What Are Empty Calories?
Written by Diet Bites
How foods lacking nutritional values impact weight.
Empty calories are those foods that contain little, if any nutritional value to your diet.
There are several negatives regarding empty calories, but here is Diet Bites short list:
- Empty calories are generally extremely high in caloric and dietary fat values.
- They can also be part of a very healthy food. When fried mushrooms, fried zucchini, potatoes, onions or okra are prepared, the vegetables are healthy sources of vitamins and minerals required by the body.
Even the breading that is on the outside of the vegetable is a healthy food choice and is usually in the form of a grain - such as flour or cornmeal.
The negative nutritional values come into play with the oil which is extreme in caloric values, and of course 100% fat; the oil is a fantastic example of empty calories. We can take this a step further up the Nutritional Ladder by saying that those negatives surrounding the oil also rub off on the otherwise stellar values of the vegetables, decreasing the optimum values which could have otherwise been obtained but which were canceled-out due to the oil.
- Empty calories aren't very fulfilling and leave hunger lurking around the next Diet Bend (or is that Diet Binge....).
They are much like the soda and water fixation in which an individual's thirst doesn't get quenched with soda, rather leaves one craving more soda (The Sugar Fix). The more you drink water rather than the sugary soda, you'll soon find it to be your favorite 'beverage' preference.
As to the satiety power issue, try the following experiment. The next time that you feel hungry, rather than choosing a serving of sugary soda or sweet tea for your beverage, try enjoying a cup of reduced fat milk. See how long you feel satisfied with the milk. At another time, reach for the soda and again, measure the time it takes you to feel hungry again. You should feel satisfied for a much longer time when choosing the milk than when choosing the soda.
As a health note, the regular soda contains about the same number of calories per cup (8 ounces) as the reduced fat milk. Here is where dietary fat can prove beneficial in satisfying hunger without creating a situation for weight gain in your daily diet. The reduced fat milk does hold minimal fat which can assist in keeping you satisfied and out of Mister Hungry's clutches.
Unlike the fried vegetables which we spoke about above, the reduced fat milk isn't mined with caloric content and it contains far less dietary fat when compared to fried foods.
- Empty calories translate into 'quick weight gains' if left unaccounted in the diet.
A few examples of empty calories are: hard candies, cotton candy and candy bars without nuts. But empty calories are more than 'just about candy'.
Foods Containing Empty Calories But Which Hold Some Nutritional Benefits
As with our fried vegetables, there are several other foods which are comprised of both a negative and a positive. At times, the negative impact of sugar and fat content can cancel out any positive nutritional benefits.
However, there are foods which are considered quite taboo but which will offer minimal nutritional benefits even though they contain negative elements.
These include common desserts such as cupcakes, cakes, fruit pies, custard pies, puddings and cinnamon rolls. Some of these foods are built upon the healthy grain group and deliver benefits from such.
Others use milk in their base recipe, thus rendering benefits from the dairy food group. Others hold fruit benefits - or spices which have been connected to healing powers within the body.
In Summary: The more processed the food, the less value it holds in the area of nutrition, vitamins and minerals.