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What is Energy Compensation and Why it is More Important than Calories in Food

  • By Fahad Ahmad
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What is Energy Compensation and Why it is More Important than Calories in Food

One of the biggest misconceptions in nutrition and diet is that a food item higher in calories will cause a person to gain weight while a food lower in calories will lead to leanness. However, this is a false assumption that low-calorie foods can contribute more to obesity than high-calorie foods. How? Let us talk about a scientific nutrition concept called "Energy Compensation.”

What is Energy Compensation?

The Energy or Dietary Compensation of food, in simple terms, is the ability of a food's caloric value to be compensated by a reduction of caloric intake later. For example, if you ate 300 calories of a food product right now and it leads to a reduction of 300 calories of food later, this food would be "fully compensated". Meanwhile, if you drank 150 calories of a beverage, despite being lower in calories, is not compensated by a reduction of the same amount of calories later, this would be "incomplete compensation". This is why foods with poor compensation, despite being lower in calories, can drastically contribute to energy intake throughout the day. 

Practical Implications

We know that low viscosity drinks such as soda and protein waters along with other foods that rapidly digest in the body have a low compensatory response. These foods may either make you feel hungry sooner or unknowingly they may be contributing to fat gain.

The Curious Case of Nut

An interesting example that supports the power of "Energy Compensation" is nuts. Nuts are generally considered to be "high calorie" foods in much the nutrition circles. However, the science on nuts consistently shows that nuts favor weight normalization or fat loss in the obese or overweight populace. This seems to be dependent on the micro and nanostructure of nuts which changes within our digestive system leading to reduced caloric intake. 

The Research is Novel

The focus on the structure of food is new and plays a critical role in creating modern foods of the future that favor weight normalization without the need for tracking calories in the larger population. At Ketogeek, we try to apply these concepts to our products and this has been a new avenue of exploration for us while developing Energy Pods. Eventually, as we grow, we plan to conduct in-house nutrition studies and modeling to better understand this concept of food architecture and its influence on caloric intake. 

 

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