Does it take as many calories to digest a low-calorie food as the food itself? Unfortunately, the negative-calorie or zero calorie foods claim just that: a myth.
If we could eat calorie-free food all day, dieting would be much easier. However, Kimberly Lummus, a media representative and public relations coordinator for the Austin Dietetic Association in Austin, Texas, says there is no such thing as negative-calorie or zero calorie foods other than water and diet beverages.
The “Zero-Calories” Myth
Almost all foods contain calories, except those specifically designed to have zero calories, such as sugar substitutes. In addition, some calories are burned while chewing and digesting food, and some foods have a low-calorie count. However, it’s not true that certain foods can cause us to consume fewer calories than we burn in a day.
Regarding weight loss, “some foods do require more energy to digest, but digesting foods that are so-called zero calorie foods such as celery or cucumbers is not going to have much impact,” says Lummus. Nutritionally, believing that you can deceive your body and reduce calories is a bad idea.
Foods that may be marketed as zero- or negative-calorie include, but are not limited to:
A celery stick contains about 75% water; the rest is fiber, which helps you feel complete for extended periods. In addition, you can get all the vitamins and antioxidants you need in a 100-gram serving with just 16 calories. So, if you’d rather eat celery sticks with a sprinkle of salt or a fat-free dip, do so.
Weight watchers love cucumber because it has only 16 calories per 100-gram serving. A salad, cold soup, or smoothie can be made from this ingredient. In addition, cucumbers are one of the most hydrating foods on the market, making them ideal for hot summer days. An anti-inflammatory flavonol, known as “fisetin,” is also beneficial for brain health.
Mushrooms are a versatile ingredient used in various dishes, including stir-fries, pizza toppings, and soups. To top it all off, just 15 calories are contained within one cup of sauteed mushrooms. Because of their high vitamin D content, they aid in absorbing the calcium in that pizza cheese. B vitamins, abundant in flaxseeds, contribute to their mood-lifting and energy-boosting properties.
In a 100-gram portion of cabbage, you can rest assured that you’ve only consumed 25 calories. The leafy green also contains essential vitamins, folate, manganese, and anti-cancer properties, making it a valuable addition to your diet.
Reduce your pasta’s fat content by sprinkling it with zucchini slices. Just 17 calories are in a single 100-gram serving of this cucumber-like substitute. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamin niacin, and other vital nutrients.
Popeye had made a wise decision. Nutritional and filling, this leafy green is an excellent choice. According to the most recent research, thylakoid, a compound found in spinach, has been shown to slow fat digestion, reducing hunger and food cravings, especially in men. Afterward, the release of satiety hormones by the thylakoid gland gives you a sense of well-being.
With only 17 calories per 100 grams, this tart snack is touted as one of the “healthiest foods available.” To protect against cancer and heart disease, tomatoes contain lycopene. Use whole-wheat bread and a lot of tomatoes to make bruschetta next time you’re hungry.
You can indulge in this sweet treat guilt-free because it contains only 30 calories per 100 grams. Watermelon is an excellent source of antioxidants and a stimulant for the body’s metabolism.
Although papaya has more calories per 100-gram serving than any other food on this list, it’s so filling that you’ll eat less at your next meal. Vitamin C and antioxidants like beta-cryptoxanthin, abundant in the tasty fruit, help reduce the risk of polyarthritis, which affects multiple joints at once.
10. Green tea
Enjoy a cup of green tea at the end of your low-calorie meal. Because of its thermogenic properties, the calorie-free beverage helps you burn calories faster by raising your body’s temperature. As a bonus, it is packed with antioxidants.
You won’t lose weight by eating foods that claim to have “zero calories,” but there are other advantages to doing so. When incorporating these foods into your diet, “they are all fruits and vegetables,” says Lummus. Besides being high in fiber, these foods also provide substantial nutrition. When we say that fruits and vegetables are “nutrient-dense,” we mean that they have few calories compared to how many nutrients they contain.
Aid in Weight Loss
For the same calories, fruits and vegetables often have more bulk and can be just as filling as higher-calorie options. Add vegetables to your meals, snack on fruit, pile your sandwiches with fresh vegetables and opt for a fruit dessert instead of dessert if you’re trying to lose weight. Not only will you feel full and satisfied, but you’ll also be eating fewer calories and getting a lot of essential nutrients. This doesn’t “trick” your body into being in a calorie deficit.