Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Are Empty Calories Bad For You?



Short answer

Yes, empty calories are bad for you. They have no nutritional value and can create numerous health concerns.



Long answer

Empty calories are essentially calories that contain no nutritional value. They hide in many of the foods made from sugar and/or solid fats. Many of these foods are heavily processed and carry a long shelf life. Though convenient and inexpensive, the consequences to over-consumption of empty calories foods are dangerous. Examples of foods with a high level of empty calories include candy, baked goods, chips, fried foods, butter, ice cream, pizza, syrups, and the majority of snack items found in vending machines.

Empty calories often sneak their way into diets through beverages, as well. Sugary sodas, specialty coffee drinks, sports drinks, alcoholic beverages, and juices with added sugar are major culprits in the sabotage of a clean diet. In an effort decrease the consumption of empty calories, many people opt to substitute the beverages with artificial sugar substitutes. Though this may appear to be a good solution, artificial sweeteners have also been linked to numerous adverse side effects and should be avoided. Unsweetened herbal teas are an excellent alternative to sugary beverages because they generally contain natural herbs that benefit the body and are free from meaningless calories. One serving per day of organic, 100% fruit juice (not from concentrate) offers another delicious alternative to the above-mentioned beverages.

Over-indulgence of foods and beverages made from empty calories create a high risk of obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease. They have also been linked to depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Though these foods and beverages may be enjoyed on special occasions, it is crucial that your diet be full of calories from nutrient-dense foods, such as colorful fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.

Possible short-term side effects

  • fatigue
  • hyperactivity

Possible long-term side effects

  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • heart disease
  • sugar addiction
  • hypertension
  • depression
  • anxiety

Big are empty calories bad for you 2

Healthier alternatives

  • real calories (nutrient-dense foods)

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Written by DeeAnne Oldham | 12-29-2015

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
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