Empty calorie


Empty calorie

Empty calories, in casual dietary terminology, are calories present in high-energy foods with poor nutritional profiles, typically from processed carbohydrates or fats. Also known as a discretionary calorie, an "empty calorie" has the same energy content of any other calorie but lacks accompanying nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, or in the case of refined grains, fiber. The term was coined in 1972 by Michael Jacobson, head of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Limiting empty calories is important to prevent weight gain, especially in sedentary individuals. This is essential when people try to lose weight so that they have an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals and avoid malnutrition. Dietitians recommend replacing empty-calorie foods with nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables.

The following foods are often considered to contain mostly empty calories:
*Sweets, soft drinks, fruit-flavored beverages with a low percentage of juice, and other foods containing added sugar
*Refined grains, such as white bread or white rice
*Margarine or shortening
*Butter, lard, and other saturated fat
* Alcohol

ee also

*Nutrient density

References

*cite web | title= Adequate Nutrients Within Calorie Needs | work= Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 | url=http://www.health.gov/DIETARYGUIDELINES/dga2005/document/html/chapter2.htm | accessdate=2006-05-09
*cite web | title=Nutrient-dense food vs. empty-calorie food | work=Calorie Counter | url= http://www.actabit.com/diet-nutrition/nutrient-dense-food-vs-empty-calorie-food | accessdate=2006-05-09


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Look at other dictionaries:

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