What are empty calories?

In a nutshell !

Importantly, a typical American diet for many with little for cooking is food to go.

Firstly lots of processed foods containing high amounts of fat.

Secondly they contain large amounts of sugar and in addition lots salt.

Most processed foods like cookies, chips, candy and not to mention sugar-sweetened beverages are considered empty calorie foods.

Because they have little to no nutritional value and besides which they contribute to added weight gain with excess calories.

Empty Calories contained many  processed foods are energy only calories along with little daily physical exercise are considered to be a diabetes cause.

These are said to add a main factor in the cause of Type 2 Diabetes.


  • Empty calories in nutrition terms  apply to many of today’s foods. beverages composed primarily or solely of sugar, fats or oils, or alcohol-containing beverages.
  • An example is carbonated soda types of soft drinks. These foods and drinks provide energy and have little no nutrition value like vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, or essential fatty acids.
  • Fat contributes nine calories per gram, ethanol seven calories, sugar four calories.


Also in the same way the following foods in addition are often considered to contain mostly empty calories. Not to mention that they too can contribute to gaining excess weight and are factor in type 2 diabetes.

Listed below are some examples of the three main categories Sugars, Fats,and  Alcohol.

  • Sugar: table sugar,cookies,cakes,candy soft drinks,fruit flavorings, sweet beverages. These and other sweet saturated other foods containing various types of added sugars including high fructose corn syrup.
  • Fat: margarine, shorting and other fats and oils.
  • Alcohol: beer and wine, hard spirits and other alcoholic beverages. Also while equally even moderate amounts of daily alcohol can lead to excess weight gain. The chronic consumption of large amounts of alcohol can lead to weight loss.
  • Many cases of alcoholic liver disease characterized by an increased metabolic rate. The impaired muscle protein synthesis, resulting in sarcopenia can be prevented with reduced alcohol intake.

Allowable intake without impacting health

Food energy intake must be balanced with the amount of physical activity to maintain a proper body weight. Sedentary individuals eating less to lose weight may suffer malnutrition if they eat a majority of food supplying empty calories without enough nutrients.

Also in addition people and those who engage with heavy physical activity/work need more food energy as fuel. These people need to have a larger amount of calorie-rich, essential nutrient-poor foods.

Dietitians and other healthcare professionals prevent malnutrition by designing eating programs and recommending dietary modifications according to patient’s needs.

Equally important the USDA advises in addition as the following levels of empty calorie consumption as an upper limit for individuals who engage in 30 minutes or less of daily moderate exercise daily.

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