A quick Google search of negative calorie foods will bring up lists of foods considered negative calorie and articles suggesting we eat them for weight loss. What does this really mean and is it worth it? The term is a head scratcher for sure, but upon further investigation, it actually makes some sense, even if it’s theoretical. The idea is that some fruits and non-starchy vegetables are low in calories but require more energy to digest than the calories in the food. As an example, celery is mostly water and fiber making it low calorie, but it takes more to digest, resulting in a calorie deficit. Often times restricted diets will encourage eating a diet rich in negative calorie foods. Think of it as burning calories simply by eating.
While fruits and veggies are healthy for you and any well-rounded diet ought to contain an abundant supply of fruits and veggies, it’s not likely the ones encouraged on negative calorie diets will provide the proper nutrition needed to lose weight and get fit. It’s better to eat foods that will give you more energy and the needed nutrition as well as helping you to trim inches from your waist.
One study examined a group of women with slowing metabolisms. They measured each participants’ metabolism, then had each of them eat breakfast. They monitored how as they absorbed the nutrients, their metabolism increased. Then they switched everyone to a low-fat plant based diet, no meat, no dairy, and no eggs. Each participant came back 14 weeks later and had their after meal metabolism measured again. They found their metabolism had jumped 16%. Factoring that in for 3 meals a day and it accumulates, giving them a weight control edge. Is this negative calories? It’s more like calorie subtraction.
All foods have calories; some give you the nutrients you need to function properly while others just become a unit of heat, lost to the atmosphere.