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Sugar Addiction Myths

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Replies

  • stevencloser
    stevencloser Posts: 8,911 Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    nokanjaijo wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    J72FIT wrote: »
    I'm thinking the term "empty calories" was invented by the "clean eaters"...
    It's routinely used in the health care and nutritional fields. For example:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871092/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24200654
    https://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa14/dl/health-status-behaviors.pdf

    There's a recognized, common understanding of what the phrase means - it's basically a short way to talk about foods that add unneeded extra calories but little else. Sometimes it's put in quotation marks. ETA: It's never used when the calories the food supplies are needed or helpful, only when the extra calories are unneeded and possibly detrimental.



    So if I eat gummy bears pre or post workout they don't have empty calories because helpful but if I eat them during a movie they do have empty calories because unneeded?
    They're the same gummy bears...either the calories are empty or not.
    No, they can be unneeded in one situation and needed in another. If you are, say, Michael Phelps in training, you can't possibly get enough calories to stay well nourished unless you eat a lot of high-calorie, low-fiber foods. If you are an average Westerner, you're in a different situation. For you, candy is "empty calories," nutritionally speaking. Similarly, glucose can be a lifesaver for a diabetic in insulin shock or a patient in a coma, and doctors don't refer to it as "empty calories" in those circumstances.

    Sorry if that seems inconsistent to you, but your quarrel is with the doctors and scientists who use the phrase that way.

    If whether or not a calorie is "empty" depends on the circumstances, it seems like it would be more helpful to address the circumstances and help people make informed choices instead of focusing on the foods themselves.

    I think the point is that the calories are empty in both cases. Sometimes all you need are calories. In that situation, empty calories are fine and welcome. If you aren't in need of calories or if you are in need of certain micronutrients, empty calories are a bad idea.

    If you ordered a book and then received an empty box in the mail, that would be bad. If you need to move, you would want an empty box.

    Empty boxes can be good or bad, but I have never once heard somebody say, "It's not an empty box because you have a box and boxes are useful so the fact that you have a box means it's not an empty box."

    I hope I never do, to be honest.

    Your example makes perfect sense, it's just that you usually hear "empty calories" tossed around as something to avoid, where an empty box is just a tool.

    For a VAST majority of people, yes empty calories should be very limited.

    Depends on what you mean by "very limited." Many take that to mean "oh, no, I better not have any."

    I have a little cheese most days. Often in my vegetable omelet in the morning (a little feta makes it even more enjoyable for me), sometimes as a dessert after dinner (I enjoy having an oz of an interesting artisan cheese), sometimes as part of some other meal. The total calories are not huge and, more significantly, I have an overall nutritious and calorie appropriate diet. I understand that the cheese is an accent/indulgence, but don't particularly think it is in a different category than many other things I eat (adding olive oil to vegetables or a salad rather than eating them as low cal as possible, having some good bread if I happen to on that day, so on), and treating it as inherently different rather than focusing on my diet as a whole makes no difference to me.

    That way of thinking about it also tends to make people think they ate well if they had no "empty calories" and poorly if they had some, even if the latter day was overall better in other ways (hit a protein target, ate lots of vegetables, had more fiber, etc.). I think it's a really simplistic way of thinking about nutrition that might not be bad as a starting point for kids, but when talking to adults and there's no context given I think it's pretty unhelpful, especially if you are talking to people -- as here -- who know about nutrition and may indeed be focused on things like endurance sports.

    There's a spectrum. Cheese isn't "empty,"

    Again, the definition that keeps being referred to from the various "scientific" and gov't sources defines empty calories as "added sugar and solid fat." Pizza is a huge supplier of empty calories according to these sources and, yes, it's because of the cheese. For the most part, foods are not empty calories, they contain empty calories, and yes cheese would be mostly empty calories according to the definition in question. Same with a cherry cobbler which, of course, contains cherries and a few other ingredients that have nutrients.

    (I don't particularly agree with this use of "empty calories," but that's what we are talking about.)
    I don't think anyone is advocating for "empty calories" as a scientific term. It's a useful shorthand in context, and the context isn't all that difficult to understand.

    We are debating how useful it is. I don't find it all that useful when it's easy to be more specific and to better focus on overall context.
    I can eat an 80 calorie orange or the same calories in jelly beans - the jelly beans are empty calories, because oranges contain a plethora of nutrients in addition to calories, and jelly beans contain very few.

    I have carried sports jelly beans (which are largely just jelly beans with some electrolytes that are overpriced) on long runs and a marathon and found them helpful. Carrying an orange wouldn't work as it's difficult and peeling would not be easy for me when running (although an orange would actually taste good if someone handed me one at a stop -- I'm in favor of that!). Saying it's bad to eat the jelly beans in that context, empty calories, is not reasonable, IMO.
    As for your hypothetical person who thinks a good day is one in which no empty calories were consumed regardless of the appropriateness of their diet by any other metric - there's no term which is idiot-proof. A determined idiot can misunderstand and misuse any term.

    Agreed, but why not focus on things more likely to be helpful, like meeting overall nutritional goals and not overeating. The effect is to limit foods that are high cal/low nutrient anyway. People seem to be equating the questioning of the term "empty calorie" with not caring about nutrition, and that's entirely false. (I don't quite remember how this subthread started.)

    I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this in a way that's not rude, but why do you care so much? Perhaps it's not the perfect term. Whooptie. It is helpful for some people in some situations. It doesn't have to be a perfect term to be useful. If you don't find it useful, ignore it.

    How is an obsession with telling others what words are wrong more appropriate than an obsession with telling them what foods are wrong?

    It was talked about up top. Empty calories sounds like "I should never ever have this". Can lead to disordered thinking about foods, failure, ED and whathaveyou. Any evaluation of food that does not take overall diet into account is IMO and many others' opinions, useless at best and counterproductive to dangerous at worst.

    And throwing out things like losing weight on something like The Twinkie Diet doesn't?

    As a wakeup call to all the people claiming you can't ever have any of those? Yeah.
  • Packerjohn
    Packerjohn Posts: 4,855 Member
    edited July 2017
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    nokanjaijo wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    J72FIT wrote: »
    I'm thinking the term "empty calories" was invented by the "clean eaters"...
    It's routinely used in the health care and nutritional fields. For example:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871092/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24200654
    https://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa14/dl/health-status-behaviors.pdf

    There's a recognized, common understanding of what the phrase means - it's basically a short way to talk about foods that add unneeded extra calories but little else. Sometimes it's put in quotation marks. ETA: It's never used when the calories the food supplies are needed or helpful, only when the extra calories are unneeded and possibly detrimental.



    So if I eat gummy bears pre or post workout they don't have empty calories because helpful but if I eat them during a movie they do have empty calories because unneeded?
    They're the same gummy bears...either the calories are empty or not.
    No, they can be unneeded in one situation and needed in another. If you are, say, Michael Phelps in training, you can't possibly get enough calories to stay well nourished unless you eat a lot of high-calorie, low-fiber foods. If you are an average Westerner, you're in a different situation. For you, candy is "empty calories," nutritionally speaking. Similarly, glucose can be a lifesaver for a diabetic in insulin shock or a patient in a coma, and doctors don't refer to it as "empty calories" in those circumstances.

    Sorry if that seems inconsistent to you, but your quarrel is with the doctors and scientists who use the phrase that way.

    If whether or not a calorie is "empty" depends on the circumstances, it seems like it would be more helpful to address the circumstances and help people make informed choices instead of focusing on the foods themselves.

    I think the point is that the calories are empty in both cases. Sometimes all you need are calories. In that situation, empty calories are fine and welcome. If you aren't in need of calories or if you are in need of certain micronutrients, empty calories are a bad idea.

    If you ordered a book and then received an empty box in the mail, that would be bad. If you need to move, you would want an empty box.

    Empty boxes can be good or bad, but I have never once heard somebody say, "It's not an empty box because you have a box and boxes are useful so the fact that you have a box means it's not an empty box."

    I hope I never do, to be honest.

    Your example makes perfect sense, it's just that you usually hear "empty calories" tossed around as something to avoid, where an empty box is just a tool.

    For a VAST majority of people, yes empty calories should be very limited.

    Depends on what you mean by "very limited." Many take that to mean "oh, no, I better not have any."

    I have a little cheese most days. Often in my vegetable omelet in the morning (a little feta makes it even more enjoyable for me), sometimes as a dessert after dinner (I enjoy having an oz of an interesting artisan cheese), sometimes as part of some other meal. The total calories are not huge and, more significantly, I have an overall nutritious and calorie appropriate diet. I understand that the cheese is an accent/indulgence, but don't particularly think it is in a different category than many other things I eat (adding olive oil to vegetables or a salad rather than eating them as low cal as possible, having some good bread if I happen to on that day, so on), and treating it as inherently different rather than focusing on my diet as a whole makes no difference to me.

    That way of thinking about it also tends to make people think they ate well if they had no "empty calories" and poorly if they had some, even if the latter day was overall better in other ways (hit a protein target, ate lots of vegetables, had more fiber, etc.). I think it's a really simplistic way of thinking about nutrition that might not be bad as a starting point for kids, but when talking to adults and there's no context given I think it's pretty unhelpful, especially if you are talking to people -- as here -- who know about nutrition and may indeed be focused on things like endurance sports.

    There's a spectrum. Cheese isn't "empty,"

    Again, the definition that keeps being referred to from the various "scientific" and gov't sources defines empty calories as "added sugar and solid fat." Pizza is a huge supplier of empty calories according to these sources and, yes, it's because of the cheese. For the most part, foods are not empty calories, they contain empty calories, and yes cheese would be mostly empty calories according to the definition in question. Same with a cherry cobbler which, of course, contains cherries and a few other ingredients that have nutrients.

    (I don't particularly agree with this use of "empty calories," but that's what we are talking about.)
    I don't think anyone is advocating for "empty calories" as a scientific term. It's a useful shorthand in context, and the context isn't all that difficult to understand.

    We are debating how useful it is. I don't find it all that useful when it's easy to be more specific and to better focus on overall context.
    I can eat an 80 calorie orange or the same calories in jelly beans - the jelly beans are empty calories, because oranges contain a plethora of nutrients in addition to calories, and jelly beans contain very few.

    I have carried sports jelly beans (which are largely just jelly beans with some electrolytes that are overpriced) on long runs and a marathon and found them helpful. Carrying an orange wouldn't work as it's difficult and peeling would not be easy for me when running (although an orange would actually taste good if someone handed me one at a stop -- I'm in favor of that!). Saying it's bad to eat the jelly beans in that context, empty calories, is not reasonable, IMO.
    As for your hypothetical person who thinks a good day is one in which no empty calories were consumed regardless of the appropriateness of their diet by any other metric - there's no term which is idiot-proof. A determined idiot can misunderstand and misuse any term.

