What Are Empty Calories?
Have you ever heard of the term, “empty calories?” Do you know what an empty calorie is? Is there such a thing as a full calorie?
In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more. We’ll help you understand what empty calories are, whether or not you should avoid them, and what foods have the most empty calories.
What Are Empty Calories
A calorie is a unit of heat that’s required to warm up a unit of water by 1-degree Celsius.
A calorie is also how we measure energy in the body or in food. In theory, food with a lot of calories can produce lots of energy if needed. And if someone exercises, the body is burning stored calories in the form of heat and energy. That’s why you get sweaty when you exercise because your stored calories are being released as excess body heat.
Unfortunately, most people do not exercise enough to use up a lot of high-calorie foods. In most instances, your body will store excess calories as body fat.
Both a gram of protein or carbs contain 4 calories respectively, while a gram of fat has 9 calories. Even though there are more calories in fat than your other macros, the calories are basically the same.
In other words, a calorie is a calorie.
So, if all calories are the same, what are empty calories?
Empty calories come from any food that is missing other important vitamins and nutrients.
The fact is, whether you need lots of calories or not, you still need the same amount of vitamins and minerals. The amount of Vitamin C you need doesn’t change just because your weight changes.
If you’re eating something that has a lot of calories, but not a lot of nutrition, those calories are considered “empty” because there isn’t much that your body can use other than the calories.
Are Empty Calories Bad
In the world of nutrition, there isn’t really such a thing as bad or good.
It’s more a matter of portion size, allergies, and nutritional needs.
For example, there is nothing wrong with having a cookie, but you probably don’t need five cookies.
Empty calories are no different. There’s nothing inherently wrong with eating something that has no nutritional value as long as you’re getting your nutrition from other foods and you’re not eating too many empty calories.
The problem is, most people aren’t getting the proper nutrition they need, and they’re eating too many empty calories, which is the opposite of what we should be doing.
Although empty calories aren’t inherently bad for you, you likely eat too many of them already. Most people do. Eating too many empty calories leads to nutritional deficiency and excess weight gain, both are massive problems for most people.
If you’re looking to lose weight and get healthy, one of the best things you can do is replace those empty calories with nutritious foods instead. That way you can eat fewer calories and get more of the nutrition you need.
What Foods Have Empty Calories
There are lots of foods out there that have empty calories. They include:
- Fast food
Basically, anything that has a large amount of sugar, fat, or alcohol is likely an empty calorie food. These are foods that are missing the essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein that you need to go about your daily activities.
These foods are good if you need extra calories but that’s it.
What Are The Most Nutritious Foods
Nutritious foods are the opposite of empty calorie foods. They have plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein.
Nutritious foods include:
- Fresh fruit
- Whole grains
- Lean protein
- Beans and lentils
- Low-fat dairy
You have to be careful. Not all foods that look nutritious are healthy. For example, fruit juice may have a lot of Vitamin C in it, but it also has a lot of extra sugar. Additionally, people who make fruit juice usually take out all of the fiber that’s naturally in fruit. In other words, your fruit juice may be better than soda because it has some vitamins, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. It probably has as many empty calories from the sugar mixed in it as your soda does.
IONutrition Has Nutritious Foods With No Empty Calories
IONutriton has ready-to-eat nutritious meals that are delivered to your front door. All you have to do is pick the meal you want to eat, warm it up, and enjoy. We even do all of the cooking for you.
We have protein, vegetarian and paleo options as well. All of our food is low-fat, gluten-free, dairy-free, organic, and nutritious. Our meals taste great too. If you’re looking for healthy, nutritious meals that are free of empty calories, IONutrition is for you.
Check out our menu to see all of the delicious options you could be enjoying right now.