Do Empty Calories Make You Fat? 3 Tips

Empty calories are foods which have little nutritional value. Not to be confused with "empty" because it's actually the contrary as these empty-calorie foods are calorie-dense. Empty-calorie foods are usually popular because they are palatable. Some examples are cakes, cookies, donuts, pastries, sweets, candies, chocolate, ice cream, potato chips, deep fried foods, pizza, biscuits, jam, jello, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit-flavored beverages, soda pop, beer, alcoholic beverages, refined grains like white bread, white pasta or white rice and most processed foods. These foods are mostly loaded with unhealthy calories derived from simple carbs, white flour, sugars and saturated fats and are devoid of valuable nutrients like dietary fiber, antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals which are crucial for optimum bodily functions and weight loss.

Anyone who adheres to a weight loss routine should avoid or limit their intake of empty-calorie foods as they can easily make you gain weight fast. Here are a few ways how empty-calorie foods can make you fat:

1. High Glycemic Index(GI)

Empty-calorie foods are categorized as high Glycemic Index(GI). GI is a numerical way to measure how quickly foods are digested and absorbed and their effect on blood glucose or blood sugar. The higher the GI value the quicker the food is processed and converted to blood glucose for use as energy. Since empty-calorie foods severely lack nutrients, they are digested pretty quickly and as such, they don't offer a sense of satiety. This is why you tend to overeat them to satisfy your hunger pangs creating an insulin spike. Overindulging will tax your insulin, a hormone which regulates carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Insulin stimulates glucose uptake from your bloodstream to your liver and muscle cells and store it there as glycogen. Your glycogen is simply your sugar storage cells which are used to supply energy when needed. If your glucose levels are too high in your blood, this will cause your glycogen stores to become saturated faster and any excess will be stored as adipose tissue(fat deposits).

2. Metabolic Slowdown

Empty-calorie foods create a spike in energy levels followed by a crash later on and this can wreak havoc on your metabolic activity with time. A slow metabolism can have side effects like fatigue, stress, poor digestion, irritability, mood swings and weight gain.

3. High Calorie Count

Due to their caloric density, empty-calorie foods will shoot up your calorie count pretty quickly making you prone to storing fat. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume and eating calorie-dense nutrient-empty foods makes your task more difficult. Just imagine a Boston Creme donut with its chocolate frosting and custard filling contains around 400 calories and 16 grams of fat of which more than half is saturated fats.

If you're really serious about losing weight, you should avoid empty-calorie foods or only have them as a treat from time to time. Making them the bulk of your diet will seriously impede your weight loss efforts and can potentially trigger health issues like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Instead focus on low Glycemic Index(GI) foods which digest slowly and results in a sustained release of glucose in your bloodstream keeping you energetic throughout the day. These foods are nutrient-dense and low in calories and will boost your fat burning metabolism speeding the weight loss process.

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