    Agreed, but why not focus on things more likely to be helpful, like meeting overall nutritional goals and not overeating. The effect is to limit foods that are high cal/low nutrient anyway. People seem to be equating the questioning of the term "empty calorie" with not caring about nutrition, and that's entirely false. (I don't quite remember how this subthread started.)

    I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this in a way that's not rude, but why do you care so much? Perhaps it's not the perfect term. Whooptie. It is helpful for some people in some situations. It doesn't have to be a perfect term to be useful. If you don't find it useful, ignore it.

    How is an obsession with telling others what words are wrong more appropriate than an obsession with telling them what foods are wrong?

    It was talked about up top. Empty calories sounds like "I should never ever have this". Can lead to disordered thinking about foods, failure, ED and whathaveyou. Any evaluation of food that does not take overall diet into account is IMO and many others' opinions, useless at best and counterproductive to dangerous at worst.

    And throwing out things like losing weight on something like The Twinkie Diet doesn't?

    While Moderation is the Key. The reality is that living at a healthy weight/BF on "The Twinkie Diet" or The McDonald's Diet. Is healthier long term than being morbidly obese on lean chicken and Broccoli.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2534737/I-thought-I-going-die-Man-lost-37lbs-eating-McDonalds-three-months-walking-45-minutes-day.html

    Agree, for someone significantly overweight, dropping pounds will generally improve health markers. However, the devil is in the details. Rather than just eating Big Macs and Cokes, here is what the subject did

    During his 90-day diet, Mr Cisna stuck to a strict limit of 2,000 calories per day and stayed close to the recommended dietary allowances for nutrients. He had his students plan out each of his meals using the fast food franchise's online nutritional information, requiring that they follow the dietary restrictions he set out.

    Similar with the Twinkie Diet:

    Two-thirds of his total intake came from junk food. He also took a multivitamin pill and drank a protein shake daily. And he ate vegetables, typically a can of green beans or three to four celery stalks.

    www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html

    In both examples some thought was given to nutrition.

    I've looked at some of the diet logs on MFP where the person is claims to be eating a low number of calories, but fits in ice cream, cookies, alcohol,etc daily. While these things are on the log, you don't see a serving of fruit or veggies for weeks.


  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    nokanjaijo wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    J72FIT wrote: »
    I'm thinking the term "empty calories" was invented by the "clean eaters"...
    It's routinely used in the health care and nutritional fields. For example:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871092/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24200654
    https://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa14/dl/health-status-behaviors.pdf

    There's a recognized, common understanding of what the phrase means - it's basically a short way to talk about foods that add unneeded extra calories but little else. Sometimes it's put in quotation marks. ETA: It's never used when the calories the food supplies are needed or helpful, only when the extra calories are unneeded and possibly detrimental.



    So if I eat gummy bears pre or post workout they don't have empty calories because helpful but if I eat them during a movie they do have empty calories because unneeded?
    They're the same gummy bears...either the calories are empty or not.
    No, they can be unneeded in one situation and needed in another. If you are, say, Michael Phelps in training, you can't possibly get enough calories to stay well nourished unless you eat a lot of high-calorie, low-fiber foods. If you are an average Westerner, you're in a different situation. For you, candy is "empty calories," nutritionally speaking. Similarly, glucose can be a lifesaver for a diabetic in insulin shock or a patient in a coma, and doctors don't refer to it as "empty calories" in those circumstances.

    Sorry if that seems inconsistent to you, but your quarrel is with the doctors and scientists who use the phrase that way.

    If whether or not a calorie is "empty" depends on the circumstances, it seems like it would be more helpful to address the circumstances and help people make informed choices instead of focusing on the foods themselves.

    I think the point is that the calories are empty in both cases. Sometimes all you need are calories. In that situation, empty calories are fine and welcome. If you aren't in need of calories or if you are in need of certain micronutrients, empty calories are a bad idea.

    If you ordered a book and then received an empty box in the mail, that would be bad. If you need to move, you would want an empty box.

    Empty boxes can be good or bad, but I have never once heard somebody say, "It's not an empty box because you have a box and boxes are useful so the fact that you have a box means it's not an empty box."

    I hope I never do, to be honest.

    Your example makes perfect sense, it's just that you usually hear "empty calories" tossed around as something to avoid, where an empty box is just a tool.

    For a VAST majority of people, yes empty calories should be very limited.

    Depends on what you mean by "very limited." Many take that to mean "oh, no, I better not have any."

    I have a little cheese most days. Often in my vegetable omelet in the morning (a little feta makes it even more enjoyable for me), sometimes as a dessert after dinner (I enjoy having an oz of an interesting artisan cheese), sometimes as part of some other meal. The total calories are not huge and, more significantly, I have an overall nutritious and calorie appropriate diet. I understand that the cheese is an accent/indulgence, but don't particularly think it is in a different category than many other things I eat (adding olive oil to vegetables or a salad rather than eating them as low cal as possible, having some good bread if I happen to on that day, so on), and treating it as inherently different rather than focusing on my diet as a whole makes no difference to me.

    That way of thinking about it also tends to make people think they ate well if they had no "empty calories" and poorly if they had some, even if the latter day was overall better in other ways (hit a protein target, ate lots of vegetables, had more fiber, etc.). I think it's a really simplistic way of thinking about nutrition that might not be bad as a starting point for kids, but when talking to adults and there's no context given I think it's pretty unhelpful, especially if you are talking to people -- as here -- who know about nutrition and may indeed be focused on things like endurance sports.

    There's a spectrum. Cheese isn't "empty,"

    Again, the definition that keeps being referred to from the various "scientific" and gov't sources defines empty calories as "added sugar and solid fat." Pizza is a huge supplier of empty calories according to these sources and, yes, it's because of the cheese. For the most part, foods are not empty calories, they contain empty calories, and yes cheese would be mostly empty calories according to the definition in question. Same with a cherry cobbler which, of course, contains cherries and a few other ingredients that have nutrients.

    (I don't particularly agree with this use of "empty calories," but that's what we are talking about.)
    I don't think anyone is advocating for "empty calories" as a scientific term. It's a useful shorthand in context, and the context isn't all that difficult to understand.

    We are debating how useful it is. I don't find it all that useful when it's easy to be more specific and to better focus on overall context.
    I can eat an 80 calorie orange or the same calories in jelly beans - the jelly beans are empty calories, because oranges contain a plethora of nutrients in addition to calories, and jelly beans contain very few.

    I have carried sports jelly beans (which are largely just jelly beans with some electrolytes that are overpriced) on long runs and a marathon and found them helpful. Carrying an orange wouldn't work as it's difficult and peeling would not be easy for me when running (although an orange would actually taste good if someone handed me one at a stop -- I'm in favor of that!). Saying it's bad to eat the jelly beans in that context, empty calories, is not reasonable, IMO.
    As for your hypothetical person who thinks a good day is one in which no empty calories were consumed regardless of the appropriateness of their diet by any other metric - there's no term which is idiot-proof. A determined idiot can misunderstand and misuse any term.

    Agreed, but why not focus on things more likely to be helpful, like meeting overall nutritional goals and not overeating. The effect is to limit foods that are high cal/low nutrient anyway. People seem to be equating the questioning of the term "empty calorie" with not caring about nutrition, and that's entirely false. (I don't quite remember how this subthread started.)

    I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this in a way that's not rude, but why do you care so much?

    I got involved because one of the posts to janejellyroll rubbed me the wrong way -- it seemed to be suggesting that disagreeing that the term was helpful meant that someone either was ignorant about what it meant (obviously not) or didn't care about nutrition (again, obviously not) and took a condescending tone as if those using the term were more knowledgeable in general. So I popped in to disagree with that and try to clarify what was being discussed.

    I actually don't much mind the use of "empty calories" -- I think it's a dumb term in some usages, but it doesn't bother me any more than "junk food" does (which is not at all). So you have jumped to some inaccurate assumptions about my feelings.

    Oh, I also continued participating because those defending and explaining it seemed to be using it incorrectly even according to the sources that we being cited. For example, ignoring that it applies to solid fats, and that it refers to ingredients, not foods.

    I don't think discussing the meanings of terms we use is unhelpful -- I think it contributes to communication. You may disagree, and that's fine.

  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    edited July 2017
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    nokanjaijo wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    J72FIT wrote: »
    I'm thinking the term "empty calories" was invented by the "clean eaters"...
    It's routinely used in the health care and nutritional fields. For example:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871092/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24200654
    https://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa14/dl/health-status-behaviors.pdf

    There's a recognized, common understanding of what the phrase means - it's basically a short way to talk about foods that add unneeded extra calories but little else. Sometimes it's put in quotation marks. ETA: It's never used when the calories the food supplies are needed or helpful, only when the extra calories are unneeded and possibly detrimental.



    So if I eat gummy bears pre or post workout they don't have empty calories because helpful but if I eat them during a movie they do have empty calories because unneeded?
    They're the same gummy bears...either the calories are empty or not.
    No, they can be unneeded in one situation and needed in another. If you are, say, Michael Phelps in training, you can't possibly get enough calories to stay well nourished unless you eat a lot of high-calorie, low-fiber foods. If you are an average Westerner, you're in a different situation. For you, candy is "empty calories," nutritionally speaking. Similarly, glucose can be a lifesaver for a diabetic in insulin shock or a patient in a coma, and doctors don't refer to it as "empty calories" in those circumstances.

    Sorry if that seems inconsistent to you, but your quarrel is with the doctors and scientists who use the phrase that way.

    If whether or not a calorie is "empty" depends on the circumstances, it seems like it would be more helpful to address the circumstances and help people make informed choices instead of focusing on the foods themselves.

    I think the point is that the calories are empty in both cases. Sometimes all you need are calories. In that situation, empty calories are fine and welcome. If you aren't in need of calories or if you are in need of certain micronutrients, empty calories are a bad idea.

    If you ordered a book and then received an empty box in the mail, that would be bad. If you need to move, you would want an empty box.

    Empty boxes can be good or bad, but I have never once heard somebody say, "It's not an empty box because you have a box and boxes are useful so the fact that you have a box means it's not an empty box."

    I hope I never do, to be honest.

    Your example makes perfect sense, it's just that you usually hear "empty calories" tossed around as something to avoid, where an empty box is just a tool.

    For a VAST majority of people, yes empty calories should be very limited.

