What’s the deal with negative calorie foods? Read enough diet articles and you’ll see people, even dieticians, espousing the benefits of eating negative calorie foods. Negative calorie foods? How could a food have less than zero calories? The idea is that some foods are so low in calories that your body has to expend more energy to digest, break down and absorb them than is actually in the food. Supposedly, if you eat these foods and you’re getting a “free lunch” from a calorie standpoint. Is there any truth to this idea?
The theory behind zero calorie or negative calorie foods is that they contain such a scant amount of calories that the energy you expend eating them cancels out their calories. In essence the bottom line is that you don’t take on any excess calories, and in some instances you end up burning calories as you eat them. Whether or not this is an accurate statement, it’s clear that the following foods have such a slight caloric load they won’t put a dent in your daily total.
However, eating a wide range of food is necessary to give your body all the nutrients it needs. And a monotonous diet is no fun; variety is what keeps your palette excited.
"I can say from first-hand experience that reducing the connection and pleasure that is available through the enjoyment of food at the sake of saving a few calories is a battle you don't want to win," Ruddy says. The key statement here is: to save a few calories. While negative calorie foods don't exist, low-calorie foods do—but subsiding solely on those can be unexciting and unhealthy.
Instead, she recommends maintaining a fun and healthy diet.
Negative calorie foods take more energy to chew and digest than they actually contain, so you'll never have to worry about eating these foods in large quantities or gaining weight from them. They also contain ample amounts of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. Next time you're in the mood for a snack, reach for one of these foods instead of that bag of chips, which we all know does more harm than good.