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What are examples of foods that have lots of bulk and few calories so I can feel filled up but don’t get so many calories? Particularly “Empty calories”!

Does drinking lots of water work? Is psyllium husk good?

What’s wrong with lots of salty items if you don’t have high blood pressure? –Chris C. 


First, Chris, let me clarify that “empty calories” refers to food with energy but little nutrients, like candy. What you are searching for is food that’s low-calorie and high-volume, thus low energy density. Most of the volume is usually from water or air; fiber helps too. Nutrients still abound in foods like bell peppers, broth, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, grapefruit, lettuce, mushrooms, onion, puffed wheat/rice, and watermelon.

Second, drinking lots of water is great! Helps to fill you up, curb hunger and keep metabolism efficient. Lots of water would be a few quarts or liters per day. Tons of water — like 2 gallons a day — would flush out vital minerals such as electrolytes from your system. Water is a preferred fluid versus diet sodas which contain artificial sweeteners. Plain tea or coffee are good beverages too.

Third, psyllium husk is a soluble fiber supplement acting as a bulk-forming laxative or adjunct therapy in lowering cholesterol. It is calorie-free, but that doesn’t really translate to weight loss since it’s a supplement added to foods, not replacing caloric foods.

It’s best to get your fiber from foods. Click HERE to find out how much you need.

Lastly, salty items are generally more processed, taking away from the full nutritional value of their natural state. For example, potassium content is diminished with processing. You need more potassium to help hydrate your cells for proper functioning whereas the sodium draws water into the space between cells where it contributes to bloat and puffiness.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition? Ask our dietitian by submitting your question to or simply ask it in the COMMENTS section below.

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Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.



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