a calorie whose source has little or no nutritional value: Junk food has only empty calories.
Grande, Venti, And Trenta: What Do The Starbucks Names Literally Mean?When you reflect on all the symbols, gestures, and phrases that bombard your everyday existence, you may find a panoply of simple words that are missing a definition. Case in point: how many times have you or a friend said “I’d like a venti latte” without pausing to consider what venti actually means? First of all, here are the size options: tall (12 ounces), grande (16), …
Origin of empty calorie
An Americanism dating back to 1965–70
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Idioms and Phrases with 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® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.