How Do I Calculate Energy Density in Foods?

The energy density of a food is the ratio of that food's energy to its weight. Energy density is measured in calories per gram and is a constant number for each food. Foods like candy and desserts have high energy densities, while fresh fruits and vegetables have lower energy densities. Eating foods that are lower in energy density can help manage weight because these foods satisfy hunger without adding many calories.


Step 1

Find the weight, in grams, of a serving of food. To do this, look on the food label, where the gram weight is usually listed in parentheses next to the serving size.

Step 2

Look on the food label to find the calories in a serving of this food.

Step 3

Determine the energy density by dividing the calories by the weight in grams.



  • To follow a diet based on eating lower energy density foods, you may consider the Volumetrics Diet, which was created by Pennsylvania State University nutritionist Barbara Rolls. Rather than focusing on limiting food intake, this diet stresses eating larger quantities of healthy foods that have lower calories.


  • Consult your physician before starting any diet.

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