Talk:Empty calorie

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The previous wording was "Empty calorie describes a calorie with little or no marked nutritional value, typically from processed carbohydrates and/or fats." As the article goes on to point out, this is a contradiction since its very caloric value gives these "empty calories" the same nutritional value as any other calories,--rather the phrase refers to the lack of accompanying micronutrients, fiber, complex carbohydrates, etc. typical of processed and refined foods. NTK 19:19, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

This article says that white bread and white rice are high in "empty calories", but in the U.S. at least, both of these are almost always fortified with vitamins and minerals. Therefore, they can't be empty calories.

Incorrect. Fortification is an afterthought that does not come even remotely close to restoring the nutrients lost (at least in the case of white flour). Though it is not a source that could be cited in the main article, this page has some pretty interesting numbers taken from the USDA. --Warrior-Poet 21:33, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Wine and beer also contain nutrients. Granted, not a huge amount, but both of them, in moderation, can be a healthy part of a person's diet. 02:14, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

The phrase 'empty calories' seems particularly uninformative and not based on sound science. Is the claim that the health risk is that 'empty calories' taste so good and are so convenient that it encourages overeating and resultant obesity? That seems plausible. Or is the claim that 'empty calorie' diets will result in poor health due to lack of vitamins, minerals, etc? Is there any evidence of of the latter argument? And couldn't a simple daily vitamin remove any risk of that? Scotchex 18:44, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

I think you are both missing the point of the article. Nowhere does it assert that the foods listed here cannot be a healthy part of a person's diet - although that is a rather tenuous argument for many of the foods listed here. Nor does it assert that one cannot take vitamin supplements and make up for what empty calorie foods cannot provide. Those are separate arguments to be handled in another article. The article asserts that a) Dietitians consider some foods to be "empty calorie" foods on the basis of poor nutritional content and b) that empty calorie foods can lead to malnutrition (the reasons for this are somewhat obvious, though I suppose that direct evidence to support this claim would be to the benefit of the article). The article also states that dietitians recommend nutrient-dense foods over the "empty (or near empty) calorie" foods listed, which does not strike me as something that

needs to be further supported either. That readers may take exception to their favorite foods being dubbed "empty" in no way undermines the legitimacy or relevance of the article. --Warrior-Poet 21:33, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Where ELSE would you get calories from than carbohydrates and fats? We don't utilize any other hydrocarbon for energy unless we're deprived of those two.

Open Source hey —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:01, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Misinformation - It is unfortunate that the term "empty calories" has received widespread use, or even use at all. It is typical popularized bad science. To the uninformed "empty" sounds as if the calories will have no impact. Calories are calories. The term "low quality calories" or something similar would be more accurate. (Please don't assume the excuse that the use of "empty calories" is accepted and widespread. Disseminating misinformation simply because of popular use is not what Wikipedia is about. Wikipedia is an opportunity to elucidate such misapprehensions.) The article should stress that the danger is that these calories can be consumed in_addition_to normal caloric food intake, resulting in an intake of an excessive number of calories. The issue of "empty calories" replacing "good" calories with subsequent loss of vitamins/minerals/etc could be made more clear. We should also state that one can live perfectly normally on what are termed "empty calories", provided_that_there_is_adequate_dietary_supplementation_with_vitamins_minerals_fiber_and_amino_acids. It would be most accurate to say that the only "empty calorie" substances in a typical diet are fiber and water.

It should also state that watching and limiting _all_ forms of calories is important for sedentary individuals. Overeating even "good" calories is deleterious to health. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:00, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

I think "empty calories" is a popular term used for both food with high glycemic index and for food that contains very little or no protein. But whether I'm right or wrong, this article needs to either be more specific, or be deleted.


