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What exactly are 'empty calories'? Are there good calories Vs bad calories?

By May 24, 2008 - 2:40pm
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I was talking to someone recently who said that beer or soda was ok because it was just 'empty calories' and didn't matter as much since there is not a whole lot of fat invloved. However, I know that sugar turns to fat if not immediately used for energy (and who goes for a jog after comsuming a 6-pack?!) so it seems empty calories matter.

But I am still not sure of the real meaning of 'empty'. Does it mean there is no nutrition in them, or that they provide no energy?

Does anyone know much about nutrition and the kinds of fats and calories we should be eating?

Thank you!

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Thank you, I passed the quiz and took the Mayo Clinic calorie counter test too, so looks like I'm staying within my limits.

The Harvard link is awesome, I have bookmarked it - thanks!!

May 24, 2008 - 5:57pm

Looks like empty calories, at least according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine refers to 'calories' that contain no beneficial nutrients such as vitamins or minerals. Here's what they had to say about alcohol specifically.

Alcohol comes from fermenting starches and sugars. Alcohol has about 7 calories per gram. These are considered "empty" calories.

A 12-ounce beer contains about 150 calories. Sugary, carbonated beverages and fruit juices contribute additional calories when mixed with alcohol in a cocktail.

Also, if you're looking to discover a few more nutritional/health facts about alcohol, you may want to try out this quiz ...
courtesy of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

You may also want to try this calorie calculator courtesy of the Mayo Clinic ... http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/calorie-calculator/NU00598. The results are based on age, gender, height, weight and physical activity.

Finally, you can find out how which foods to expend those calories on by checking out the food pyramid and reading the accompanying article from Harvard's School of Public Health.

Does that help answer your questions?

May 24, 2008 - 4:25pm
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