Sugary and fatty food has been under negative light since forever. From obesity to liver-related issues, several studies have found various side-effects of consumption of food filled with empty calories. For the unversed, the term empty calorie is related to foods and beverages that are rich in sugar, fats and oils, with little or no nutrients in them. A new study in this regard has found that more than 25 percent of the calories consumed by children and teens can be considered as empty calories and come from foods such as soft drinks, fruit drinks, cookies, pizza and ice cream. It also found that one-third of a child's daily diet includes empty calories in the form of junk food. The findings were presented at Nutrition 2020 Live Online Virtual Conference.
The researchers used data from the US Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to analyse the diet trend of children and adolescents, aged between to two and 18 years. They found that older children tended to consume more calories in form of soft drinks, whereas the younger ones preferred fruits drinks and flavoured milk. However, with increasing age, the sources of empty calories shifted from beverages to fatty foods such as pizza and bakery products.
As per the lead author of the study Edwina Wambogo, the findings of the study suggested a need of further research on the eating habits of children and adolescents. He also advised the parents to introduce new and healthy forms of food in a child's diet from an early age.