    Depends on what you mean by "very limited." Many take that to mean "oh, no, I better not have any."

    I have a little cheese most days. Often in my vegetable omelet in the morning (a little feta makes it even more enjoyable for me), sometimes as a dessert after dinner (I enjoy having an oz of an interesting artisan cheese), sometimes as part of some other meal. The total calories are not huge and, more significantly, I have an overall nutritious and calorie appropriate diet. I understand that the cheese is an accent/indulgence, but don't particularly think it is in a different category than many other things I eat (adding olive oil to vegetables or a salad rather than eating them as low cal as possible, having some good bread if I happen to on that day, so on), and treating it as inherently different rather than focusing on my diet as a whole makes no difference to me.

    That way of thinking about it also tends to make people think they ate well if they had no "empty calories" and poorly if they had some, even if the latter day was overall better in other ways (hit a protein target, ate lots of vegetables, had more fiber, etc.). I think it's a really simplistic way of thinking about nutrition that might not be bad as a starting point for kids, but when talking to adults and there's no context given I think it's pretty unhelpful, especially if you are talking to people -- as here -- who know about nutrition and may indeed be focused on things like endurance sports.

    There's a spectrum. Cheese isn't "empty,"

    Again, the definition that keeps being referred to from the various "scientific" and gov't sources defines empty calories as "added sugar and solid fat." Pizza is a huge supplier of empty calories according to these sources and, yes, it's because of the cheese. For the most part, foods are not empty calories, they contain empty calories, and yes cheese would be mostly empty calories according to the definition in question. Same with a cherry cobbler which, of course, contains cherries and a few other ingredients that have nutrients.

    (I don't particularly agree with this use of "empty calories," but that's what we are talking about.)
    I don't think anyone is advocating for "empty calories" as a scientific term. It's a useful shorthand in context, and the context isn't all that difficult to understand.

    We are debating how useful it is. I don't find it all that useful when it's easy to be more specific and to better focus on overall context.
    I can eat an 80 calorie orange or the same calories in jelly beans - the jelly beans are empty calories, because oranges contain a plethora of nutrients in addition to calories, and jelly beans contain very few.

    I have carried sports jelly beans (which are largely just jelly beans with some electrolytes that are overpriced) on long runs and a marathon and found them helpful. Carrying an orange wouldn't work as it's difficult and peeling would not be easy for me when running (although an orange would actually taste good if someone handed me one at a stop -- I'm in favor of that!). Saying it's bad to eat the jelly beans in that context, empty calories, is not reasonable, IMO.
    As for your hypothetical person who thinks a good day is one in which no empty calories were consumed regardless of the appropriateness of their diet by any other metric - there's no term which is idiot-proof. A determined idiot can misunderstand and misuse any term.

    Agreed, but why not focus on things more likely to be helpful, like meeting overall nutritional goals and not overeating. The effect is to limit foods that are high cal/low nutrient anyway. People seem to be equating the questioning of the term "empty calorie" with not caring about nutrition, and that's entirely false. (I don't quite remember how this subthread started.)

    I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this in a way that's not rude, but why do you care so much? Perhaps it's not the perfect term. Whooptie. It is helpful for some people in some situations. It doesn't have to be a perfect term to be useful. If you don't find it useful, ignore it.

    How is an obsession with telling others what words are wrong more appropriate than an obsession with telling them what foods are wrong?

    It was talked about up top. Empty calories sounds like "I should never ever have this". Can lead to disordered thinking about foods, failure, ED and whathaveyou. Any evaluation of food that does not take overall diet into account is IMO and many others' opinions, useless at best and counterproductive to dangerous at worst.

    And throwing out things like losing weight on something like The Twinkie Diet doesn't?

    No one ever recommends that.

    I think understanding that calories are all that matter for weight loss is useful in clearing away the superstition about how it works. It does not make it difficult for me to also say that what we eat of course matters and that I personally think eating a healthful diet is important and makes it easier for the vast majority of people to avoid weight gain.

    Surely you don't think lying to people and telling them they must eat healthfully in order to avoid being fat is a worthwhile thing to do?

    I find this idea that acknowledging the truth -- you can lose weight on a ridiculously unhealthy, not recommended diet -- is confusing or will cause people who would not otherwise eat such a diet to do so to be quite odd.

    What was discussed upthread (not by me specifically) is that obesity is sufficiently bad for you that losing weight is good for health in most cases no matter how you do it. (I'd further say that worrying about people taking the Twinkie diet as a recommendation is funny, since most could not sustain a Twinkie diet long anyway -- I certainly could not. I always think those concerned about others eating all junk food must secretly want to themselves, as I think it would be a horrible, unpleasant diet no one would willingly choose if they had the slightest concern for calories or knowledge about/exposure to good food.)
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    nokanjaijo wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    J72FIT wrote: »
    I'm thinking the term "empty calories" was invented by the "clean eaters"...
    It's routinely used in the health care and nutritional fields. For example:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871092/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24200654
    https://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa14/dl/health-status-behaviors.pdf

    There's a recognized, common understanding of what the phrase means - it's basically a short way to talk about foods that add unneeded extra calories but little else. Sometimes it's put in quotation marks. ETA: It's never used when the calories the food supplies are needed or helpful, only when the extra calories are unneeded and possibly detrimental.



    So if I eat gummy bears pre or post workout they don't have empty calories because helpful but if I eat them during a movie they do have empty calories because unneeded?
    They're the same gummy bears...either the calories are empty or not.
    No, they can be unneeded in one situation and needed in another. If you are, say, Michael Phelps in training, you can't possibly get enough calories to stay well nourished unless you eat a lot of high-calorie, low-fiber foods. If you are an average Westerner, you're in a different situation. For you, candy is "empty calories," nutritionally speaking. Similarly, glucose can be a lifesaver for a diabetic in insulin shock or a patient in a coma, and doctors don't refer to it as "empty calories" in those circumstances.

    Sorry if that seems inconsistent to you, but your quarrel is with the doctors and scientists who use the phrase that way.

    If whether or not a calorie is "empty" depends on the circumstances, it seems like it would be more helpful to address the circumstances and help people make informed choices instead of focusing on the foods themselves.

    I think the point is that the calories are empty in both cases. Sometimes all you need are calories. In that situation, empty calories are fine and welcome. If you aren't in need of calories or if you are in need of certain micronutrients, empty calories are a bad idea.

    If you ordered a book and then received an empty box in the mail, that would be bad. If you need to move, you would want an empty box.

    Empty boxes can be good or bad, but I have never once heard somebody say, "It's not an empty box because you have a box and boxes are useful so the fact that you have a box means it's not an empty box."

    I hope I never do, to be honest.

    Your example makes perfect sense, it's just that you usually hear "empty calories" tossed around as something to avoid, where an empty box is just a tool.

    For a VAST majority of people, yes empty calories should be very limited.

    Depends on what you mean by "very limited." Many take that to mean "oh, no, I better not have any."

    I have a little cheese most days. Often in my vegetable omelet in the morning (a little feta makes it even more enjoyable for me), sometimes as a dessert after dinner (I enjoy having an oz of an interesting artisan cheese), sometimes as part of some other meal. The total calories are not huge and, more significantly, I have an overall nutritious and calorie appropriate diet. I understand that the cheese is an accent/indulgence, but don't particularly think it is in a different category than many other things I eat (adding olive oil to vegetables or a salad rather than eating them as low cal as possible, having some good bread if I happen to on that day, so on), and treating it as inherently different rather than focusing on my diet as a whole makes no difference to me.

    That way of thinking about it also tends to make people think they ate well if they had no "empty calories" and poorly if they had some, even if the latter day was overall better in other ways (hit a protein target, ate lots of vegetables, had more fiber, etc.). I think it's a really simplistic way of thinking about nutrition that might not be bad as a starting point for kids, but when talking to adults and there's no context given I think it's pretty unhelpful, especially if you are talking to people -- as here -- who know about nutrition and may indeed be focused on things like endurance sports.

    There's a spectrum. Cheese isn't "empty,"

    Again, the definition that keeps being referred to from the various "scientific" and gov't sources defines empty calories as "added sugar and solid fat." Pizza is a huge supplier of empty calories according to these sources and, yes, it's because of the cheese. For the most part, foods are not empty calories, they contain empty calories, and yes cheese would be mostly empty calories according to the definition in question. Same with a cherry cobbler which, of course, contains cherries and a few other ingredients that have nutrients.

    (I don't particularly agree with this use of "empty calories," but that's what we are talking about.)
    I don't think anyone is advocating for "empty calories" as a scientific term. It's a useful shorthand in context, and the context isn't all that difficult to understand.

    We are debating how useful it is. I don't find it all that useful when it's easy to be more specific and to better focus on overall context.
    I can eat an 80 calorie orange or the same calories in jelly beans - the jelly beans are empty calories, because oranges contain a plethora of nutrients in addition to calories, and jelly beans contain very few.

    I have carried sports jelly beans (which are largely just jelly beans with some electrolytes that are overpriced) on long runs and a marathon and found them helpful. Carrying an orange wouldn't work as it's difficult and peeling would not be easy for me when running (although an orange would actually taste good if someone handed me one at a stop -- I'm in favor of that!). Saying it's bad to eat the jelly beans in that context, empty calories, is not reasonable, IMO.
    As for your hypothetical person who thinks a good day is one in which no empty calories were consumed regardless of the appropriateness of their diet by any other metric - there's no term which is idiot-proof. A determined idiot can misunderstand and misuse any term.

    Agreed, but why not focus on things more likely to be helpful, like meeting overall nutritional goals and not overeating. The effect is to limit foods that are high cal/low nutrient anyway. People seem to be equating the questioning of the term "empty calorie" with not caring about nutrition, and that's entirely false. (I don't quite remember how this subthread started.)

    I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this in a way that's not rude, but why do you care so much? Perhaps it's not the perfect term. Whooptie. It is helpful for some people in some situations. It doesn't have to be a perfect term to be useful. If you don't find it useful, ignore it.

    How is an obsession with telling others what words are wrong more appropriate than an obsession with telling them what foods are wrong?

    To be fair, this is the debate area. We're all here because we like debating about whatever the topic is (or because we dislike it and enjoy provoking ourselves).
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,736 Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    nokanjaijo wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    J72FIT wrote: »
    I'm thinking the term "empty calories" was invented by the "clean eaters"...
    It's routinely used in the health care and nutritional fields. For example:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871092/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24200654
    https://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa14/dl/health-status-behaviors.pdf

    There's a recognized, common understanding of what the phrase means - it's basically a short way to talk about foods that add unneeded extra calories but little else. Sometimes it's put in quotation marks. ETA: It's never used when the calories the food supplies are needed or helpful, only when the extra calories are unneeded and possibly detrimental.



