What are empty calories?

Empty calories are calories we get from solid fats or added sugars in food and drinks, according to the U.S. Department of AgricultureOff Site Icon (USDA).

These fats and sugars add few or no nutrients and are only added to foods to make them more appealing.

According to the USDA, some foods and drinks that contain the most empty calories include:

  • bacon
  • cakes
  • cheese
  • cookies
  • donuts
  • energy drinks
  • fruit drinks
  • hot dogs
  • ice cream
  • pastries
  • pizza
  • ribs
  • sausages
  • soda
  • sports drinks

While small amounts of empty calories are OK, eating too many can cause weight gain and is unhealthy, according to the USDA.

For more information about empty calories, talk with your doctor.

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