With the holiday season approaching, trying to manage and maintain a healthy weight can become a struggle. The challenge is harder when you consume more empty calories than needed.
Exactly what are empty calories? These are calories you get from sugars and solid fats that are added to processed and prepared foods. Some added sugars listed on food labels are: high-fructose corn syrup, anhydrous dextrose, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, sucrose, and cane sugar. Many solid fats come from animal foods such as butter, lard, beef fat, chicken fat, and are higher in saturated fats and trans fats, which can increase your risk of heart disease and high-cholesterol.
Dietary guidelines recommend to avoid or limit foods with empty calories because they contain few nutrients, and only increase your calorie intake for putting on the extra pounds.
I guess you’re wondering how to avoid eating too many empty calories, when it seems nearly impossible to buy foods with no added sugars and fats. If it’s difficult to avoid buying foods with empty calories, the key is to eat these foods in moderation. For starters, eat less of the following foods listed below:
- fruit drinks
- cobblers and fruit pies
- donuts, pastries, and sweet rolls
- baked goods: cakes, pastries
- ice cream
- hot dogs, sausages, bacon
- french fries
- fried chicken
- What are Empty Calories? (USDA, ChooseMyPlate.gov)
- Healthy Weight – it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle! (Centers for Disease Control)