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Shake It Off with the 7-Day Zero Belly Smoothies Challenge

The secret to losing weight fast? Shhhh. It's "LEDF."
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It's not a new pill or scary bariatric procedure requiring tubes outside your body. It's an acronym for an idea that's been around for quite some time: Low Energy Density Food.

Energy density is the number of calories in a food per unit of mass. That may sound like something from high school chemistry class, but it shouldn't make your palms sweat. It's very simple, and it works wonders for weight loss.

Energy = calories. Low energy density foods are foods low in calories. Water is the lowest of low when it comes to low energy density consumables–with zero calories. But water is also heavy. It fills the belly. Try this experiment: Next time your stomach is growling, drink a 10-ounce glass of water and wait a few minutes. Feel better?

Now, you can't live on water alone, but what are some low energy (calorie) density foods that you can chew? Slices of red bell peppers are low energy density foods because they contain lots of water within their cells. A big green salad, easy on the dressing, is a terrific low energy density meal.

The concept of taping the power of LEDF for weight loss isn't ours. In the early 2000s, Penn State researcher Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., explored the idea in experiments with her students. Rolls' researchers fed chicken and rice to people in the exact same amounts but in different forms, one of them being soup. It turned out that the soup-eaters consumed 26 percent fewer calories during their next meal than the groups that ate drier chicken and rice dishes.

Water does two things to help weight loss, Rolls found: it fills out the belly, which signals the brain that the appropriate amount of food was eaten, and water in food leaves the belly more slowly, lengthening the time before hunger returns.

So, one of the secrets to making weight loss quicker and easier for you is to build your meals around low energy density foods. It's not hard to find them. Think fresh vegetables, fruits, broth soups, and smoothies. Made right with plant-protein powder, a little fruit for sweetness and maybe some Greek yogurt, smoothies can be an ideal low energy density food that you can use as a meal replacement.

For more than 100 delicious smoothie recipes, check out the best- selling Zero Belly Smoothies by David Zinczenko, and sign up for the 7-Day Zero Belly Smoothies Challenge here. You'll drop pounds fast, makeover your diet, and might win a kick-ass blender to help you put the power of low energy density foods to work for you.

Eat This, Not That! Editors
Inspired by The New York Times best-selling book series, Eat This, Not That! is a brand that's comprised of an award-winning team of journalists and board-certified experts, doctors, nutritionists, chefs, personal trainers, and dietitians who work together to bring you accurate, timely, informative, and actionable content on food, nutrition, dieting, weight loss, health, wellness, and more. Read more
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