Empty calories are the calories that contribute to your total caloric intake but supply little or no nutritional value. Those food items that contain high calories but no significant nutrients (especially protein, vitamins and minerals) are considered to have empty calories. Such foods are generally high in sugar, fat, or alcohol content with little or no other nutritional value. Major sources of empty calories are added sugars, solid fats and processed oils. Foods and drinks that contain mostly empty calories include junk food, soft drinks, soda and energy drinks, alcohol, candy bars, chocolate bars, hard candies, cakes, cookies, etc.
A research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that “Male adults ate an average of 923 empty calories per day. For females, the average intake of empty calories was 624 calories per day.”
Many packaged foods contain empty calories. They provide solid fats and added sugars with very little nutrients leading to weight gain and nutritional deficiencies.
Empty calories can damage your body. Foods high in saturated fat and sugar are linked to many chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
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