While all foods contain nutrients, nutrient-dense foods are more advantageous for sustaining optimal health, as they offer more nutrients than calories. Unlike nutrient-dense foods, empty-calorie food products are poor food choices, as they contain more calories than nutrients. An extraordinary intake of empty-calorie foods may cause weight gain, particularly if your intake of calories exceeds how many you expend. In contrast, intake of nutrient-dense foods helps to maintain a healthy weight in addition to supplying your body the nutritional value that helps fight diseases.
Empty Calorie Foods
Most empty-calorie options are processed foods that contain high amounts of fat and sugar. We use these in our daily life unaware of the threat they are causing to our health. Such foods include baked goodies such as cookies, pizza, pies and cakes. Sugar loaded products such as jelly, jams, syrups, fried items like burgers and fries. Empty-calorie food products also contain foods and beverages that have a longer shelf life. Food products that are available in the vending machines are highly processed foods that make them eligible to be on the shelf for a longer time. These items include energy bars and drinks, regular and diet sodas, candies, and chips. Although empty-calorie foods are cheaper and more readily available than nutrient-dense food products, customary consumption of these foods can have a negative effect on well-being.
Wellbeing and Empty Calorie Foods
The major disadvantage of habitually consuming empty-calorie foods is that energy intake can easily surpass energy requirements. If not used for physical activity, the extra calories are then stored in the form of fat, and over time, result in weight gain and obesity. Additionally, energy-dense food intake may also increase risk of stroke as well as developing type 2 diabetes, according to a research. In contrast, the fiber rich foods that are nutrient-dense may help decrease blood cholesterol and sugar levels.
Foods with High Nutritional Value
Eating a healthy, balanced diet of nutrient-dense foods provides what your body needs to maintain healthy function. This means preparing meals that contain low carb foods such as vegetables and fruits. Low calorie products such as fat free milk and dairy products, lean meat such as fish or chicken. These foods provide fewer calories but are outstanding sources of nutrients such as the vitamins A, C, D, B and E, protein, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and fatty acids. Fruits and vegetables also contain phytochemicals that help diminish the frequency of stroke, cancer as well as diabetes.
Making the Right Choice
The Dietary Guidelines for the United States emphasizes a diet including nutrient-dense foods while avoiding foods that contain refined sugar, processed carbohydrates, non-soluble fats and intense sodium. A plate of healthy colorful vegetables and fruits, whole-grain foods instead of foods made with processed carbohydrates and grilled or roasted, lean meats will provide great nutritional value. Another way of decreasing empty calorie intake is monitoring portion sizes. Making the right food choices will help improve your health and quality of life.
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Empty-Calorie Foods Vs. Nutrient-Dense Foods