Although I never put the move tag on this page, and the above discussion doesn't appear to be about the move, so I'll create the discussion here. Personally, I'd oppose a move to junk food because empty calories are dealt with more on a nutritional side, rather than an over-all on junk food. KiloT 19:01, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

I concur with this argue that empty calorie should not be moved. —Preceding unsigned comment added by RobDBuck (talkcontribs) 23:48, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

I removed the merge tag. Cburnett (talk) 02:42, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Bad bad article[edit]

This article is just a load of nonsense, scientific sounding but not real science. Any food that provides energy has nutritional value, so this phrase "a measure of the digestible energy present in high-energy foods with little nutritional value" is nonsense. It is pseudo science invented by faddy nutritionists and should be stated as such. Hzh (talk) 23:13, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

This article is indeed utter rubbish. A calorie is a measure of energy content, it can't ever contain anything or be full or empty. Anyway, even a bucket of pure saturated fat has nutritional value. A cup of white sugar has nutritional value. Unfortunately I can't yet find a good reference to insert under "controversy".

If someone was marooned on a desert island with only water and they found a stash of honey and animal fat, I think they would find these empty calories pretty nutritious. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:46, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

The quote starting "Refined sugar is lethal when ingested by humans..." from Sugar Blues is an extreem statement that is not Wikipedia appropriate at all. No doubt overconsumption of sugar is bad for long term health. But this statement is hyperbole and from a secondary 'pop science' source. Statements about the nutritional risks of low quality calorie consumption should be made from academic (or government) medical review articles or drawn from meta studies from a credible source. I will remove this quote in time if there are no strong objections. Fincle (talk) 05:28, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

The quote sounds extreme, presented as it is. It suggests that the context should at least be explored, which shouldn't be that difficult, since the source is a well-known and controversial book. As for sources for nutritional risk of empty calories, I disagree that they should be limited to "academic (or government) medical review articles or drawn from meta studies from a credible source," any quality reliable source can be considered, depending on what information is being used and how. --Tsavage (talk) 10:49, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
If its sounds extreme that's a pretty bad start. Controversial books are not really a great primary source for an encyclopaedic entry and the fact that it is well known is not a measure of its usefulness. The whole point of relying on academic or government published results is that they are typically peer reviewed: this raises the standards of scientific work by creating pressure for it to be honest and verifiable. Remember it really does have to be scientific if its going to make some claim of fact of some medical nature. Someone who published a non-peer reviewed book is not subject to the same scrutiny before it goes to print. Judgements about what is quality and reliable can be pretty subjective, unless reviewed by an expert wiki author. It can be bad practice to leave that to wiki authour/s to make that ultimate judgement. People go to wikipedia because of its reputation as a great repository of human knowledge. As editors we have a duty of care to ensure that that base of knowledge has pedigree and provenience to good primary sources. Best practice is to go back to originating studies and worlds-best scientific work: this means peer reviewed and without clear conflict of interest. Fincle (talk) 08:51, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
Since I seem to be the only other one commenting here at the moment after a few days, I agree that the Sugar Blues section should be removed, the source doesn't seem sufficiently solid for the quote in the context it's presented in, and it doesn't look like anyone is going to step in and make any improvements. Thanks for going through the process, it really is a positive thing to do that, even on a quiet page!
As for the whole sources/experts thing, of course, I believe we should use sources of the highest quality, and I also think they should be accessible for verification by any reasonably well-educated English-speaking person. The question of Wikipedia experts is troublesome, because we are all anonymous editors of equal standing in all respects. So experts can be extremely helpful and necessary, in discussions and working out ways to make proper use of technical source material and to satisfy accessible verifiability, but I don't believe we can or should have our anonymous self-claimed experts synthesizing results on a technical level and publishing their synthesis as "expert summary" (and, arguably, perhaps, this does happen). Anyhow, there are tons of editors to argue this into the ground, we needn't get into it here. Let common sense rule! --Tsavage (talk) 22:27, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

Refer to François Magendie to see where the science originated, and note that Sugar Blues identifies this source.Rgdboer (talk) 22:19, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

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