Can You Eat More And Lose Weight?

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Calorie reduction is part of losing weight - but does this necessarily mean you have to eat less? In fact it's quite the opposite: with the right energy density, eating MORE will help you lose weight!

Table of contents

The pain of calories

It is always surprising - and completely unfair - how just a few calories too many can make us bigger. If you eat just 3-4% more than the calories you need every day, you will put on a kilo more on your hips within a year. In addition to the unpleasant fact that we no longer fit into our trousers, the extra rolls have a negative effect on our health once they reach a certain excess. They have also been shown to exacerbate many symptoms of the menopause, such as hot flushes.

Too many calories and "wrong" foods, as well as the hormonal changes from perimenopause to postmenopause promote weight gain. No wonder the dissatisfaction with your own weight and the desire to lose weight is almost always the top topic in our XbyX Check.

On the way to a healthy weight, it helps to understand some basic things about appetite and calorie reduction. Let's see what weight loss is all about!

Losing weight with a calorie deficit

 The first priority is calorie reduction. We will only lose weight if our daily calorie intake is lower than our calorie expenditure. We can increase calorie expenditure by exercising more or building up more active muscle mass. We can reduce our calorie intake through our diet. The best effect is, of course, a combination. Incidentally, calories are nothing more than a unit of energy - energy that our body needs to survive. And which, if it gets more than it needs, it stores as fat "for a rainy day".

Fill yourself up with protein
During the menopause, we need to prioritise our protein to ensure we maintain our muscle mass - which can help us enormously with weight loss. Protein also promotes satiety, making us less hungry throughout the day and more likely to stick to our calorie goal!
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The concept of energy density

The foods we eat differ in terms of their calorie content and, above all, their energy density. Understanding this principle is essential because it helps us to fill up on the right foods.

Energy density is defined as the energy (i.e. the amount of calories) provided by one gram of a food. Any fat - whether olive oil, pork fat or fish oil - provides 9 kcal per gram. Carbohydrates and proteins provide around 4 kcal per gram.

Foods rich in fat therefore have a high energy density. In contrast, foods with a low energy density are almost always characterised by the fact that they naturally have a high water content. For example, fruit and vegetables. This becomes clear when we look at the amount of 400 kcal of each food:

  • approx. 50 ml of olive oil or
  • approx. 250 g chicken breast or
  • 200 g pepper, 200 g cucumber, 200 g kale, 200 g tomatoes, 200 g courgette and 200 g sweet potato

stomach satiety graphic xbyx menopause calorie density

With 400 kcal of vegetables, the stomach is well filled. The high water content in foods such as vegetables fills you up faster and slows down gastric emptying. If you eat a lot of vegetables, you automatically reduce your daily calorie intake as a logical consequence.
It is clear that high-volume foods - such as fruit, vegetables or soups - are at the top of all healthy weight loss programmes. Apart from the fact that they not only provide us with energy, but also with essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.

What to eat to lose weight?

A meta-study analysed the results of 35 randomised studies, all of which investigated the effect of energy density. The scientists measured the influence of appetisers (so-called "preload" meals) - i.e. foods eaten before a meal or snack - on subsequent calorie intake. Different ratios of carbohydrates, fibre, fat and water content were tested.
In some studies, participants were given something to eat before the start of a meal, e.g. vegetables - i.e. low energy density, with lots of fibre and water.

Other studies compared the energy density of the respective test meals: salad with low energy density versus the high energy density of high-fat meals.

The conclusion of the meta-study: study participants who ate foods with a high fibre and water content and a low energy content directly before the meal showed the greatest effect on appetite reduction. This makes a lot of sense, because foods with a high fibre and water content, such as vegetables and fruit, slow down gastric emptying, prolong the time that food remains in the intestine and delay the absorption of fats and carbohydrates into the blood, which in turn causes blood sugar to rise more slowly.

The results showed that eating foods with a low energy density and high fibre and water content just before a meal can reduce your energy intake by around 100 kcal.

So eat more to lose weight!

Get your protein without the added bits
Wanting to pack your protein in without any of the additives - look no further than Daily Energy Plain!
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What this means in everyday life

Quite simply: live high on vegetable soup, salad or even an apple as a starter! Eating something high in fibre and water before a main meal - for example vegetable sticks, vegetable soup or simply an apple - helps you lose weight.

By the way, we're not talking about creamy, ready-made packet broccoli soup with lots of cream. This is neither high-in-fibre nor low-in-energy density due to the added fats and flavour enhancers.

Lose weight & Eat enough

The meta-study only investigated the effects of different appetisers on subsequent calorie intake. However, the principle of energy density can also be applied to the main meals themselves. If you want to lose weight, you should fill up on foods that are naturally high in volume and low in calories. Vegetables, fruit, salads and mushrooms have a low energy density and fill you up with few calories. Wholemeal products and pulses have a slightly higher energy density, but thanks to their high fibre content, they ensure long-lasting satiety and slow absorption of nutrients in the body.

And what about fat? Fat has a high energy density, so you shouldn't overdo it, especially when losing weight. However, the body needs fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, so you shouldn't cut them out of your diet completely. Want to know more about the balance between dietary fat and body fat? Then read our article "Does fat really make you fat?"


The principle of energy density also played a key role in the development of our XbyX Energy Superfood Shake and all our Simple 7 smoothie recipes: lots of fibre, good plant-based proteins and healthy fats in moderation.

Yes, eat more to lose weight!

As counterintuitive as it may sound, eating more - especially soups, salads or a whole piece of fruit or vegetable as an appetiser - is an important component of healthy weight loss.


The effect of preload/meal energy density on energy intake in a subsequent meal: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Eat Behav. 2017 Aug;26:6-15. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2016.12.011

Dietary fiber and energy regulation, J Nutr. 2000 Feb;130(2S Suppl):272S-275S. doi: 10.1093/jn/130.2.272S

The role of energy intake and energy misreporting in the associations between eating patterns and adiposity, Eur J Clin Nutr. 2018 Jan;72(1):142-147. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2017.90

The relationship between dietary energy density and energy intake, Physiol Behav. 2009 Jul 14;97(5):609-15. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2009.03.011Mar 20.