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What are empty Calories?

Empty calories are often responsible for hindering weight loss and although not the entire reason, they play a big part. Empty calories contain lots of sugar, processed starch like flour or fats and not many nutrients or vitamins, that will help us get through the day. In some cases, the empty calories stop us from getting through the day by raising sugar levels for a quick burst of energy, only to plummet our blood sugar levels and subsequently, our moods moments later. These low blood sugar levels then create a depressive and lethargic state of mind, which may well spur on another desire for high sugar foods and more empty calories.

Essentially, any food that has very low nutrition but high in calorific value, such as chocolate, white bread/rice, fast foods, snacks and cakes. These are what we class as empty calories.

These are loaded with fat and sugar, hidden or otherwise and while they may provide an immediate burst of energy, the damage empty calories cause to weight loss is tremendous and it does indeed count, as does the type of food you choose to eat.

Sugar in the blood stream is recognized by receptors, that in turn, tells the pancreas to release the hormone insulin, the insulin converts the sugar to glucose energy, which, is then absorbed into the muscle tissue for energy and used to perform whatever daily tasks we have set for ourselves.

Insulin has the job of creating fat (Lipogenises) in the cells when all the energy is not used up. The release of insulin stops us using up stored body fat and therefore weight loss becomes more difficult. It is the reason why the stability of the blood sugar is so important to maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding the yo-yoing of gaining or losing weight. 

What should we do?

By limiting the intake of empty calories, the body calls on stored fat to use for extra energy, the result is weight loss. Simply put, but explains why you need to follow a calorie controlled nutritionally balanced diet. And, why the food you choose to eat is so very important. It is the hormone insulin which blocks the burning of fat, not the calories consumed, it just happens to be that the high sugar, high calorie foods produce more insulin to convert to glucose, energy that the body may not need at that time.

It takes 3,500 calories to create 1lb of fat over and above the amount of energy that your body's needs. Conversely by cutting your calories by just 500 a day, you will see a weight loss of 1lb a week. Aiming for a sustainable 1-2lb a week will ensure a long term result and body fat reduction. The remaining 500 calories can be made up of having higher than average metabolism or doing a little more exercise, the latter is quite relevant especially for toning up limbs.