Examples of “Empty Calorie” foods:

  • French fries, fried chicken, chips and all other deep-fried foods. A large order of fries from a fast food chain can contain up to 570 calories with a whopping 30 grams of total fat!

  • Candy, soda, and other sweetened packaged foods. A can of soda contains about 130 calories as well as additives and colorings. Heaps of calories from sugar, but no micronutrients.

  • Beer, wine, and all other alcoholic beverages. A can of beer contains about 150 calories from sugar and not much of anything else. In addition, calories from alcohol tend to be stored as fat in the abdomen (leading to a “beer belly”).

  • Refined grains such as crackers, cookies, white rice and white bread.

How to avoid “Empty Calories”

  • Avoid deep-fried foods. Instead of deep-frying use other methods of cooking. Try a baked potato with skin instead of fries, or a piece of baked skinless chicken breast instead of fried chicken.

  • Avoid sweetened drinks and canned drinks.

  • Try whole grains instead of refined grains. Whole grains are packed with beneficial fiber and antioxidants. Try a slice of whole-wheat bread instead of of white bread. Have a bowl of steel cut or unsweetened oatmeal instead of croissants, pastries, cornflakes, and sweetened cereals.

  • Snack on fruits! Instead of grabbing a box of crackers in the mid-afternoon, snack on fresh fruit. Try dipping them in low-fat cottage cheese and yogurt to get additional calcium and protein.

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