Empty calories

empty calorie

a calorie whose source has little or no nutritional value: Junk food has only empty calories.

1965–70, Americanism

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Main Entry:  empty calories
Part of Speech:  n pl
Definition:  calories obtained from food having no nutrients
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

empty calories

Food that has little or no nutritional value. For example, Snacking on beer and potato chips makes for a lot of empty calories. [1960s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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