Dr. Amanda discusses everything you need to know about empty calories — in under 10 minutes!

An empty calorie is another term for macronutrients, which come in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, or fats. Empty calories aren’t a strong source of energy unless they are paired with vitamins and minerals, known as micronutrients. Micronutrients include zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese, and copper.

Most of us have created daily dietary patterns of consuming and utilizing empty calories. For example, your morning latte from your favorite coffee shop is filled with carbohydrates and sugars. It gives you an energy boost, but there aren’t many micronutrients included.

Your body needs to use these calories for energy, but without the presence of micronutrients, the energy that is created from these calories will be weak. As a result, your body will begin to crave nourishment, and you will begin to feel hungry. Those with diets that are high in empty calories will end up eating more servings, more food per serving, and are generally hungrier, as their bodies are actually starving from nourishment.

Think of your body like your car. Your car needs the right fuel to run properly. Without the right fuel, your engine will still function, but not to the best of its ability.

So how do you avoid an empty calorie diet? Processed foods are a major source of empty calories. During the preservation process, foods are often stripped of their natural micronutrients and replaced with a chemical form of the micronutrients that are no longer living. Fast foods are another exhausting source of empty calories, as they lack the nutrients your body needs to create energy.

Foods like fruits and vegetables are rich in micronutrients. In moderation, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are necessary to function at your best. An optimal diet is a balanced mix of macro and micronutrients.

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