    So if I eat gummy bears pre or post workout they don't have empty calories because helpful but if I eat them during a movie they do have empty calories because unneeded?
    They're the same gummy bears...either the calories are empty or not.
    No, they can be unneeded in one situation and needed in another. If you are, say, Michael Phelps in training, you can't possibly get enough calories to stay well nourished unless you eat a lot of high-calorie, low-fiber foods. If you are an average Westerner, you're in a different situation. For you, candy is "empty calories," nutritionally speaking. Similarly, glucose can be a lifesaver for a diabetic in insulin shock or a patient in a coma, and doctors don't refer to it as "empty calories" in those circumstances.

    Sorry if that seems inconsistent to you, but your quarrel is with the doctors and scientists who use the phrase that way.

    If whether or not a calorie is "empty" depends on the circumstances, it seems like it would be more helpful to address the circumstances and help people make informed choices instead of focusing on the foods themselves.

    I think the point is that the calories are empty in both cases. Sometimes all you need are calories. In that situation, empty calories are fine and welcome. If you aren't in need of calories or if you are in need of certain micronutrients, empty calories are a bad idea.

    If you ordered a book and then received an empty box in the mail, that would be bad. If you need to move, you would want an empty box.

    Empty boxes can be good or bad, but I have never once heard somebody say, "It's not an empty box because you have a box and boxes are useful so the fact that you have a box means it's not an empty box."

    I hope I never do, to be honest.

    Your example makes perfect sense, it's just that you usually hear "empty calories" tossed around as something to avoid, where an empty box is just a tool.

    For a VAST majority of people, yes empty calories should be very limited.

    Depends on what you mean by "very limited." Many take that to mean "oh, no, I better not have any."

    I have a little cheese most days. Often in my vegetable omelet in the morning (a little feta makes it even more enjoyable for me), sometimes as a dessert after dinner (I enjoy having an oz of an interesting artisan cheese), sometimes as part of some other meal. The total calories are not huge and, more significantly, I have an overall nutritious and calorie appropriate diet. I understand that the cheese is an accent/indulgence, but don't particularly think it is in a different category than many other things I eat (adding olive oil to vegetables or a salad rather than eating them as low cal as possible, having some good bread if I happen to on that day, so on), and treating it as inherently different rather than focusing on my diet as a whole makes no difference to me.

    That way of thinking about it also tends to make people think they ate well if they had no "empty calories" and poorly if they had some, even if the latter day was overall better in other ways (hit a protein target, ate lots of vegetables, had more fiber, etc.). I think it's a really simplistic way of thinking about nutrition that might not be bad as a starting point for kids, but when talking to adults and there's no context given I think it's pretty unhelpful, especially if you are talking to people -- as here -- who know about nutrition and may indeed be focused on things like endurance sports.

    There's a spectrum. Cheese isn't "empty,"

    Again, the definition that keeps being referred to from the various "scientific" and gov't sources defines empty calories as "added sugar and solid fat." Pizza is a huge supplier of empty calories according to these sources and, yes, it's because of the cheese. For the most part, foods are not empty calories, they contain empty calories, and yes cheese would be mostly empty calories according to the definition in question. Same with a cherry cobbler which, of course, contains cherries and a few other ingredients that have nutrients.

    (I don't particularly agree with this use of "empty calories," but that's what we are talking about.)
    I don't think anyone is advocating for "empty calories" as a scientific term. It's a useful shorthand in context, and the context isn't all that difficult to understand.

    We are debating how useful it is. I don't find it all that useful when it's easy to be more specific and to better focus on overall context.
    I can eat an 80 calorie orange or the same calories in jelly beans - the jelly beans are empty calories, because oranges contain a plethora of nutrients in addition to calories, and jelly beans contain very few.

    I have carried sports jelly beans (which are largely just jelly beans with some electrolytes that are overpriced) on long runs and a marathon and found them helpful. Carrying an orange wouldn't work as it's difficult and peeling would not be easy for me when running (although an orange would actually taste good if someone handed me one at a stop -- I'm in favor of that!). Saying it's bad to eat the jelly beans in that context, empty calories, is not reasonable, IMO.
    As for your hypothetical person who thinks a good day is one in which no empty calories were consumed regardless of the appropriateness of their diet by any other metric - there's no term which is idiot-proof. A determined idiot can misunderstand and misuse any term.

    Agreed, but why not focus on things more likely to be helpful, like meeting overall nutritional goals and not overeating. The effect is to limit foods that are high cal/low nutrient anyway. People seem to be equating the questioning of the term "empty calorie" with not caring about nutrition, and that's entirely false. (I don't quite remember how this subthread started.)

    I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this in a way that's not rude, but why do you care so much? Perhaps it's not the perfect term. Whooptie. It is helpful for some people in some situations. It doesn't have to be a perfect term to be useful. If you don't find it useful, ignore it.

    How is an obsession with telling others what words are wrong more appropriate than an obsession with telling them what foods are wrong?

    It was talked about up top. Empty calories sounds like "I should never ever have this". Can lead to disordered thinking about foods, failure, ED and whathaveyou. Any evaluation of food that does not take overall diet into account is IMO and many others' opinions, useless at best and counterproductive to dangerous at worst.

    And throwing out things like losing weight on something like The Twinkie Diet doesn't?

    While Moderation is the Key. The reality is that living at a healthy weight/BF on "The Twinkie Diet" or The McDonald's Diet. Is healthier long term than being morbidly obese on lean chicken and Broccoli.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2534737/I-thought-I-going-die-Man-lost-37lbs-eating-McDonalds-three-months-walking-45-minutes-day.html

    Nobody is morbidly obese off chicken, rice and broccoli.

    IF you say so.
  • Rammer123
    Rammer123 Posts: 679 Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    nokanjaijo wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    J72FIT wrote: »
    I'm thinking the term "empty calories" was invented by the "clean eaters"...
    It's routinely used in the health care and nutritional fields. For example:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871092/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24200654
    https://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa14/dl/health-status-behaviors.pdf

    There's a recognized, common understanding of what the phrase means - it's basically a short way to talk about foods that add unneeded extra calories but little else. Sometimes it's put in quotation marks. ETA: It's never used when the calories the food supplies are needed or helpful, only when the extra calories are unneeded and possibly detrimental.



    So if I eat gummy bears pre or post workout they don't have empty calories because helpful but if I eat them during a movie they do have empty calories because unneeded?
    They're the same gummy bears...either the calories are empty or not.
    No, they can be unneeded in one situation and needed in another. If you are, say, Michael Phelps in training, you can't possibly get enough calories to stay well nourished unless you eat a lot of high-calorie, low-fiber foods. If you are an average Westerner, you're in a different situation. For you, candy is "empty calories," nutritionally speaking. Similarly, glucose can be a lifesaver for a diabetic in insulin shock or a patient in a coma, and doctors don't refer to it as "empty calories" in those circumstances.

    Sorry if that seems inconsistent to you, but your quarrel is with the doctors and scientists who use the phrase that way.

    If whether or not a calorie is "empty" depends on the circumstances, it seems like it would be more helpful to address the circumstances and help people make informed choices instead of focusing on the foods themselves.

    I think the point is that the calories are empty in both cases. Sometimes all you need are calories. In that situation, empty calories are fine and welcome. If you aren't in need of calories or if you are in need of certain micronutrients, empty calories are a bad idea.

    If you ordered a book and then received an empty box in the mail, that would be bad. If you need to move, you would want an empty box.

    Empty boxes can be good or bad, but I have never once heard somebody say, "It's not an empty box because you have a box and boxes are useful so the fact that you have a box means it's not an empty box."

    I hope I never do, to be honest.

    Your example makes perfect sense, it's just that you usually hear "empty calories" tossed around as something to avoid, where an empty box is just a tool.

    For a VAST majority of people, yes empty calories should be very limited.

    Depends on what you mean by "very limited." Many take that to mean "oh, no, I better not have any."

    I have a little cheese most days. Often in my vegetable omelet in the morning (a little feta makes it even more enjoyable for me), sometimes as a dessert after dinner (I enjoy having an oz of an interesting artisan cheese), sometimes as part of some other meal. The total calories are not huge and, more significantly, I have an overall nutritious and calorie appropriate diet. I understand that the cheese is an accent/indulgence, but don't particularly think it is in a different category than many other things I eat (adding olive oil to vegetables or a salad rather than eating them as low cal as possible, having some good bread if I happen to on that day, so on), and treating it as inherently different rather than focusing on my diet as a whole makes no difference to me.

    That way of thinking about it also tends to make people think they ate well if they had no "empty calories" and poorly if they had some, even if the latter day was overall better in other ways (hit a protein target, ate lots of vegetables, had more fiber, etc.). I think it's a really simplistic way of thinking about nutrition that might not be bad as a starting point for kids, but when talking to adults and there's no context given I think it's pretty unhelpful, especially if you are talking to people -- as here -- who know about nutrition and may indeed be focused on things like endurance sports.

    There's a spectrum. Cheese isn't "empty,"

    Again, the definition that keeps being referred to from the various "scientific" and gov't sources defines empty calories as "added sugar and solid fat." Pizza is a huge supplier of empty calories according to these sources and, yes, it's because of the cheese. For the most part, foods are not empty calories, they contain empty calories, and yes cheese would be mostly empty calories according to the definition in question. Same with a cherry cobbler which, of course, contains cherries and a few other ingredients that have nutrients.

    (I don't particularly agree with this use of "empty calories," but that's what we are talking about.)
    I don't think anyone is advocating for "empty calories" as a scientific term. It's a useful shorthand in context, and the context isn't all that difficult to understand.

    We are debating how useful it is. I don't find it all that useful when it's easy to be more specific and to better focus on overall context.
    I can eat an 80 calorie orange or the same calories in jelly beans - the jelly beans are empty calories, because oranges contain a plethora of nutrients in addition to calories, and jelly beans contain very few.

    I have carried sports jelly beans (which are largely just jelly beans with some electrolytes that are overpriced) on long runs and a marathon and found them helpful. Carrying an orange wouldn't work as it's difficult and peeling would not be easy for me when running (although an orange would actually taste good if someone handed me one at a stop -- I'm in favor of that!). Saying it's bad to eat the jelly beans in that context, empty calories, is not reasonable, IMO.
    As for your hypothetical person who thinks a good day is one in which no empty calories were consumed regardless of the appropriateness of their diet by any other metric - there's no term which is idiot-proof. A determined idiot can misunderstand and misuse any term.

