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Empty Calories: These Foods Are the Worst Offenders

By Sara Butler

Chances are, you've heard the term "empty calories" thrown around a lot. While that may conjure images of cakes, cookies, and other treats, the truth is that empty calories apply to a lot more foods than you may think. In fact, many foods that are popular and even seen as semi-healthy are full of empty calories and devoid of any real nutrition.

Here are a few foods that may surprise you since they are generally regarded by professionals as foods without a lot of nutrients but with a lot of calories.

Tortilla Chips

Sure, tortilla chips are the go-to vehicle for guacamole and salsa, two things that are not empty calories -- but the chips themselves are. That's because tortilla chips, just like most crackers and chips, have had almost all of the nutrition stripped out of the ingredients during processing. They don't have a lot to offer in the nutrition category and simply take up space and calories.

If you want to add more nutrition to your guac and salsa party, then try reaching for crackers or chips that have at least five grams of fiber per serving and are made from whole grains. If you're not having a dip, then popcorn can help to scratch your itch to have a crunchy snack.

Soda Pop

It should come as no surprise that soda is full of empty calories. It has no nutritional value, simply a lot of ingredients that are generally bad for your health. Even diet soda has stuff in it that isn't good for you, such as phosphoric acid, something that can have a negative impact on the health of your bones.

If you're craving something fizzy, then reach for sparkling water with a splash of no sugar added juice or some freshly sliced lemon.


Pretzels may seem like a smart snack since they're not full of added sugars, but that doesn't mean they're good for you. Pretzels are just another thing that are really full of empty calories, as they don't give you back in nutrition what they take away in calories.

Bake up some kale chips if you want a crunchy snack that does have some added nutritional oomph.

Make sure your food choices make a difference in your nutrition -- stay away from empty calories. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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