“You’ve undoubtedly heard the term “empty calories.” This expression is derived from the concept that a variety of foods prevalent in the American diet are high in calories but low in nutrients. These same energy-rich, nutrient-poor foods are associated with a myriad of health conditions from overweight and obesity to other diet-related chronic diseases.
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans asserts nutritional needs should be met with foods and beverages that are the exact opposite of “empty calories”—specifically nutrient-dense foods and beverages. Nutrient-dense foods and beverages provide vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting components with no or little added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium.”
- Why is nutrient density important?
- Which foods are nutrient dense?
- What is the nutritional impact of how and where foods are prepared?
- Simple substitutions for a more nutrient-dense diet