Are you counting calories? It's a method of weight loss that may not work for everybody, but does work for some. Even if you're not counting calories, however, it's good practice to steer clear of empty calories and consume instead low- or even zero-calorie foods. Just because you may not be trying to lose weight doesn't mean you shouldn't be taking care of your gut by making better food and drink choices.
Empty calories, explains ChooseMyPlate.gov — a website developed and maintained by the United States Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition — are calories from solid fats and/or added sugars. They are considered "empty" because they have few or no nutrients.
Solid fats are so named because they are solid at room temperature. They include food such as butter, beef fat and shortening. Some solid fats are found naturally in foods, while others are added to foods when they are processed or prepared. Added sugars include sugars and syrups and are added when foods or beverages are processed or prepared.
Skip the soda and the bag of potato chips, and check out this handy guide to zero-calorie foods from YourWeightLossAid.com. It includes plenty of fruits and vegetables that will keep you feeling fuller so you have an easier time coping with those wicked cravings. And, as the fun facts in the inforgraphic point out, there are other benefits besides weight loss that result from reducing your calorie intake even by just 100, including cutting the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, reducing the risk of heart disease and easing joint pain.