You probably have heard the term “empty calories” and why you need to avoid them, but this term may be a bit confusing, especially if you need to avoid them. Nutrition experts commonly refer to empty calorie foods as SoFas (Solid Fats and Added Sugars), because that’s basically the definition of empty calorie foods. They seem to give you energy, but the energy comes from a lot of added sugars and solid fats instead of protein or complex carbohydrates, for example.
While consuming empty calories should be avoided, modern world makes it hard to do it. Therefore, the US Food and Drug Administration created general guide of no more than 120 calories per day for children and no more than 160-200 calories per day for adults. Furthermore, these calories are counted within your daily recommended calorie intake, so as to avoid weight gain and other health problems.
Samples of Foods with Empty Calories
Shopping at modern stores will present you with various empty calorie foods. You must be able to separate these foods from healthy, wholesome foods. Here are some examples of foods commonly known as sources of empty calories:
Soda is commonly known as empty calorie drink, even the diet soda or fruit soda. It contains a lot of sugar and calorie, but no nutritional benefits. Soda is usually a big no for anyone who wants to lose weight to stay healthy. This also applies to other sweet beverages like boxed juice and sweet tea drinks. There are still many options of tasty, healthier beverages, like freshly made juice or infused water.
Coffee drinks that you buy at coffee shops or as boxed/bottled beverages are empty calorie sources, especially with all the cream, sugar or milk that are put into them. They are not really effective as energy source. If you really want good energy drink with low calorie, brew your own coffee at home. There are cheap ways to make freshly ground coffee at home even if you don’t have fancy coffee maker, and this drink definitely has lower calorie.
Pretzels and chips.
Potato chips, crunchy puffs, pretzels and other crunchy snacks are common foods with empty calories. Also, they contain a lot of sodium that doesn’t give benefits for your cardiovascular health.
Processed meat and sausage.
They seem like wholesome food options, but they are actually foods with empty calories. Many of commercial sausage and processed meat products are made of fatty parts of the animals, added with a lot of salt, sugar and even preservatives.
Candies, jelly, ice cream, and frozen yogurt.
These sweet treats are commonly known as empty calorie sources, with high amount of sugar. Even frozen yogurt is sinful, because despite being lower in calorie compared to regular ice cream, it is still empty in nutritional benefits, and is often added with extra sugar and other high calorie ingredients.
Other foods with empty calories can even include seemingly wholesome options, such as store-bought pizza, desserts, store-bought muffins, and sugared cereal.