Energy and nutrient density is much talked issues when some health conscious people get together. It is necessary to have clear idea on both of this concept. Although they differ from each other in various aspects.
Nutrients density is a concept that states the amount of nutrition found in every calories. When a food that is low in calorie but high in nutrients then it is called nutrition dense food. Although it is difficult to determine high dense or low dense foods because it is relative concept. It is mostly used when we compare two foods. If a food contain more nutrients in a fixed amount of calories than other foods then it is called nutrition dense food.
For example, a glass of juice and a glass of soda are similar in terms of calorie. But it is obvious that you will find more nutrients in juice than soda so it juice will be more nutrient dense than soda.
Determining nutrient density is little difficult and requires strategy to figure out. Suppose one food item is loaded with vitamin c and other food is rich with calcium. Is it enough to say which particular food is more nutrient dense? Of course not. There are many systems to calculate nutrient density but no one is above of weakness. So many people use different methods of nutrient calculation. A popular method of ranking nutrients dense food is ranking high those foods that is high in multi nutrients comparing to those foods that are high only one or two nutrients. Most of the time it is difficult to rank foods correctly. As the goal is choosing food that provides more nutrients at the same calories whatever the weakness is of any methods should be ignored.
When energy density is the concept then calorie and weight of the food is considered. Energy density is a concept, which provides an idea of calorie per gram of food is called energy density. Not only the weight sometimes portion size is also considered. For example, a cup of milk contains 200 calories and a cup of juice contain 100 calories. So you can say milk is more energy dense food. A particular food cannot be considered high-energy dense or low energy dense. But some food that are filled with water and any liquid substances are normally low dense food. The method of calculating energy density food is already discussed in my previous article called energy density of foods.
How both Concepts are Relevant?
When you are maintaining weight, it is required to have proper idea about how many calorie and nutrients you are consuming. Suppose you want to eat large meal but don’t want to consume fat then you have to search low energy dense foods which will make you full with low calorie. At the same time if you want nutrient density foods to consume, you can avoid large portion or calorie contained food.
Things Need to Consider
Although both concept are equally important for healthy planning but still there are some loop holes that might be overlooked to people. For example energy density foods does not consider the sources of foods so it is not often considered to whether the calorie is coming from good or bad fat. Some foods are low calorie but provide saturated fat or trans-fat. In this point of view both concept have a weakness. On the other hand, low calorie foods does not necessarily means that you are having nutritious foods.
So you have to consider all these things to take more benefits from these concepts both are very crucial for having clear idea about maintaining healthy life.