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What Are Empty Calories Food?

April 3rd, 2008 · 8 Comments ·

Empty calories food does not mean the food does not have any calories value.


Empty calories are calories present in high-energy foods with poor nutritional profiles, typically from processed carbohydrates or fats. An “empty calorie” has the same energy content of any other calorie but it is lack of the accompanying nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, or amino acids as well as fiber.


So, in laymen tern, Empty Calories = High Calories but Low Nutrition

Generally, unnecessary calories are converted in the body to fat. However, if calorie intake is limited for the sake of reducing weight, insufficient vitamin and mineral intake may lead to malnutrition.

Foods often considered to contain mostly empty calories include:


  • White rice (check out Is Rice Fattening?)
  • Sweets, soft drinks, beverages with a low juice component, and other foods containing sugar
  • Butter, lard, and other highly-saturated fats.
  • High fat foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, pizza, potato chips, and French fries
  • Candy, pop and other sweetened packaged foods
  • Beer, wine and all other alcoholic beverages


So, the next time, when people say empty calories food, they do not mean that the food is calorie free.




Category: Nutrition

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8 responses so far ↓
  • trey // Apr 3, 2008 at 7:08 PM

    how can a fried chicken be “empty calorie” item.

    i very much would like to know.

  • Jeremy // Apr 3, 2008 at 8:03 PM

    Fried chicken is empty calorie item because it is usually fried with lots of oil. Just read this article and you will understand better. Hope this helps. Cheers.

    P.S – Only guilty of eating white rice :P . Never did indulge on sweets, butter, high fat foods or fast foods, candy or pop and don’t drink any alcoholic beverages.

  • trey // Apr 3, 2008 at 10:51 PM

    they did not desribe why does a fried chicken considered an empty calorie food.

    they only said something about the oil, but not the chicken itself.

  • sylvesteR // Apr 4, 2008 at 12:21 PM

    Yeah, people would have mistaken empty calories as zero calories. Perhaps a better term should be used to replace the former one. Anyway, I thought burgers do have some nutritional values since burgers do have veggies and meat in them?

  • Kevlin // May 17, 2008 at 4:12 PM

    Hmm most of the time empty calories are refer to soda and etc. As a from a chinese background, i also got to drink those herba drink which is home made and not from those store with preservative. For example like “lo han ko” where u made it with lo han ko, white fungus, and lotus seed with those rock sugar until its sweets but not that sweet till like sugar water this type of herba drinks are believe good for health so with those sugar in it isit still consider as empty calories? Have been wondering about this ever since started to stay healthy and cut down a lot of those empty calories drinks like soda and chips so is this home made herba drink consider as healthy or bad?

  • anegla // Feb 19, 2009 at 3:28 AM

    hey do you eat candy and white rice hohohohohohohoho

  • Pash // May 12, 2010 at 3:17 AM

    “how can a fried chicken be “empty calorie” item?”

    I believe they mean too many calories in comparison to nutrition the piece of food offers. In other words no amount of protein/carbs/vitamins in it justifies the empty calories from frying oil.

  • duder // Nov 1, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    if you stuff a multi-vitamin into a turd then you are still eating a turd.


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