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Foods That Contribute to Obesity

author image Jessica Bruso
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.
Foods That Contribute to Obesity
Avoid fast food for a healthier diet. Photo Credit Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images

Any food can cause weight gain if you eat too much of it. But certain foods are more energy dense, meaning they have more calories per gram, which makes them less filling and makes it more likely you'll overeat these foods. It's the amount of food you eat that fills you up, not the number of calories. People who consume diets that are more energy dense are more likely to be obese than those who consume diets lower in energy density, according to a study published in "Diabetes Care" in April 2007.

Energy-Dense Foods

Foods That Contribute to Obesity
Baked goods. Photo Credit jcarlosdelacruz/iStock/Getty Images

Fast food tends to be very high in energy density, with a typical meal containing more than twice the energy density of a healthy diet, according to a study published in "Obesity Reviews" in November 2003. Other energy-dense foods are those that are high in sugar, fat or both, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, nuts, avocados, dried fruit, full-fat dairy products, fatty cuts of meat, desserts and many baked goods.

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Better Options

Foods That Contribute to Obesity
Substitute more energy-dense foods such as beans. Photo Credit Blue Jean Images/Photodisc/Getty Images

Consume more low-energy-density foods, which are those with a high water or fiber content, including most fruits and vegetables. Fill your plate mainly with these foods and eat them first; then you'll have less room for the more energy-dense foods in your meal. You can also replace half of the amount you'd usually use of an energy-dense food with fruits or vegetables, such as using beans instead of half the meat in your favorite chili recipe.

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