Understanding What Empty Calories are All About

Fast Food ImageEmpty calories may sound like a strange term.

How can calories be empty you may wonder?

To put it simply, empty calories are high calories that are low in nutritional value. They are empty and high at the same time. Junk food is a good example of food that has a high percentage of empty calories.

Empty calories do you no good whatsoever as they provide no value to your health at all.

Foods that are composed of empty calories are not made up of the micro-nutrients that are needed for health and proper nutrition. Micro-nutrients contain no calories and include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. On the other hand, carbohydrates, fats and proteins all contain calories and are known as macro-nutrients.

Deep-fried foods are chocked full of empty calories. This includes such foods as French fries, potato chips and fried chicken. If you go to a fast food restaurant and order a large serving of French fries then your order will come with an estimated 30 grams of total fat content and eight grams of trans fat.

Soda pop is full of empty calories and is also packed with additives and colorings that are not good for the body.  One can of soda equals a tremendous amount of empty calories and lots of sugar but none of the required vitamins, minerals or antioxidants. The same can be said of candy and other similar types of packaged foods such as caramel popcorn.

Whole grains are made up of the micro-nutrients you need whereas refined grains contain a small percentage of B vitamins but nothing else of benefit.

White bread and white rice is both full of empty calories as are cookies, crackers and muffins that are made from refined grains. Choose whole wheat bread over white bread for a sandwich or for toast in the morning. Eat unsweetened oatmeal or a whole grain cereal instead of reaching for a sugary brand of cereal that can offer you nothing in the way of nutritional benefit.

To avoid consuming empty calories you need to become more conscientious of what you eat. Choose natural and organic foods whenever possible. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables over canned ones. Do not deep fry your food. Look for other ways to cook your food. For example, have a piece of grilled chicken or baked skinless chicken instead of fried chicken.

Choose a baked potato instead of fries (but hold the sour cream!). When you have a craving for a snack try some fruit and low-fat yogurt instead of running to the vending machine at work or the closest McDonalds! With a little effort you can reduce the amount of empty calories that you consume in your diet on a daily basis and by so doing increase your disease fighting ability!

Becca Scott
Staff Writer
Smoke Free At Last

Filed Under: Weight Loss

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About the Author

Becca Scott lives in New York state with her cats and dogs and writes extensively and passionately about alternative health topics for her own blog and other alternative health publications. Becca has a keen interest in the power of hypnosis as a therapeutic aid to eradicate damaging habits. She has been a staff writer for Smoke Free At Last since the blog was started in 2009.

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