eat.

We have listed 12 of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet that will not only fill you up, but they will satisfy the body and stop food cravings because your body will receive the nutrition it so desperately needs.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

1. Figs

If you suffer from the perpetual sweet tooth, figs are a terrific answer. Many of us simply don’t feel satisfied after eating unless we finish a meal with something sweet. Figs have a sweet tasting flesh that is super high in fiber but low in calories. One fig has about 37 calories and one gram of fiber, which helps to slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream. This will prevent the erratic highs and lows caused by eating cookies or other sweets after dinner.

 

2. Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon

When talking fish, the two things you must consider are the healthy fat content versus the contamination level of the fish you would like to eat. Wild caught Alaskan salmon is one of your best choices when choosing fish. It is super high in omega-3s but low on the scale of contamination. Without healthy fats, such as the omega-3s in fish, your cells cannot function properly. Since wild salmon eat a natural diet, they have a more complete nutritional profile. Avoid farmed salmon at all costs as their artificial diet, loaded with GMO foods and other junk, negatively affects their nutritional profile.

 

3. Apples

The ever popular apple is one of the few fruits that contain pectin — it naturally slows down the digestion and encourages the feeling of fullness. Several studies have shown that those who consumed an apple as a part of a meal ate less because they felt more satisfied.  Don’t waste your time with juice or applesauce, whole apples take a long time to eat but they contain very few calories. This gives your body more time to tell the brain that you are full. This means you can eat a great many apples and avoid feeling deprived.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

4. Bone Broth

Bone broth contains so many nutrients, many of them that most Americans are lacking in their diet, including silicon, calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, cartilage and collagen, essential amino acids glutamine, glycine, and Proline,  just to name a few. Bone broth is very healing to the gut. Also, one of the great things about bone broth is that your body can easily absorb these nutrients and use them.  Make your own bone broth base for delicious vegetable soups that contain more nutrition than you can shake a stick at.

 

5. Greek Yogurt

In one study, researchers at Harvard looked at the eating habits of more than 120,000 people over a 20 year period and they discovered that those who consumed yogurt lost more weight than those who did not consume yogurt. In fact, the yogurt eaters lose weight without doing anything else; no diet, no excessive exercise, just yogurt. The Nestle Nutrition Institute did a review of a study which found that consuming dairy protein increases feelings of satiety, keeps blood sugar levels steady, and reduces overall food consumption. Greek yogurt contains double the protein and less sugar than regular yogurt, so eat up!

 

6. Baked Potatoes

Potatoes have been demonized by many diet books but the truth is that potatoes are powerful hunger tamers. It’s the things that we add to potatoes, such as sour cream, bacon and cheese. One study found that people who consumed potatoes felt more full and ate less for two full hours after eating than those who ate brown rice o whole wheat bread. Potatoes are high in carbs but they are also chock full of fiber, vitamins, and other important nutrients that will give you a steady supply of energy and a long lasting feeling of fullness.

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bean soup

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7. Bean Soup

Since soups have a high water content, they will naturally fill up your stomach without filling out your waistline! Bean soup contains a big dose of fiber as well as resistant starch, which is a good type of carbohydrate that slows the release of sugar into the blood. That is what keeps you feeling full for a long time. All of this goodness for a tiny 150 calories per cup! Add some vegetables into your bean soup and you have a winning lunch or dinner!

 

8. Kale

When speaking about nutritional density, kale is in a class by itself.  It has an incredible three to one carbohydrate to protein ratio- which is very high amount of protein for a vegetable. Kale contains all nine essential amino acids which are needed to form protein within the human body. Kale also has another nine non-essential amino acids, for a grand total of 18 amino acids. Kale is also rich in vitamins A, K1, and C, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Kale also contains a large list of minerals, including containing more calcium than milk. Add kale to your salads or bake them, and enjoy them like chips and salsa.

 

9. Liver

One of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat is liver form grass-fed, organic animals. Liver has the most concentrated source of vitamin A, as well as iron, copper, and folic acid. Just three ounces of beef liver has three times the amount of choline of one egg. Liver is a favorite among athletes as it has a type of “anti-fatigue” factor that scientists cannot fully explain. Try eating liver once or twice a week for some incredible nutrition.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

10. Garlic

You might not think of an herb like garlic as a nutrient dense food, but it really is. Rich in calcium, selenium, vitamins B6 and C, manganese, and phosphorus, garlic is super beneficial for your thyroid and your bone health. Numerous studies have shown that garlic has a positive effect on more than 150 different diseases, including cancer. Black garlic has also been shown to have impressive nutritional compounds. One 2009 study with animals found that fresh garlic was very effective in reducing the size of cancerous tumors. Garlic has virtually no calories, so add chopped, raw garlic to salads, soups, vegetable dishes and casseroles.

 

11. Eggs

Eggs really are nature’s most perfect food. Eggs are full of high quality protein, vitamins, minerals, and other types of healthy fat. Egg yolks are a super-rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants that can stop age-related macular degeneration, which is the most common cause of blindness. Eggs contain choline, which is important for the health of your brain. Always be certain that you are buying eggs that come from free-range chickens to get all the best nutrition possible.

 

SEE ALSO: This One Kitchen Spice Can Help You Lose Weight, Fight Alzheimer’s and More

 

12. Sprouts

There are a wide variety of seeds that can be sprouted, not only bean sprouts. Seeds in and of themselves are healthy, but once sprouted; they seem to maximize their overall nutritional value. For example, sunflower seeds are full of healthy nutrients, but once they sprout, the vitamin, protein, and mineral content is nearly tripled. Sprouts have as much as 100 times more enzymes than raw fruits and vegetables, which means that this will allow your body to absorb the nutrients in other foods that you eat. Sprouting also increases the essential fatty acid and fiber content of the seeds.

Add more of these foods to your weekly grocery list for super nutrition and stop counting those calories!

References:

Eurekalert.org

Organic-center.org

Jn.nutrition.org