Health & Spirit

Make sure your calories provide high-octane fuel

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In 1977, singer Jackson Browne landed a hit with "Runnin' on Empty." The song is about a musician's life on the road and the toll it takes. But, Browne explained, the idea came from the fact that many days he would drive to the recording studio with his car's gas gauge on almost-empty, since his destination was just a few blocks away.

If you fill your tank with empty calories, you're also courting disaster. You may think you're running on fuel, but you're running on junk that's worse for you (and your engine) than unhealthy fumes.

So what's an empty calorie? Well, cola for one. And the average American drinks 20 ounces a day -- the equivalent of 77,380 empty calories a year from nothing but added sugars and fake flavorings! French fries are empty calories, too; they account for most of the 47 pounds of potatoes each American eats annually. Saturated fats and trans fats, processed grains, all are high-calorie, low-octane. All they fuel is inflammation, chronic disease and weight gain.

If you want to provide your body with the best fuel, do it in the form of healthy calories. If you don't, sooner or later all that low-grade gas will make your engine sluggish. Your best bet: Nine servings of fruits and veggies daily; you'll get fiber and loads of minerals, vitamins and micronutrients. Drink water, coffee and tea for beverages (unsweetened). Stick with lean proteins. That'll fuel your tank for more brainpower, a better sex life and a younger RealAge!


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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