    Agreed, but why not focus on things more likely to be helpful, like meeting overall nutritional goals and not overeating. The effect is to limit foods that are high cal/low nutrient anyway. People seem to be equating the questioning of the term "empty calorie" with not caring about nutrition, and that's entirely false. (I don't quite remember how this subthread started.)

    I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this in a way that's not rude, but why do you care so much? Perhaps it's not the perfect term. Whooptie. It is helpful for some people in some situations. It doesn't have to be a perfect term to be useful. If you don't find it useful, ignore it.

    How is an obsession with telling others what words are wrong more appropriate than an obsession with telling them what foods are wrong?

    It was talked about up top. Empty calories sounds like "I should never ever have this". Can lead to disordered thinking about foods, failure, ED and whathaveyou. Any evaluation of food that does not take overall diet into account is IMO and many others' opinions, useless at best and counterproductive to dangerous at worst.

    And throwing out things like losing weight on something like The Twinkie Diet doesn't?

    While Moderation is the Key. The reality is that living at a healthy weight/BF on "The Twinkie Diet" or The McDonald's Diet. Is healthier long term than being morbidly obese on lean chicken and Broccoli.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2534737/I-thought-I-going-die-Man-lost-37lbs-eating-McDonalds-three-months-walking-45-minutes-day.html

    Nobody is morbidly obese off chicken, rice and broccoli.

    IF you say so.

    Find one person who is overweight off of only lean meat and dark green veggies.

    You'd need to be eating over 5lbs of chicken a day to even break 1,800 calories.
  • J72FIT
    J72FIT Posts: 5,932 Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    nokanjaijo wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    J72FIT wrote: »
    I'm thinking the term "empty calories" was invented by the "clean eaters"...
    It's routinely used in the health care and nutritional fields. For example:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871092/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24200654
    https://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa14/dl/health-status-behaviors.pdf

    There's a recognized, common understanding of what the phrase means - it's basically a short way to talk about foods that add unneeded extra calories but little else. Sometimes it's put in quotation marks. ETA: It's never used when the calories the food supplies are needed or helpful, only when the extra calories are unneeded and possibly detrimental.



    So if I eat gummy bears pre or post workout they don't have empty calories because helpful but if I eat them during a movie they do have empty calories because unneeded?
    They're the same gummy bears...either the calories are empty or not.
    No, they can be unneeded in one situation and needed in another. If you are, say, Michael Phelps in training, you can't possibly get enough calories to stay well nourished unless you eat a lot of high-calorie, low-fiber foods. If you are an average Westerner, you're in a different situation. For you, candy is "empty calories," nutritionally speaking. Similarly, glucose can be a lifesaver for a diabetic in insulin shock or a patient in a coma, and doctors don't refer to it as "empty calories" in those circumstances.

    Sorry if that seems inconsistent to you, but your quarrel is with the doctors and scientists who use the phrase that way.

    If whether or not a calorie is "empty" depends on the circumstances, it seems like it would be more helpful to address the circumstances and help people make informed choices instead of focusing on the foods themselves.

    I think the point is that the calories are empty in both cases. Sometimes all you need are calories. In that situation, empty calories are fine and welcome. If you aren't in need of calories or if you are in need of certain micronutrients, empty calories are a bad idea.

    If you ordered a book and then received an empty box in the mail, that would be bad. If you need to move, you would want an empty box.

    Empty boxes can be good or bad, but I have never once heard somebody say, "It's not an empty box because you have a box and boxes are useful so the fact that you have a box means it's not an empty box."

    I hope I never do, to be honest.

    Your example makes perfect sense, it's just that you usually hear "empty calories" tossed around as something to avoid, where an empty box is just a tool.

    For a VAST majority of people, yes empty calories should be very limited.

    Depends on what you mean by "very limited." Many take that to mean "oh, no, I better not have any."

    I have a little cheese most days. Often in my vegetable omelet in the morning (a little feta makes it even more enjoyable for me), sometimes as a dessert after dinner (I enjoy having an oz of an interesting artisan cheese), sometimes as part of some other meal. The total calories are not huge and, more significantly, I have an overall nutritious and calorie appropriate diet. I understand that the cheese is an accent/indulgence, but don't particularly think it is in a different category than many other things I eat (adding olive oil to vegetables or a salad rather than eating them as low cal as possible, having some good bread if I happen to on that day, so on), and treating it as inherently different rather than focusing on my diet as a whole makes no difference to me.

    That way of thinking about it also tends to make people think they ate well if they had no "empty calories" and poorly if they had some, even if the latter day was overall better in other ways (hit a protein target, ate lots of vegetables, had more fiber, etc.). I think it's a really simplistic way of thinking about nutrition that might not be bad as a starting point for kids, but when talking to adults and there's no context given I think it's pretty unhelpful, especially if you are talking to people -- as here -- who know about nutrition and may indeed be focused on things like endurance sports.

    There's a spectrum. Cheese isn't "empty,"

    Again, the definition that keeps being referred to from the various "scientific" and gov't sources defines empty calories as "added sugar and solid fat." Pizza is a huge supplier of empty calories according to these sources and, yes, it's because of the cheese. For the most part, foods are not empty calories, they contain empty calories, and yes cheese would be mostly empty calories according to the definition in question. Same with a cherry cobbler which, of course, contains cherries and a few other ingredients that have nutrients.

    (I don't particularly agree with this use of "empty calories," but that's what we are talking about.)
    I don't think anyone is advocating for "empty calories" as a scientific term. It's a useful shorthand in context, and the context isn't all that difficult to understand.

    We are debating how useful it is. I don't find it all that useful when it's easy to be more specific and to better focus on overall context.
    I can eat an 80 calorie orange or the same calories in jelly beans - the jelly beans are empty calories, because oranges contain a plethora of nutrients in addition to calories, and jelly beans contain very few.

    I have carried sports jelly beans (which are largely just jelly beans with some electrolytes that are overpriced) on long runs and a marathon and found them helpful. Carrying an orange wouldn't work as it's difficult and peeling would not be easy for me when running (although an orange would actually taste good if someone handed me one at a stop -- I'm in favor of that!). Saying it's bad to eat the jelly beans in that context, empty calories, is not reasonable, IMO.
    As for your hypothetical person who thinks a good day is one in which no empty calories were consumed regardless of the appropriateness of their diet by any other metric - there's no term which is idiot-proof. A determined idiot can misunderstand and misuse any term.

    Agreed, but why not focus on things more likely to be helpful, like meeting overall nutritional goals and not overeating. The effect is to limit foods that are high cal/low nutrient anyway. People seem to be equating the questioning of the term "empty calorie" with not caring about nutrition, and that's entirely false. (I don't quite remember how this subthread started.)

    I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this in a way that's not rude, but why do you care so much? Perhaps it's not the perfect term. Whooptie. It is helpful for some people in some situations. It doesn't have to be a perfect term to be useful. If you don't find it useful, ignore it.

    How is an obsession with telling others what words are wrong more appropriate than an obsession with telling them what foods are wrong?

    It was talked about up top. Empty calories sounds like "I should never ever have this". Can lead to disordered thinking about foods, failure, ED and whathaveyou. Any evaluation of food that does not take overall diet into account is IMO and many others' opinions, useless at best and counterproductive to dangerous at worst.

    And throwing out things like losing weight on something like The Twinkie Diet doesn't?

    While Moderation is the Key. The reality is that living at a healthy weight/BF on "The Twinkie Diet" or The McDonald's Diet. Is healthier long term than being morbidly obese on lean chicken and Broccoli.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2534737/I-thought-I-going-die-Man-lost-37lbs-eating-McDonalds-three-months-walking-45-minutes-day.html

    Nobody is morbidly obese off chicken, rice and broccoli.

    IF you say so.

    Find one person who is overweight off of only lean meat and dark green veggies.

    You'd need to be eating over 5lbs of chicken a day to even break 1,800 calories.

    You left out the rice...
  • Rammer123
    Rammer123 Posts: 679 Member
    J72FIT wrote: »
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    nokanjaijo wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    J72FIT wrote: »
    I'm thinking the term "empty calories" was invented by the "clean eaters"...
    It's routinely used in the health care and nutritional fields. For example:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871092/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24200654
    https://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa14/dl/health-status-behaviors.pdf

    There's a recognized, common understanding of what the phrase means - it's basically a short way to talk about foods that add unneeded extra calories but little else. Sometimes it's put in quotation marks. ETA: It's never used when the calories the food supplies are needed or helpful, only when the extra calories are unneeded and possibly detrimental.



    So if I eat gummy bears pre or post workout they don't have empty calories because helpful but if I eat them during a movie they do have empty calories because unneeded?
    They're the same gummy bears...either the calories are empty or not.
    No, they can be unneeded in one situation and needed in another. If you are, say, Michael Phelps in training, you can't possibly get enough calories to stay well nourished unless you eat a lot of high-calorie, low-fiber foods. If you are an average Westerner, you're in a different situation. For you, candy is "empty calories," nutritionally speaking. Similarly, glucose can be a lifesaver for a diabetic in insulin shock or a patient in a coma, and doctors don't refer to it as "empty calories" in those circumstances.

    Sorry if that seems inconsistent to you, but your quarrel is with the doctors and scientists who use the phrase that way.

    If whether or not a calorie is "empty" depends on the circumstances, it seems like it would be more helpful to address the circumstances and help people make informed choices instead of focusing on the foods themselves.

    I think the point is that the calories are empty in both cases. Sometimes all you need are calories. In that situation, empty calories are fine and welcome. If you aren't in need of calories or if you are in need of certain micronutrients, empty calories are a bad idea.

    If you ordered a book and then received an empty box in the mail, that would be bad. If you need to move, you would want an empty box.

    Empty boxes can be good or bad, but I have never once heard somebody say, "It's not an empty box because you have a box and boxes are useful so the fact that you have a box means it's not an empty box."

    I hope I never do, to be honest.

    Your example makes perfect sense, it's just that you usually hear "empty calories" tossed around as something to avoid, where an empty box is just a tool.

    For a VAST majority of people, yes empty calories should be very limited.

    Depends on what you mean by "very limited." Many take that to mean "oh, no, I better not have any."

