2 unexpected snacks with empty calories Nutritionists warn that you should not eat
Eating empty calories is like that ex you know isn’t good. It’s a total waste! Not only do empty calorie foods have little or no nutritional value, they make up your daily calorie allotment in just a few bites. You’ll want to do your best to avoid these foods if you’re trying to lose weight. While there are the usual suspects—processed foods like chips and candy that cause inflammation—there are some unexpected culprits you may be snacking on that aren’t as healthy as they seem. If you’re ready to up your snacking game and eat something healthier, you’ve come to the right place.
To learn more about the two amazing empty-calorie snacks and healthy alternatives, we spoke with Mary-Ellen Sabat, nutritionist, personal trainer and founder of BodyDesigns by Mary. They said it fruit gummies i integral cookies are the worst “healthy” snacks for weight loss because they both make nutritional claims on their packaging, but often have no real nutritional value. Find out more below!
1. Fruit gummies
Although fruit gummies are often made with real fruit, the actual amount of fruit used is minimal at best. Sabat explains: “This means that much of the nutritional content of the fruit has been removed. Most gummy snacks also contain added sugar, so they are considered empty calories. [snacks]. In addition, gummies are often processed and contain added artificial flavors, colors and preservativeswhich also strips them of their nutritional value.”
Instead, she recommends opting for real fresh fruit, because “the vitamins and minerals in fresh fruit can also help support healthy weight loss.” yum! Specifically, blueberries can be an excellent substitute for fruit gum. This bite-sized fruit is packed with antioxidants, high in soluble fiber, and low in calories and carbs, making it the perfect snack.
2. Whole grain cookies
While there are countless varieties of cookies on supermarket shelves, and probably in your pantry (know which pantry foods are high in unnecessary calories!), most of them don’t exactly meet optimal weight loss standards. Many crackers such as saltines or soda crackers are excessively high in sodium and offer no nutritional benefit. And while wholegrain crackers claim to be nutritious and full of healthy fiber, Sabat warns they’re just as bad for weight loss.
“Whole grain crackers can be made with whole grain ingredients, but they’re usually processed and high in calories because of the added fat and sugar,” she says, “many brands also they contain unhealthy additives such as salt and artificial flavors. Because of their high calorie content and lack of essential nutrients, whole grain crackers can be considered empty calorie foods.”
Sabat surprisingly suggests swapping whole grain crackers for popcorn. “Popcorn is a whole grain, low in calories and fat and high in fiber,” he explains. “Eating popcorn can help satisfy cravings without adding extra calories and can help keep you satisfied longer.” Who knew? Just make sure you’re not adding excessive amounts of salt because salt can cause your body to retain more water, which can show up on your body as extra pounds. And, Sabat also warns against eating too much popcorn. Three cups of popcorn is only about 100 calories.
So the next time you’re about to eat fruit gummies or whole grain crackers, just remember that these snacks are sneaky and loaded with empty calories. They will only cause weight gain, no matter how tempting they are. Experts like Sabat say these snacks can lead to consuming more calories than you need, which can cause you to gain weight instead of losing it. The calories you eat in fruit gummies and whole grains can also replace foods that would give you the nutrition your body actually needs to stay healthy. Try fresh fruit or unsalted popcorn. Your body will thank you!