What is “empty calories”?


Since calorie is a measure of energy, so what does it mean when, for example, alcohol, having “empty calories”? What kind of energy is being measured here?

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It’s typically a term used in discussions about nutrient content. A source of calories that simultaneously lacks fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc.

They contribute nothing towards your sense of satiety or nutritional wellbeing aside from strictly calories.

**Edit:** Comment success edits usually aren’t really my thing, but I really didn’t expect one of my insomnia-fueled ramblings to be so appreciated. Thanks, everyone!

Actually, no energy is being measured.

“Empty calories” is more a NUTRITION phrase than an energy phrase. It is used by health coaches/nutritionists/dietitians to describe foods that have calories, but very few or no nutrients.

Something like potato chips, they have a lot of calories but no other real nutritional value. No vitamins, no minerals (at least not in meaningful amounts.

So those foods have calories, but are empty of other nutrients. So “empty calories”.

Unlike say, an Orange, which has calories and is a supply of vitamin C, as well as a bit of magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B6.

Imagine you have a special plate for your body that needs all the right kinds of food to keep you healthy and strong. Some foods have good things your body needs, like vitamins and energy. But there are some foods that look yummy but don’t give your body anything useful. These foods are like “empty calories.” They taste nice, but they don’t give your body any power or strength

The purpose of food is for your body to receive energy and nutrients.

Calories are energy.

Nutrients are things like carbs, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that your body uses for its functions.

When you say “empty calories”, you typically mean that it’s a caloric food, but doesn’t have a meaningful amount of useful nutrients.

“Empty calories” means the food or drink gives you energy but doesn’t have much nutritional value. Like candy or soda, they give you quick energy but don’t have vitamins, minerals, or proteins your body needs. So, it’s like filling your car with low-quality gas; it’ll run, but it won’t perform at its best.