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What Are Empty Calories?

Most of us have heard the expression “Empty Calories”, but what does that mean?  “Empty calories” refer to calories derived from foods that contain no nutrients.    

Well, let’s first define “nutrients”:  a substance that provides nourishment essential for growth and the maintenance of life.

So based on the above definitions, what foods contain “empty calories”?  Here goes:

  • Sugar: cakes, candies, soft drinks, cookies, sweets and other foods/drinks laden with high fructose corn syrup
  • Fats: margarine and shortenings
  • Alcohol:  beer, wine, hard liquor

Carbohydrates in other forms contain nutrients, such as potatoes, rice and pasts so they would not be considered in the class of “empty calories”.  However, clearly, from a weight control standpoint, these are not the best sources of calories.  Proteins are the “go to” choice for weight control.

During your long-term weight control efforts try to eliminate the foods/drinks that contain “empty calories” because if you do not, chances are that when it comes to weight control, you will come up empty.

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