    I have a little cheese most days. Often in my vegetable omelet in the morning (a little feta makes it even more enjoyable for me), sometimes as a dessert after dinner (I enjoy having an oz of an interesting artisan cheese), sometimes as part of some other meal. The total calories are not huge and, more significantly, I have an overall nutritious and calorie appropriate diet. I understand that the cheese is an accent/indulgence, but don't particularly think it is in a different category than many other things I eat (adding olive oil to vegetables or a salad rather than eating them as low cal as possible, having some good bread if I happen to on that day, so on), and treating it as inherently different rather than focusing on my diet as a whole makes no difference to me.

    That way of thinking about it also tends to make people think they ate well if they had no "empty calories" and poorly if they had some, even if the latter day was overall better in other ways (hit a protein target, ate lots of vegetables, had more fiber, etc.). I think it's a really simplistic way of thinking about nutrition that might not be bad as a starting point for kids, but when talking to adults and there's no context given I think it's pretty unhelpful, especially if you are talking to people -- as here -- who know about nutrition and may indeed be focused on things like endurance sports.

    There's a spectrum. Cheese isn't "empty,"

    Again, the definition that keeps being referred to from the various "scientific" and gov't sources defines empty calories as "added sugar and solid fat." Pizza is a huge supplier of empty calories according to these sources and, yes, it's because of the cheese. For the most part, foods are not empty calories, they contain empty calories, and yes cheese would be mostly empty calories according to the definition in question. Same with a cherry cobbler which, of course, contains cherries and a few other ingredients that have nutrients.

    (I don't particularly agree with this use of "empty calories," but that's what we are talking about.)
    I don't think anyone is advocating for "empty calories" as a scientific term. It's a useful shorthand in context, and the context isn't all that difficult to understand.

    We are debating how useful it is. I don't find it all that useful when it's easy to be more specific and to better focus on overall context.
    I can eat an 80 calorie orange or the same calories in jelly beans - the jelly beans are empty calories, because oranges contain a plethora of nutrients in addition to calories, and jelly beans contain very few.

    I have carried sports jelly beans (which are largely just jelly beans with some electrolytes that are overpriced) on long runs and a marathon and found them helpful. Carrying an orange wouldn't work as it's difficult and peeling would not be easy for me when running (although an orange would actually taste good if someone handed me one at a stop -- I'm in favor of that!). Saying it's bad to eat the jelly beans in that context, empty calories, is not reasonable, IMO.
    As for your hypothetical person who thinks a good day is one in which no empty calories were consumed regardless of the appropriateness of their diet by any other metric - there's no term which is idiot-proof. A determined idiot can misunderstand and misuse any term.

    Agreed, but why not focus on things more likely to be helpful, like meeting overall nutritional goals and not overeating. The effect is to limit foods that are high cal/low nutrient anyway. People seem to be equating the questioning of the term "empty calorie" with not caring about nutrition, and that's entirely false. (I don't quite remember how this subthread started.)

    I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this in a way that's not rude, but why do you care so much? Perhaps it's not the perfect term. Whooptie. It is helpful for some people in some situations. It doesn't have to be a perfect term to be useful. If you don't find it useful, ignore it.

    How is an obsession with telling others what words are wrong more appropriate than an obsession with telling them what foods are wrong?

    It was talked about up top. Empty calories sounds like "I should never ever have this". Can lead to disordered thinking about foods, failure, ED and whathaveyou. Any evaluation of food that does not take overall diet into account is IMO and many others' opinions, useless at best and counterproductive to dangerous at worst.

    And throwing out things like losing weight on something like The Twinkie Diet doesn't?

    While Moderation is the Key. The reality is that living at a healthy weight/BF on "The Twinkie Diet" or The McDonald's Diet. Is healthier long term than being morbidly obese on lean chicken and Broccoli.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2534737/I-thought-I-going-die-Man-lost-37lbs-eating-McDonalds-three-months-walking-45-minutes-day.html

    Nobody is morbidly obese off chicken, rice and broccoli.

    IF you say so.

    Find one person who is overweight off of only lean meat and dark green veggies.

    You'd need to be eating over 5lbs of chicken a day to even break 1,800 calories.

    You left out the rice...

    He said chicken and broccoli
  • J72FIT
    J72FIT Posts: 5,932 Member
    edited July 2017
    Nobody is morbidly obese off chicken, rice and broccoli.

    IF you say so.[/quote]

    Someone said rice...
  • J72FIT
    J72FIT Posts: 5,932 Member
    All this sugar nonsense has me clearly confused...
  • stealthq
    stealthq Posts: 4,298 Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    nokanjaijo wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    J72FIT wrote: »
    I'm thinking the term "empty calories" was invented by the "clean eaters"...
    It's routinely used in the health care and nutritional fields. For example:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871092/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24200654
    https://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa14/dl/health-status-behaviors.pdf

    There's a recognized, common understanding of what the phrase means - it's basically a short way to talk about foods that add unneeded extra calories but little else. Sometimes it's put in quotation marks. ETA: It's never used when the calories the food supplies are needed or helpful, only when the extra calories are unneeded and possibly detrimental.



    So if I eat gummy bears pre or post workout they don't have empty calories because helpful but if I eat them during a movie they do have empty calories because unneeded?
    They're the same gummy bears...either the calories are empty or not.
    No, they can be unneeded in one situation and needed in another. If you are, say, Michael Phelps in training, you can't possibly get enough calories to stay well nourished unless you eat a lot of high-calorie, low-fiber foods. If you are an average Westerner, you're in a different situation. For you, candy is "empty calories," nutritionally speaking. Similarly, glucose can be a lifesaver for a diabetic in insulin shock or a patient in a coma, and doctors don't refer to it as "empty calories" in those circumstances.

    Sorry if that seems inconsistent to you, but your quarrel is with the doctors and scientists who use the phrase that way.

    If whether or not a calorie is "empty" depends on the circumstances, it seems like it would be more helpful to address the circumstances and help people make informed choices instead of focusing on the foods themselves.

    I think the point is that the calories are empty in both cases. Sometimes all you need are calories. In that situation, empty calories are fine and welcome. If you aren't in need of calories or if you are in need of certain micronutrients, empty calories are a bad idea.

    If you ordered a book and then received an empty box in the mail, that would be bad. If you need to move, you would want an empty box.

    Empty boxes can be good or bad, but I have never once heard somebody say, "It's not an empty box because you have a box and boxes are useful so the fact that you have a box means it's not an empty box."

    I hope I never do, to be honest.

    Your example makes perfect sense, it's just that you usually hear "empty calories" tossed around as something to avoid, where an empty box is just a tool.

    For a VAST majority of people, yes empty calories should be very limited.

    Depends on what you mean by "very limited." Many take that to mean "oh, no, I better not have any."

    I have a little cheese most days. Often in my vegetable omelet in the morning (a little feta makes it even more enjoyable for me), sometimes as a dessert after dinner (I enjoy having an oz of an interesting artisan cheese), sometimes as part of some other meal. The total calories are not huge and, more significantly, I have an overall nutritious and calorie appropriate diet. I understand that the cheese is an accent/indulgence, but don't particularly think it is in a different category than many other things I eat (adding olive oil to vegetables or a salad rather than eating them as low cal as possible, having some good bread if I happen to on that day, so on), and treating it as inherently different rather than focusing on my diet as a whole makes no difference to me.

    That way of thinking about it also tends to make people think they ate well if they had no "empty calories" and poorly if they had some, even if the latter day was overall better in other ways (hit a protein target, ate lots of vegetables, had more fiber, etc.). I think it's a really simplistic way of thinking about nutrition that might not be bad as a starting point for kids, but when talking to adults and there's no context given I think it's pretty unhelpful, especially if you are talking to people -- as here -- who know about nutrition and may indeed be focused on things like endurance sports.

    There's a spectrum. Cheese isn't "empty,"

    Again, the definition that keeps being referred to from the various "scientific" and gov't sources defines empty calories as "added sugar and solid fat." Pizza is a huge supplier of empty calories according to these sources and, yes, it's because of the cheese. For the most part, foods are not empty calories, they contain empty calories, and yes cheese would be mostly empty calories according to the definition in question. Same with a cherry cobbler which, of course, contains cherries and a few other ingredients that have nutrients.

    (I don't particularly agree with this use of "empty calories," but that's what we are talking about.)
    I don't think anyone is advocating for "empty calories" as a scientific term. It's a useful shorthand in context, and the context isn't all that difficult to understand.

    We are debating how useful it is. I don't find it all that useful when it's easy to be more specific and to better focus on overall context.
    I can eat an 80 calorie orange or the same calories in jelly beans - the jelly beans are empty calories, because oranges contain a plethora of nutrients in addition to calories, and jelly beans contain very few.

    I have carried sports jelly beans (which are largely just jelly beans with some electrolytes that are overpriced) on long runs and a marathon and found them helpful. Carrying an orange wouldn't work as it's difficult and peeling would not be easy for me when running (although an orange would actually taste good if someone handed me one at a stop -- I'm in favor of that!). Saying it's bad to eat the jelly beans in that context, empty calories, is not reasonable, IMO.
    As for your hypothetical person who thinks a good day is one in which no empty calories were consumed regardless of the appropriateness of their diet by any other metric - there's no term which is idiot-proof. A determined idiot can misunderstand and misuse any term.

    Agreed, but why not focus on things more likely to be helpful, like meeting overall nutritional goals and not overeating. The effect is to limit foods that are high cal/low nutrient anyway. People seem to be equating the questioning of the term "empty calorie" with not caring about nutrition, and that's entirely false. (I don't quite remember how this subthread started.)

    I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this in a way that's not rude, but why do you care so much? Perhaps it's not the perfect term. Whooptie. It is helpful for some people in some situations. It doesn't have to be a perfect term to be useful. If you don't find it useful, ignore it.

    How is an obsession with telling others what words are wrong more appropriate than an obsession with telling them what foods are wrong?

    It was talked about up top. Empty calories sounds like "I should never ever have this". Can lead to disordered thinking about foods, failure, ED and whathaveyou. Any evaluation of food that does not take overall diet into account is IMO and many others' opinions, useless at best and counterproductive to dangerous at worst.

    And throwing out things like losing weight on something like The Twinkie Diet doesn't?

    While Moderation is the Key. The reality is that living at a healthy weight/BF on "The Twinkie Diet" or The McDonald's Diet. Is healthier long term than being morbidly obese on lean chicken and Broccoli.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2534737/I-thought-I-going-die-Man-lost-37lbs-eating-McDonalds-three-months-walking-45-minutes-day.html

    Nobody is morbidly obese off chicken, rice and broccoli.

    IF you say so.

    Find one person who is overweight off of only lean meat and dark green veggies.

    You'd need to be eating over 5lbs of chicken a day to even break 1,800 calories.

