What are Negative Calories?

I first read the term “negative calorie” when I was researching a Pro-Anorexia website. These websites have listed these negative calorie foods for years. Recently, the idea of negative calories have hit the mainstream diet crowd. There is even a “Negative Calorie Diet.” With all this hype, is there such a thing as a negative calorie food? Can eating these foods cause you to lose weight? I will explore these and other issues in this article.

What is a negative calorie food?

The term “negative calories” seems to be causing some confusion among consumers. The phrase “negative calorie” implies that there are foods which possess no calories at all. This is not true. All food contains some energy (calories) because they contain a certain amount of carbohydrate, protein or fat either alone or in varying amounts, all of which provide some energy. Some foods contain very little calories, and some foods list 0 calories on their nutrition label. The FDA only requires that companies list calorie count if the number is over 5 calories.

The phrase “negative calorie” refers to foods which contain so few calories that the body uses more energy to digest and absorb the energy and nutrients. In other words, when you eat these foods, you burn more calories in the digestion process than you actually absorb. If you eat these foods, you will create a “negative balance” of calories, which will lead to weight loss, according to proponents of the diet.

Negative Calorie Diet

There is now an official Negative Calorie Diet. You can find the details, as well as the book, at www.negativecaloriediet.com. The website explains much of the same information as I have about negative calories. According to the site, you can lose up to 14 pounds in 7 days by following their diet of negative calorie foods. While I have not tried the negative calorie diet, I doubt this is an accurate promise, at least not without doing exercise and taking steps toward weight-loss.

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Is this “Negative Calorie” theory legitimate?

Two important questions to ask are, “can you really lose weight by eating negative calorie foods? and do these foods even exist?” Well, the answer to these questions is still being debated.

Scientists still have difficulty calculating the precise energy cost of digesting and absorbing various foods. This makes it hard to prove or disprove the negative calorie theory. Many scientists and diet experts do believe the theory to be incorrect. It is certainly unlikely that a person can safely lose the amount of weight the negative calorie diet website and book suggests.

Negative Calorie Foods:

Here is a list of some negative calorie foods, according to www.weightlossforall.com:

Vegetables:
Asparagus Fennel
Aubergine Gourd
Broccoli Leek
Cabbage Lettuce
Carrots Peppers
Cauliflower Radish
Celery Spinach
Chicory Tomato
Cress Turnip
Cucumber

Fruits:
Apricot Cantaloupe
Blackberry Peaches
Blackcurrant Plums
Clementines Raspberry
Grapefruit Strawberry
Guava Tangerine
Honeydew Melon Watermelon
Lemon Mandarin orange

As you can see, this list includes almost all fruits and vegetables, minus the very starchy ones. One can see how eating a diet primarily of these foods could lead to weight loss. This is not a very healthy or long-lasting way to diet, though. Any diet rich in fruits, vegetables, as well as protein and whole grains can lead to a healthier, more energized self.

Sources:

Negative Calorie Diet
www.negativecaloriediet.com

Weigh Loss For All
www.weightlossforall.com

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