That bag of yummy potato chips that you grab when you are binge watching your favorite web series or a slice of pizza that you absolutely cannot resist at the party would flood your body with hundreds of empty calories that are most probably going to be stored as fat instead of getting utilized because they lack any nutritional value. Empty calories do not have nutritional benefit and do not fill you up either. Needless to say, eliminating foods with empty calories can make your weight loss journey easier and you can reach goal weight relatively faster. In fact, cutting out empty calories can fast forward your journey to goal weight. Instead we should be aiming at replacing empty calories with nutrient-dense food that would supply the body with vitamins, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and other essential minerals that the body needs to function properly. Quality is equally important as quantity when it comes to calories because not all calories are created equal. Consider this, eating 500 calories of pizza is not equal to eating 500 calories of brown rice and vegetables where you are getting loads of healthy carbs, protein, vitamins, and minerals that would aid in the fat-burning process, whereas 500 calories of pizza is full of empty calories without any vitamin, protein or fiber content and would only add to the existing pounds. Coming to the calorie deficit formula, to lose one pound per week (approximately half a kg), you will have to cut 3500 calories, but weight loss will not happen when you are consuming hundreds of empty calories through various food sources. If you are having a hard time trying to distinguish between real calories and empty calories, we list down 10 ways to cut hundreds of empty calories through the day to lose weight.
What Are Empty Calories?
Empty calories can come in the way of a fitter you because they come from foods that supply the body with quick bursts of energy but are devoid of nutrition. They don’t leave you satiated or full. These foods can cause sharp spike in insulin and blood sugar and then the subsequent crash will leave you craving for more food, and more energy in the form of calories. Chocolates, chips, baked goodies, energy drinks, soft drinks, etc. are some examples of food laden with such kind of calories. On a calorie-restricted diet for losing weight, one should look at the source of their calories, making sure it also has vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients attached to it and is free from sugar, unhealthy fats, and not to forget transfat.
10 Ways to Cut Hundreds of Empty Calories Through The Day:
1. Practice Mindful Eating: Eating your food mindfully is one of the most important techniques to eat healthy and shed extra pounds because you can be aware of why you are eating the food (real hunger vs false hunger), the kind of food you are eating (healthy vs unhealthy), and how much you are eating. It would also make you enjoy each bite, stopping when you are full and prevent overeating. Through this method, you would be able to cut down a whole lot of calories in a day.
2. Don’t Juice your Fruits: Packaged fruit juices are not the same as fresh fruit juices because they come packaged with artificial flavour, color, preservatives, and a whole lot of sugar. These would form empty calories. We would even advise you to stop juicing fresh fruits to retain the goodness of fiber and minerals which get lost with the juicing process.
3. Have a Handful of Healthy Nuts: There are several kinds of nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, cashews) and all of them are powerhouses of nutrition with loads of vitamins, minerals, protein, and even healthy fats (these are the fats that your body needs for normal functioning). They protect our heart and keep the good cholesterol levels optimum. Never refrain from eating nuts, just control the amount you eat, stopping at just a handful or less. Several studies have established that including nuts in daily diet boosts the weight loss process. Most nuts like walnuts, almonds, pistachios and cashews have good amount of protein, vitamins, saturated fats that keep your weight in check. They also boost metabolism and help body burn calories more effectively. They make you feel full for longer and control hunger pangs. It is better to opt for these nuts instead of picking up chips or other unhealthy foods when you are in the mood to snack to avoid empty calories. That’s why, in this post, we list down 8 Weight-Loss Friendly Nuts that you can include in your diet.
4. Say no to Soft Drinks and Aerated Beverages: Soft drinks, flavoured soda, and energy drinks add enormous amount of calories to your daily diet without any kind of nutritional content. Even the diet version of soft drinks is not okay, do avoid them totally.
5. Start on Rati Beauty Weight Loss Diet: Cooking your own meals is an important aspect of weight loss where you are totally in control of calories and nutrients; however, if you are clueless, the weight loss diets on Rati Beauty would help you plan each meal that would lead to a fitter and healthier you.
6. Avoid Added Sugar in Products: From health drinks to cereals, to even protein bars, added sugar is everywhere! Excess sugar triggers a lot of undesirable effects such as hormonal changes, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. If there is an excess amount of sugar in your blood, your body will convert excess sugar into glycogen or fat. Refined sugar is insanely high in calories with zero nutritional benefit to the body. These calories are called “empty calories” because they hardly provide any nourishment in terms of vitamins or minerals to the cells. Refined sugar is added with various names such as sucrose, disaccharide, glucose, and fructose in jams, coals, aerated beverages, muffins, biscuits, cookies, bread, cakes, etc, just to name a few in processed food. The biggest issue is when the body converts the excess sugar into fat and stores around the belly, under the skin, and around the organs. This is exactly what leads to weight gain and that’s where the importance of cutting down sugar comes into play if you want to seriously lose weight. Here’s a detailed post on How to Cut Back on Added Sugar to Lose Weight.
7. Read Food Labels: We consumers need to be wise and careful before purchasing any product from the store because certain products are labelled with misleading tag lines like “healthy,” “100% real,” but if you know how to read your labels, you can avoid unhealthy calories from reaching your plate. Avoid products that contains refined flour which means “maida” in common usage, hydrogenated oil, and palm oil. If the ingredient list is longer than 2-3 lines, then it suggests that it is highly processed and your body definitely doesn’t need such products.
8. Avoid Refined Carbs: Carbs have a bad reputation in the weight loss circles due to the common belief that they are fattening in nature and lead to increase of fat and weight in body; however, not all carbs are bad. Food items such as sugar, candies, white bread, pizza, donuts, cookies, burgers, chocolates, etc. have refined carbs that spike insulin levels and have loads of calories that quickly add up and get stored as fat in cells. Check out these 12 High-Carb Foods That You Should Take in Your Diet.
9. Water Preloading: We tend to confuse thirst with hunger because both these signals are alike, and instead of grabbing a glass of water, we pick a bag of chips, adding empty calories in the process. On the other hand, a glass of water has zero calories and makes you full, helping to curb the appetite. Water preloading is a technique that can help you cut down calories, read all about it here.
10. Cut Down on Alcohol: One of the most effective ways to cut out empty calories would be to limit intake of alcohol because alcohol has no other nutritional value.
Can you chip in with more ways to cut out empty calories from the diet? If yes, please do mention in the comments below.