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What are "empty" calories?

Some foods are especially bad for weight loss. Foods that contain a high number of calories or fat without providing valuable nutrients are referred to as "empty calories." These foods can dramatically increase the number of calories you consume without filling you up.

Fat is not just what accumulates on your body. It is also a type of molecule within food. Fat takes many forms and appears in most types of food, but is most concentrated within animal products like cheese, eggs, and meat. Fat is harmful for two reasons: fat tends to have many calories, compared to other kinds of food, and fat promotes the buildup of plaque on the walls of the arteries, which leads to heart disease.

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Review Date: 6/18/2009
Reviewed By: Jeffrey Heit, MD, Internist with special emphasis on preventive health, fitness and nutrition, Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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