What Are Discretionary Calories?


Quick Answer

Oregon State University explains that discretionary calories are nutritionally empty calories. They come from foods that have a high amount of calories but a low amount of vitamins and minerals.

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Full Answer

According to Oregon State University, the types of foods that have discretionary calories typically contain added sugars and solid fats. Examples of these foods include sausages, biscuits, sweetened cereal, salad dressing, butter, alcohol, candy, soda and other junk foods.

The University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County suggests that discretionary calories should total between 100 to 300 calories per day. With careful nutritional planning, discretionary calories can be included in a healthy diet.

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