Archive for the tag - empty calories

18 Empty Calorie Foods.

251726The other day, I referenced empty calories in a post – and I received a number of emails asking about the term.

The USDA defines empty calories as:

Calories from solid fats and/or added sugars. Solid fats and added sugars add calories to the food but few or no nutrients. For this reason, the calories from solid fats and added sugars in a food are often called empty calories.

Solid fats are solid at room temperature like shortening, lard or butter. Added sugars are sugars or syrups that have been added to foods during preparation or processing.

In order to stay in a calorie balance and avoid weight gain, it’s important to stay within your daily calorie allowance. For example, many people may aim to eat 2,000 calories in a day. While this number may sound lofty, those calories can go fast; it’s important to get the vast majority of calories from foods that provide the essential nutrients our bodies need. Let’s spend our calories on foods that actually nourish us!

With all that in mind, here are 18 foods and beverages loaded with empty calories; these should be consumed sparingly. Empty calorie calculations provided by the USDA:

  1. Soda – 100% empty calories
  2. Fruit drinks – 100% empty calories
  3. Beer – 100% empty calories
  4. Cheddar cheese – 66% empty calories
  5. Frozen yogurt – 53% empty calories
  6. Ice cream – 76% empty calories
  7. Fried chicken – 80% empty calories
  8. Chocolate chip cookies – 68% empty calories
  9. Chocolate cake – 77% empty calories
  10. Fruit flavored low-fat yogurt – 61% empty calories
  11. Cinnamon sweet roll – 61% empty calories
  12. Onion rings – 58%
  13. Butter – 92% empty calories
  14. Margarine – 89% empty calories
  15. Frozen whipped topping – 92% empty calories
  16. Cream cheese – 88% empty calories
  17. Glazed doughnut – 67% empty calories
  18. Beef bologna – 57% empty calories

This list isn’t exhaustive – but you get the idea. In a nutshell, it’s all about replacing foods that are high in solid fats or added sugars with healthier options.