A few days ago, I was scrolling through social media and came across a meme about choosing your calories wisely. The meme compared the amount of calories from a banana (approx. 105 calories) versus a serving of vodka (approx. 64 calories).
In general terms, calories are the form of energy in food. If we consume more calories than what our bodies use, that energy will be accumulated in the form of fat. But lets keep in mind that our bodies don’t just need calories, they need many other nutrients in order to properly function and use up those calories. It is important to remember that only macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) and alcohol provide calories. So, what are empty calories? Empty calories are food and beverages that do not have much nutritional values. These foods are usually full of carbohydrates or sugar, and fats. A great example of an empty calorie product would be alcohol and juices because it is only carbohydrates or sugar. Another example would be cookies, cakes, or sweets. Many empty calorie foods are processed foods. Nutrient dense foods, such as fruits and vegetables contain not only macronutrients (which provide the calories) but also they are full of important vitamins, minerals, and fiber! To keep our bodies healthy, we should nourish it with appropriate foods that will deliver the most amount of nutrients.
The best way to avoid consuming empty calories is by eating a well balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates*, healthy fats, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and lots of water.
So, instead of focusing on the amount of calories a food contains, lets focus on the amount on nutrients it provides.
*Green leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes and others.
Please let me know what you think!
Thanks for reading,