Empty calories

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What are empty calories?

Empty calories are calories that come from foods that have poor nutritional value but provide a lot of calories, most of whom are either high glycemic type carbohydrates or fats leading to weight gain, increased risk of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

Types of empty calories

  • Empty calories from solid fats
  • Empty calories from high glycemic added sugars.

Solid fats and added sugars add calories to the food but have few or no nutrients. This is why the calories from solid fats and added sugars in a food are often called empty calories.

Solid fats and empty calories

Solid fats are fats that are solid at room temperature, like butter, beef fat, and shortening. Some solid fats are found naturally in foods. They can also be added when foods are processed by food companies or when they are prepared.

Added sugars and empty calories

Solid fats and added sugars can make a food or beverage more appealing, but they also can add a lot of calories. The foods and beverages that provide the most empty calories for Americans are:

  • Cakes, cookies, pastries, and donuts (contain both solid fat and added sugars)
  • Sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks (contain added sugars)
  • Cheese (contains solid fat)
  • Pizza (contains solid fat)
  • Ice cream (contains both solid fat and added sugars)
  • Sausages, hot dogs, bacon, and ribs (contain solid fat)

Why are they called empty calories?

These so called empty calories from solid fats and/or supplemented added sugars, serve no nutritional value, often contribute to sugar rush and crash, food cravings and weight gain.

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Empty calorie foods

There are some foods that have zero nutritional value and 100 percent empty calories, a good example of which is sugar sweetened beverages such as soda.

How to avoid empty calories and losing weight?

It is important to understand that starting the day right with a balanced, protein, low glycemic breakfast lasts longer and avoids the common sugar rush and crash seen with starchy foods. You can limit empty calories to a minimum by eliminating most of the starchy foods, especially those that have minimal or no nutritional value, and avoiding saturated fats.

Why empty calories are important?

In order control your weight, and reduce the risk of weight gain, is vital to understand empty calories.

Types of empty calories

There are basically two types of empty calories: Empty calories form solid fats and empty calories from added sugars.

  • Solid fats are fats that are solid at room warmth, like dairy spread, beef fat, and shortening. Some solid fats are found naturally in nourishment. They can furthermore be supplemented when nourishments are processed by nourishment businesses or when they are arranged.
  • Added sugars are sugars, beverages or syrups that are supplemented when nourishment or beverages are processed or arranged.

What happens with empty calories?

These empty calories often lead to not only excess weight gain, but also contribute to the metabolic starvation that is commonly seen among the obese due to their contribution toward insulin resistance.

Daily limits for empty calories

For an average adult, the daily limit for empty calories is limit for empty calories is about 200-300 calories.

See a list of empty calories allowed based on your calorie needs.

Risk of weight gain with empty calories

Certain refined grain products can also be empty calories as are corn based and high fructose corn syrup based products.

Empty calories and insulin resistance

It is a well known fact that foods that are high in glycemic index lead to wide fluctuations in your blood sugar due to sugar rush and crash leading to food cravings.

Examples of empty calories

  • Baked cakes, cookies, pastries, and donuts (contain both solid fat and supplemented sugars)
  • Sodas, power beverages, sports beverages, and crop beverages (contain added sugars)
  • Dairy cheese (contains solid fat)
  • Pizza (contains solid fat)
  • Ice cream (contains both solid fat and added sugars)
  • Sausages, hot canines, bacon, and ribs (contain solid fat)
  • Baked cakes, cookies, pastries, and donuts (contain both solid fat and supplemented sugars)

Ways to avoid empty calories

Starting the day right with a balanced, protein based meal is important to avoid the vicious cycle that empty calories start by causing the sugar rush and crash, food cravings often leading to

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Soft drinks and beverages

Another important contributor to empty calories are sodas and other sugary beverages that are the foremost sources of empty calories.

Zero nutritional value foods

In some foods, like most candies and sodas, all the calories are empty calories. and serve no nutritional purpose. These foods are often called "empty calorie foods'.

Corn fed beef versus grass fed beef

As saturated fat is considered as a source of empty calories, it is important to realize that the animals that raised in a farm where they are fed primarily a grain based, corn based diet lead to significant increase in their saturated fat - According to some studies, this increase in saturated fat on corn and grain fed beff can be as much as 500 percent increase compared to grass fed beef!

insulin resistance

Making better alternatives, like unsweetened applesauce or additional lean ground beef, can help hold your intake of supplemented sugars and solid fats low.

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