Advertisement

Food for Fuel: Cutting Out Empty Calories

Food for Fuel: Cutting Out Empty Calories

In 1977, singer Jackson Browne landed a hit with “Runnin’ on Empty.” The song’s about a musician’s life on the road and the toll it takes. But, Browne explained, the idea came from the fact that many days he would drive to the recording studio with his car’s gas gauge on almost-empty, since his destination was just a few blocks away.

If you fill your tank with empty calories, you’re also courting disaster. You may think you’re running on fuel, but you’re running on junk that’s worse for you (and your engine) than unhealthy fumes.

So, what’s an empty calorie? Well, cola for one. And the average American drinks 20 ounces a day—the equivalent of 77,380 empty calories a year from nothing but added sugars and fake flavorings! French fries are empty calories, too—and they account for most of the 47 pounds of potatoes each American eats annually. Saturated fats and trans fats, all processed grains are high calorie, low octane. All they fuel is inflammation, chronic disease and weight gain.

You want to provide your body with the best fuel—in the form of healthy calories—you can. If you don’t, sooner or later all that low-grade gas will make your engine sluggish. Your best bet: getting nine servings of fruits and veggies daily—you’ll get fiber and loads of minerals, vitamins and micronutrients. Drink water, coffee and tea for beverages (unsweetened). Stick with lean proteins. That’ll fuel your tank for more brainpower, a better sex life and a younger RealAge!

Medically reviewed in November 2018.

Beware of These 5 Health Halos
Beware of These 5 Health Halos
We’re all for corporate responsibility and social good, but it seems that as the American waistline expands, so does the distance between those two id...
Read More
Can my diet affect my sleep?
Dr. Michael Breus, PhDDr. Michael Breus, PhD
Your diet can indeed affect your sleep; what you eat at night can help you fall asleep by increasing...
More Answers
8 Simple Ways to Get Sugar Out of Your Life
8 Simple Ways to Get Sugar Out of Your Life8 Simple Ways to Get Sugar Out of Your Life8 Simple Ways to Get Sugar Out of Your Life8 Simple Ways to Get Sugar Out of Your Life
Sugar doesn’t just add on pounds—it’s seriously hazardous to your health. 
Start Slideshow
How the Negative Calorie Effect Works
How the Negative Calorie Effect Works