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Posts Tagged ‘Empty calorie’

Calories are to our bodies what gas is to our car. It’s the fuel that keeps us going. We need calories. The problem is, nearly seventy percent in our nation consume too many.

The average adult needs about 2,000 calories each day. That number moves up or down according to activity, age, and other factors. After eating foods to meet nutrient needs, approximately 300 discretionary calories can be selected from calorie-laden foods.  Calories with little or no nutritive value—empty calories—come mostly from foods high in solid fats and added sugars. Too many extra calories pile on excessive pounds resulting in overweight or obesity. While snacks can add to nutrient needs, often they fall into the empty calorie category.

About one-fourth of daily calories come from snacks. According to the Food Surveys Research Group of the Agricultural Research Service, snacking among adults increased during the past thirty years. On average, men consumed 586 calories and women 421 calories daily from snacks. Those who ate between meals four or more times daily took in almost one and one-half times more calories than those who had fewer snacks. However,  normal weight, overweight, and obese people did not differ in how often they had snacks.

Alcohol contributed sixteen percent of snack-calories for men. Sugar-sweetened beverages made up fourteen percent of calories for both men and women. The next highest group of snack-calories came from salty morsels such as pretzels, potato chips, and etc.  All these are empty calorie sources.

How can you make sure your between-meal nibbles add to a healthy diet? Choose foods that supply nutrients your body needs without providing excessive fuel. Good choices include low-fat yogurt, fruit, cereal, cheese, nuts, and other nutritious fares. Make sure your calories aren’t empty.

Reference:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12355000/pdf/DBrief/4_adult_snacking_0708.pdf

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