Negative Calorie Diet
The concept of a food with negative calories seems like a joke.
Many fad diets are about foods with ‘magical’ properties, and many offer only very temporary weight loss solutions – and who can maintain a monotonous diet of only one or two foods?
There are no foods with a negative calorie value. However it can be possible to obtain a ‘negative’ calorie effect.
Negative Calorie Effect
Fibrous complex carbohydrates are generally good for us. The American Heart Association recommends that 55% of our daily calories should come from complex carbohydrates.
Fiber (in the correct amounts) is good for the digestive process, helping food to be processed and eliminated efficiently (it keeps us running smoothly!) – and can prevent gastro-intestinal ailments.
What is a fibrous complex carbohydrate? Green vegetables.
Green vegetables are low in calories. You can eat a lot of them without getting fat – yet at the same time the fibrous content can ‘fill you up’. There are some green vegetables in particular that are very low in calories.
Every food requires some energy in order to digest it (called the thermic effect of food). Some green vegetables may actually have some of their calories burnt up just to digest them. This is the “negative calorie” process.
Example Green Vegetables
- Zucchini (courgette)
Proponents of the Negative Calorie Diet suggest that eating a stick of celery (5 calories) will burn up 95 calories.
This is pure speculation and lacks scientific basis.
Weight Loss From Negative Calorie Diet
It is likely that all weight loss on the Negative Calorie Diet comes simply from consuming low calories. It is very unlikely that any diet consisting of a certain group of foods will have any ‘magical’ properties.
Fibrous vegetables are filling, very nutritious yet low in calories – any diet consisting of large portions of vegetables will aid in weight loss.
To benefit from negative calorie foods, simply include a lot of them in your reduced calorie diet.
- Barnard, N. D., Brown, J., & Bates, D. R. (1999). Foods that Cause You to Lose Weight: The Negative Calorie Effect. Whole Care, an Avon Book. link
- Drewnowski, A. (2005). Concept of a nutritious food: toward a nutrient density score. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 82(4), 721-732. link