Ditching empty calories has major health benefits

ORLANDO, Fla. – Americans are consuming 83 more calories per day from caloric sweeteners than they did in 1977, according to researchers from the University of North Carolina. That’s 2,490 calories per month.

Science has proven that reducing your calorie intake has major benefits.

“Women who kept their weight at a normal level had better survival from breast cancer or survival overall,” said Dr. Anne McTiernan, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

One study has even shown reduced calories could prevent cancer.

“Any of the lifestyle changes that people could make relevant to breast cancer are really important for overall health,” McTiernan said.

So how can you ditch the empty calories in your diet?

The worst offenders are anything with lots of sugar or fat. The biggest contributors to sugar in Americans’ diets aren’t from foods we eat, but from sodas and fruit drinks. There are nine teaspoons of sugar per 12-ounce serving of soda, and 12 teaspoons in a fruit drink.

Baked goods, sweetened coffee and tea also drive up the sugar intake and foods high in fat and oil like most fast foods, potato chips, popcorn and even crackers pack wasted calories.

You can avoid drinking empty calories by sticking to water, milk or unsweetened coffee and tea.

You can also eat less fast food or make better choices by ordering bean burritos, vegetable pizza or grilled chicken instead of fried fatty meats.