Negative Calorie Diet

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

the-negative-calorie-dietThe 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

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • 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
 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: January 30, 2015. Disclaimer


  1. guywitharms

    By the way “guywithabs”, we all have abs, stupid.

  2. Kimmy

    I Think That The “Neqative Calories” Does Work. I’ve Been Eating Fruits More For The Past Three Months And I’ve Dropped Almost 15lbs.! That Miqht Not Sound Like Alot To You but For Me Its Awsome.!!(: My Eatinq Habbits Didnt Really Chanqe At First But The More I Eat Fruits The Fuller I Get And Sometimes An Entire Meal Is Too Much For Me Too Eat. I Can Get Full Off A Hot N Spicey And Medium Fries From Mc Donalds…Thats Not Much But Thats Alot To Me. And Plus Fruits And Veggies Are Hiqh In Fiber So Duhh Of Course Your Gonna Lose Somethinq.!

  3. Bethania

    i wanna try this diet xcept add lean meats, lo-fat dairy, and whole grains with lots of water and a vitamin supplement. Exercise 2!

  4. your mom

    wow, u guys are angry

  5. Angela

    Well, “GUY WITH ABS” I don’t believe you, there is no picture… you’re probably fat as hell.

  6. Angela

    Well, ERIN, I am 18 years old, and just to stick up for the 15 year olds, we haven’t played with barbies and G.I. Joes in like, 10 years… if not longer, so why don’t you shut your fat ass up because obviously you don’t know what you’re talking about… and you really shouldn’t be giving “advise” to people either, because you can’t even correctly spell “advice”. But nice try… you should probably take a spelling class… 🙂

  7. tuhok

    A doctor once told me “If you eat a ton of celery, you will weigh a ton.” The same is to be said about muscle weighing more than fat. A pound is a pound is a pound. The difference is that muscle is more condensed and is in a smaller mass for the same amount of weight, therefore you are smaller if you have more muscle than fat. Most negative calorie foods are natural, good for you and will promote weight loss, but balance and moderation of all food groups is key if you expect to stay on any food plan. So eat negative calorie foods, just not exclusively or the lbs will just return.

  8. anonymous

    The “official” ebook is a total con! Do not buy this, its nothing you don’t know already!!

  9. Anonymous

    OK, I am in college and I asked my NUTRITION PROFESSOR about this diet. Yes, a low protien diet will make you lose weight. But the weight that you lose is not from fat, it is from muscle. Muscle holds a lot of water weight so that is why you lose weight so fast. But when your body isn’t getting the 2000 calories a day it needs it starts breaking down muscles. Also, anyone on this diet will be defficient in fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Just think about it, you are completely eliminating 2 of the 3 main food sources. This is not a good diet!

  10. JustMe


    Thank you SO much for the information! It totally makes sense. I have heard of that sort of thing before, but having it plainly explained helps.

    Thanks again, and take care! =)

  11. JustMe

    “Guywithabs” – Get over yourself! How do YOU know you are in better shape than any of “us”. And if that were true, what the h*ll are you doing HERE?! Give me a break, dude! lol