    You're excluding the skin and dark meat in your calculations. That's only ~3.3 lbs of chicken thigh, meat only. Besides, there are quite a few people out there that would be overweight eating less than 1800 cals if not active. Not that it matters.

    This whole argument is rather ridiculous. I can find people that eat that many pounds of paper for heaven's sake - and then food on top of that. Do you really think there's no one that would overeat chicken, rice, and dark green veg if that's what they liked to eat, or felt they had to eat?
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    edited July 2017
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    nokanjaijo wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    J72FIT wrote: »
    I'm thinking the term "empty calories" was invented by the "clean eaters"...
    It's routinely used in the health care and nutritional fields. For example:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871092/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24200654
    https://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa14/dl/health-status-behaviors.pdf

    There's a recognized, common understanding of what the phrase means - it's basically a short way to talk about foods that add unneeded extra calories but little else. Sometimes it's put in quotation marks. ETA: It's never used when the calories the food supplies are needed or helpful, only when the extra calories are unneeded and possibly detrimental.



    So if I eat gummy bears pre or post workout they don't have empty calories because helpful but if I eat them during a movie they do have empty calories because unneeded?
    They're the same gummy bears...either the calories are empty or not.
    No, they can be unneeded in one situation and needed in another. If you are, say, Michael Phelps in training, you can't possibly get enough calories to stay well nourished unless you eat a lot of high-calorie, low-fiber foods. If you are an average Westerner, you're in a different situation. For you, candy is "empty calories," nutritionally speaking. Similarly, glucose can be a lifesaver for a diabetic in insulin shock or a patient in a coma, and doctors don't refer to it as "empty calories" in those circumstances.

    Sorry if that seems inconsistent to you, but your quarrel is with the doctors and scientists who use the phrase that way.

    If whether or not a calorie is "empty" depends on the circumstances, it seems like it would be more helpful to address the circumstances and help people make informed choices instead of focusing on the foods themselves.

    I think the point is that the calories are empty in both cases. Sometimes all you need are calories. In that situation, empty calories are fine and welcome. If you aren't in need of calories or if you are in need of certain micronutrients, empty calories are a bad idea.

    If you ordered a book and then received an empty box in the mail, that would be bad. If you need to move, you would want an empty box.

    Empty boxes can be good or bad, but I have never once heard somebody say, "It's not an empty box because you have a box and boxes are useful so the fact that you have a box means it's not an empty box."

    I hope I never do, to be honest.

    Your example makes perfect sense, it's just that you usually hear "empty calories" tossed around as something to avoid, where an empty box is just a tool.

    For a VAST majority of people, yes empty calories should be very limited.

    Depends on what you mean by "very limited." Many take that to mean "oh, no, I better not have any."

    I have a little cheese most days. Often in my vegetable omelet in the morning (a little feta makes it even more enjoyable for me), sometimes as a dessert after dinner (I enjoy having an oz of an interesting artisan cheese), sometimes as part of some other meal. The total calories are not huge and, more significantly, I have an overall nutritious and calorie appropriate diet. I understand that the cheese is an accent/indulgence, but don't particularly think it is in a different category than many other things I eat (adding olive oil to vegetables or a salad rather than eating them as low cal as possible, having some good bread if I happen to on that day, so on), and treating it as inherently different rather than focusing on my diet as a whole makes no difference to me.

    That way of thinking about it also tends to make people think they ate well if they had no "empty calories" and poorly if they had some, even if the latter day was overall better in other ways (hit a protein target, ate lots of vegetables, had more fiber, etc.). I think it's a really simplistic way of thinking about nutrition that might not be bad as a starting point for kids, but when talking to adults and there's no context given I think it's pretty unhelpful, especially if you are talking to people -- as here -- who know about nutrition and may indeed be focused on things like endurance sports.

    There's a spectrum. Cheese isn't "empty,"

    Again, the definition that keeps being referred to from the various "scientific" and gov't sources defines empty calories as "added sugar and solid fat." Pizza is a huge supplier of empty calories according to these sources and, yes, it's because of the cheese. For the most part, foods are not empty calories, they contain empty calories, and yes cheese would be mostly empty calories according to the definition in question. Same with a cherry cobbler which, of course, contains cherries and a few other ingredients that have nutrients.

    (I don't particularly agree with this use of "empty calories," but that's what we are talking about.)
    I don't think anyone is advocating for "empty calories" as a scientific term. It's a useful shorthand in context, and the context isn't all that difficult to understand.

    We are debating how useful it is. I don't find it all that useful when it's easy to be more specific and to better focus on overall context.
    I can eat an 80 calorie orange or the same calories in jelly beans - the jelly beans are empty calories, because oranges contain a plethora of nutrients in addition to calories, and jelly beans contain very few.

    I have carried sports jelly beans (which are largely just jelly beans with some electrolytes that are overpriced) on long runs and a marathon and found them helpful. Carrying an orange wouldn't work as it's difficult and peeling would not be easy for me when running (although an orange would actually taste good if someone handed me one at a stop -- I'm in favor of that!). Saying it's bad to eat the jelly beans in that context, empty calories, is not reasonable, IMO.
    As for your hypothetical person who thinks a good day is one in which no empty calories were consumed regardless of the appropriateness of their diet by any other metric - there's no term which is idiot-proof. A determined idiot can misunderstand and misuse any term.

    Agreed, but why not focus on things more likely to be helpful, like meeting overall nutritional goals and not overeating. The effect is to limit foods that are high cal/low nutrient anyway. People seem to be equating the questioning of the term "empty calorie" with not caring about nutrition, and that's entirely false. (I don't quite remember how this subthread started.)

    I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this in a way that's not rude, but why do you care so much? Perhaps it's not the perfect term. Whooptie. It is helpful for some people in some situations. It doesn't have to be a perfect term to be useful. If you don't find it useful, ignore it.

    How is an obsession with telling others what words are wrong more appropriate than an obsession with telling them what foods are wrong?

    It was talked about up top. Empty calories sounds like "I should never ever have this". Can lead to disordered thinking about foods, failure, ED and whathaveyou. Any evaluation of food that does not take overall diet into account is IMO and many others' opinions, useless at best and counterproductive to dangerous at worst.

    And throwing out things like losing weight on something like The Twinkie Diet doesn't?

    While Moderation is the Key. The reality is that living at a healthy weight/BF on "The Twinkie Diet" or The McDonald's Diet. Is healthier long term than being morbidly obese on lean chicken and Broccoli.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2534737/I-thought-I-going-die-Man-lost-37lbs-eating-McDonalds-three-months-walking-45-minutes-day.html

    Nobody is morbidly obese off chicken, rice and broccoli.

    IF you say so.

    Find one person who is overweight off of only lean meat and dark green veggies.

    You'd need to be eating over 5lbs of chicken a day to even break 1,800 calories.

    No one is overweight from eating appropriate calories of any foods.

    Yes, it's easier to overeat some foods than others, but I don't think it's necessarily any harder [edit, easier, I mean] to stick to a diet that has NOTHING but lean meat and dark green veggies (which would be too low fat for health, IMO), than it would be to stick to appropriate calories of a more diverse diet.

    That one guy lost 150 lbs or some such eating only potatoes because he found it impossible to overeat a potato only diet. I also would find it impossible to overeat on such a diet. But I'd also find it impossible (absent real health reasons or a lack of other foods) to stick to such a diet.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    nokanjaijo wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    J72FIT wrote: »
    I'm thinking the term "empty calories" was invented by the "clean eaters"...
    It's routinely used in the health care and nutritional fields. For example:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871092/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24200654
    https://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa14/dl/health-status-behaviors.pdf

    There's a recognized, common understanding of what the phrase means - it's basically a short way to talk about foods that add unneeded extra calories but little else. Sometimes it's put in quotation marks. ETA: It's never used when the calories the food supplies are needed or helpful, only when the extra calories are unneeded and possibly detrimental.



    So if I eat gummy bears pre or post workout they don't have empty calories because helpful but if I eat them during a movie they do have empty calories because unneeded?
    They're the same gummy bears...either the calories are empty or not.
    No, they can be unneeded in one situation and needed in another. If you are, say, Michael Phelps in training, you can't possibly get enough calories to stay well nourished unless you eat a lot of high-calorie, low-fiber foods. If you are an average Westerner, you're in a different situation. For you, candy is "empty calories," nutritionally speaking. Similarly, glucose can be a lifesaver for a diabetic in insulin shock or a patient in a coma, and doctors don't refer to it as "empty calories" in those circumstances.

    Sorry if that seems inconsistent to you, but your quarrel is with the doctors and scientists who use the phrase that way.

    If whether or not a calorie is "empty" depends on the circumstances, it seems like it would be more helpful to address the circumstances and help people make informed choices instead of focusing on the foods themselves.

    I think the point is that the calories are empty in both cases. Sometimes all you need are calories. In that situation, empty calories are fine and welcome. If you aren't in need of calories or if you are in need of certain micronutrients, empty calories are a bad idea.

    If you ordered a book and then received an empty box in the mail, that would be bad. If you need to move, you would want an empty box.

    Empty boxes can be good or bad, but I have never once heard somebody say, "It's not an empty box because you have a box and boxes are useful so the fact that you have a box means it's not an empty box."

    I hope I never do, to be honest.

    Your example makes perfect sense, it's just that you usually hear "empty calories" tossed around as something to avoid, where an empty box is just a tool.

    For a VAST majority of people, yes empty calories should be very limited.

    Depends on what you mean by "very limited." Many take that to mean "oh, no, I better not have any."

    I have a little cheese most days. Often in my vegetable omelet in the morning (a little feta makes it even more enjoyable for me), sometimes as a dessert after dinner (I enjoy having an oz of an interesting artisan cheese), sometimes as part of some other meal. The total calories are not huge and, more significantly, I have an overall nutritious and calorie appropriate diet. I understand that the cheese is an accent/indulgence, but don't particularly think it is in a different category than many other things I eat (adding olive oil to vegetables or a salad rather than eating them as low cal as possible, having some good bread if I happen to on that day, so on), and treating it as inherently different rather than focusing on my diet as a whole makes no difference to me.

    That way of thinking about it also tends to make people think they ate well if they had no "empty calories" and poorly if they had some, even if the latter day was overall better in other ways (hit a protein target, ate lots of vegetables, had more fiber, etc.). I think it's a really simplistic way of thinking about nutrition that might not be bad as a starting point for kids, but when talking to adults and there's no context given I think it's pretty unhelpful, especially if you are talking to people -- as here -- who know about nutrition and may indeed be focused on things like endurance sports.

