I picked up the term Empty Calories a few years ago when I was trying to lose weight by going to a slimming club. It was used to describe foods that are typically high in sugar and fat, but have little or no nutritional value.
When comparing foods and deciding what to eat, I find it important not just to look at the number of calories in isolation, but also check on what vitamins, minerals, protein, sugar, and fibre are in the food.
There are certain foods, like cakes, chocolate, ice-cream, sweets, crips, sugary drinks, and especially alcoholic drinks that are all high in calories, but have very little in the way of nutritional benefits. And these are the type of foods that I refer to as having ’empty calories’.
Given the choice between an avocado and a chocolate bar, it should be obvious that an avocado is much better for you. They have a similar number of calories, but the nutritional benefits of eating the avocado instead of the chocolate bar are much higher!
A bottle of wine typically contains around 635 calories, and a pint of beer is around 240 calories, and neither of them contain much in the way of nutrition. And as such they are some of the worst examples of empty calories!