    There's a spectrum. Cheese isn't "empty,"

    Again, the definition that keeps being referred to from the various "scientific" and gov't sources defines empty calories as "added sugar and solid fat." Pizza is a huge supplier of empty calories according to these sources and, yes, it's because of the cheese. For the most part, foods are not empty calories, they contain empty calories, and yes cheese would be mostly empty calories according to the definition in question. Same with a cherry cobbler which, of course, contains cherries and a few other ingredients that have nutrients.

    (I don't particularly agree with this use of "empty calories," but that's what we are talking about.)
    I don't think anyone is advocating for "empty calories" as a scientific term. It's a useful shorthand in context, and the context isn't all that difficult to understand.

    We are debating how useful it is. I don't find it all that useful when it's easy to be more specific and to better focus on overall context.
    I can eat an 80 calorie orange or the same calories in jelly beans - the jelly beans are empty calories, because oranges contain a plethora of nutrients in addition to calories, and jelly beans contain very few.

    I have carried sports jelly beans (which are largely just jelly beans with some electrolytes that are overpriced) on long runs and a marathon and found them helpful. Carrying an orange wouldn't work as it's difficult and peeling would not be easy for me when running (although an orange would actually taste good if someone handed me one at a stop -- I'm in favor of that!). Saying it's bad to eat the jelly beans in that context, empty calories, is not reasonable, IMO.
    As for your hypothetical person who thinks a good day is one in which no empty calories were consumed regardless of the appropriateness of their diet by any other metric - there's no term which is idiot-proof. A determined idiot can misunderstand and misuse any term.

    Agreed, but why not focus on things more likely to be helpful, like meeting overall nutritional goals and not overeating. The effect is to limit foods that are high cal/low nutrient anyway. People seem to be equating the questioning of the term "empty calorie" with not caring about nutrition, and that's entirely false. (I don't quite remember how this subthread started.)

    I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this in a way that's not rude, but why do you care so much? Perhaps it's not the perfect term. Whooptie. It is helpful for some people in some situations. It doesn't have to be a perfect term to be useful. If you don't find it useful, ignore it.

    How is an obsession with telling others what words are wrong more appropriate than an obsession with telling them what foods are wrong?

    It was talked about up top. Empty calories sounds like "I should never ever have this". Can lead to disordered thinking about foods, failure, ED and whathaveyou. Any evaluation of food that does not take overall diet into account is IMO and many others' opinions, useless at best and counterproductive to dangerous at worst.

    And throwing out things like losing weight on something like The Twinkie Diet doesn't?

    While Moderation is the Key. The reality is that living at a healthy weight/BF on "The Twinkie Diet" or The McDonald's Diet. Is healthier long term than being morbidly obese on lean chicken and Broccoli.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2534737/I-thought-I-going-die-Man-lost-37lbs-eating-McDonalds-three-months-walking-45-minutes-day.html

    Nobody is morbidly obese off chicken, rice and broccoli.

    IF you say so.

    Find one person who is overweight off of only lean meat and dark green veggies.

    You'd need to be eating over 5lbs of chicken a day to even break 1,800 calories.

    Is anybody eating only lean meat and dark green vegetables?

    What a ridiculous challenge.
  • estherdragonbat
    estherdragonbat Posts: 5,285 Member
    Plus, nobody's considering what those foods might be prepared with. I had a bit of an "Oh, kitten!" moment when I was planning to free-pour a bottled stir-fry sauce into a 12"-skillet's worth of sauteed veggies and imitation chicken strips and took a gander at the calories. A couple of tablespoons of oil, a dollop of butter on the broccoli... the calories can rise quickly.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    Packerjohn wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    nokanjaijo wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    Carlos_421 wrote: »
    dfwesq wrote: »
    J72FIT wrote: »
    I'm thinking the term "empty calories" was invented by the "clean eaters"...
    It's routinely used in the health care and nutritional fields. For example:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871092/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24200654
    https://mchb.hrsa.gov/chusa14/dl/health-status-behaviors.pdf

    There's a recognized, common understanding of what the phrase means - it's basically a short way to talk about foods that add unneeded extra calories but little else. Sometimes it's put in quotation marks. ETA: It's never used when the calories the food supplies are needed or helpful, only when the extra calories are unneeded and possibly detrimental.



    So if I eat gummy bears pre or post workout they don't have empty calories because helpful but if I eat them during a movie they do have empty calories because unneeded?
    They're the same gummy bears...either the calories are empty or not.
    No, they can be unneeded in one situation and needed in another. If you are, say, Michael Phelps in training, you can't possibly get enough calories to stay well nourished unless you eat a lot of high-calorie, low-fiber foods. If you are an average Westerner, you're in a different situation. For you, candy is "empty calories," nutritionally speaking. Similarly, glucose can be a lifesaver for a diabetic in insulin shock or a patient in a coma, and doctors don't refer to it as "empty calories" in those circumstances.

    Sorry if that seems inconsistent to you, but your quarrel is with the doctors and scientists who use the phrase that way.

    If whether or not a calorie is "empty" depends on the circumstances, it seems like it would be more helpful to address the circumstances and help people make informed choices instead of focusing on the foods themselves.

    I think the point is that the calories are empty in both cases. Sometimes all you need are calories. In that situation, empty calories are fine and welcome. If you aren't in need of calories or if you are in need of certain micronutrients, empty calories are a bad idea.

    If you ordered a book and then received an empty box in the mail, that would be bad. If you need to move, you would want an empty box.

    Empty boxes can be good or bad, but I have never once heard somebody say, "It's not an empty box because you have a box and boxes are useful so the fact that you have a box means it's not an empty box."

    I hope I never do, to be honest.

    Your example makes perfect sense, it's just that you usually hear "empty calories" tossed around as something to avoid, where an empty box is just a tool.

    For a VAST majority of people, yes empty calories should be very limited.

    Depends on what you mean by "very limited." Many take that to mean "oh, no, I better not have any."

    I have a little cheese most days. Often in my vegetable omelet in the morning (a little feta makes it even more enjoyable for me), sometimes as a dessert after dinner (I enjoy having an oz of an interesting artisan cheese), sometimes as part of some other meal. The total calories are not huge and, more significantly, I have an overall nutritious and calorie appropriate diet. I understand that the cheese is an accent/indulgence, but don't particularly think it is in a different category than many other things I eat (adding olive oil to vegetables or a salad rather than eating them as low cal as possible, having some good bread if I happen to on that day, so on), and treating it as inherently different rather than focusing on my diet as a whole makes no difference to me.

    That way of thinking about it also tends to make people think they ate well if they had no "empty calories" and poorly if they had some, even if the latter day was overall better in other ways (hit a protein target, ate lots of vegetables, had more fiber, etc.). I think it's a really simplistic way of thinking about nutrition that might not be bad as a starting point for kids, but when talking to adults and there's no context given I think it's pretty unhelpful, especially if you are talking to people -- as here -- who know about nutrition and may indeed be focused on things like endurance sports.

    There's a spectrum. Cheese isn't "empty,"

    Again, the definition that keeps being referred to from the various "scientific" and gov't sources defines empty calories as "added sugar and solid fat." Pizza is a huge supplier of empty calories according to these sources and, yes, it's because of the cheese. For the most part, foods are not empty calories, they contain empty calories, and yes cheese would be mostly empty calories according to the definition in question. Same with a cherry cobbler which, of course, contains cherries and a few other ingredients that have nutrients.

    (I don't particularly agree with this use of "empty calories," but that's what we are talking about.)
    I don't think anyone is advocating for "empty calories" as a scientific term. It's a useful shorthand in context, and the context isn't all that difficult to understand.

    We are debating how useful it is. I don't find it all that useful when it's easy to be more specific and to better focus on overall context.
    I can eat an 80 calorie orange or the same calories in jelly beans - the jelly beans are empty calories, because oranges contain a plethora of nutrients in addition to calories, and jelly beans contain very few.

    I have carried sports jelly beans (which are largely just jelly beans with some electrolytes that are overpriced) on long runs and a marathon and found them helpful. Carrying an orange wouldn't work as it's difficult and peeling would not be easy for me when running (although an orange would actually taste good if someone handed me one at a stop -- I'm in favor of that!). Saying it's bad to eat the jelly beans in that context, empty calories, is not reasonable, IMO.
    As for your hypothetical person who thinks a good day is one in which no empty calories were consumed regardless of the appropriateness of their diet by any other metric - there's no term which is idiot-proof. A determined idiot can misunderstand and misuse any term.

    Agreed, but why not focus on things more likely to be helpful, like meeting overall nutritional goals and not overeating. The effect is to limit foods that are high cal/low nutrient anyway. People seem to be equating the questioning of the term "empty calorie" with not caring about nutrition, and that's entirely false. (I don't quite remember how this subthread started.)

    I'm trying to figure out how to phrase this in a way that's not rude, but why do you care so much? Perhaps it's not the perfect term. Whooptie. It is helpful for some people in some situations. It doesn't have to be a perfect term to be useful. If you don't find it useful, ignore it.

    How is an obsession with telling others what words are wrong more appropriate than an obsession with telling them what foods are wrong?

    It was talked about up top. Empty calories sounds like "I should never ever have this". Can lead to disordered thinking about foods, failure, ED and whathaveyou. Any evaluation of food that does not take overall diet into account is IMO and many others' opinions, useless at best and counterproductive to dangerous at worst.

    And throwing out things like losing weight on something like The Twinkie Diet doesn't?

    While Moderation is the Key. The reality is that living at a healthy weight/BF on "The Twinkie Diet" or The McDonald's Diet. Is healthier long term than being morbidly obese on lean chicken and Broccoli.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2534737/I-thought-I-going-die-Man-lost-37lbs-eating-McDonalds-three-months-walking-45-minutes-day.html

    Nobody is morbidly obese off chicken, rice and broccoli.

    IF you say so.

    Find one person who is overweight off of only lean meat and dark green veggies.

    You'd need to be eating over 5lbs of chicken a day to even break 1,800 calories.

    Is anybody eating only lean meat and dark green vegetables?

    What a ridiculous challenge.

    Just a response to someone else saying they'd rather be in a healthy weight on the twinkie diet than morbidly obese from eating chicken and broccoli. I responded by arguing I don't believe anyone to be morbidly obese off chicken and broccoli.

    The general concept is that all kinds of people get overweight, including people who cook their own meals, eat vegetables, or eat whole foods.

    Someone who maintains a healthy body weight while eating McDonald's is more likely to have better health results than someone who is obese while eating [collection of foods that are currently touted for weight loss].