What is Negative Calorie Food?

J.Gunsch
J.Gunsch
Asparagus is a negative calorie food.
Asparagus is a negative calorie food.

Negative calorie food is a bit of a misnomer. There is no food in existence that contains negative calories; every food has some caloric content, however minute it may be. However, certain foods, when eaten, require more energy from your body to digest than the calories that they contain. Negative calorie food offers great nutrition, as well as the possibility of helping you lose weight simply by eating.

A pile of blueberries, a negative calorie food.
A pile of blueberries, a negative calorie food.

A negative calorie diet is based on the idea that certain foods, mostly plants, are difficult to digest because of their cellular composition, i.e., cellulose. Everything that you do — sleeping, breathing, blinking your eyes — requires a certain amount of energy, and eating is no exception. This energy is created by burning calories.

Your body requires on average 150-250 calories to digest your food, depending on your weight, gender and activity level. If you eat something that has a caloric content of 100 calories, you will actually burn more calories than you ingest. Because negative calorie food is harder to digest, your body will require more than the average 150-250 calories to digest it.

It takes more calories to digest an apple than the fruit provides.
It takes more calories to digest an apple than the fruit provides.

Some of the most common negative calorie foods are apples, celery, blueberries, beets, asparagus, green cabbage, spinach, oranges, strawberries, grapefruit and garlic. This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many books and recipes available concerning such foods and negative calorie dieting.

The theory that negative calorie food helps you to lose weight simply by eating has fallen under harsh criticism, as have most diets. Some contest that people who practice this diet will overeat, according to the notion that you can eat however much you want without gaining weight. The diet is also criticized because it is often not accompanied by exercise. There is no conclusive proof that negative calorie food works the way it is believed to.

Garlic is a negative calorie food.
Garlic is a negative calorie food.

However, research has been conducted that supports the claim that eating these foods assists in weight loss. Regardless of whether this diet helps the user to effortlessly lose weight, negative calorie foods are packed full of vitamins and minerals. Many of them contain antioxidants, and some are believed to prevent disease. Even if these foods don't make up a miracle diet, it is still a very healthy way to eat.

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Discussion Comments

anon940701

So does this mean you will starve to death if you only eat apples and broccoli?

Michael Allen

Broccoli is a great example. If you eat broccoli all day long, you'll actually lose weight. But, I just ate a bowl of peach slices with yogurt dumped on it and a side of grapefruit juice. I like to make it fun. Anyway, that's about 430 calories and I'll probably burn 500 calories digesting it. You can make a negative calorie diet fun if you know how.

bestcity

Broccoli is also said to be a negative Calorie food. For example, 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) of raw broccoli has 25 Calories, but eating 100 grams of raw broccoli takes 80 Calories worth of energy. That means that eating 100 grams of raw broccoli causes you to lose 55 Calories. Not bad!

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    • Asparagus is a negative calorie food.
      Asparagus is a negative calorie food.
    • A pile of blueberries, a negative calorie food.
      A pile of blueberries, a negative calorie food.
    • It takes more calories to digest an apple than the fruit provides.
      It takes more calories to digest an apple than the fruit provides.
    • Garlic is a negative calorie food.
      Garlic is a negative calorie food.
    • Beets are a negative calorie food.
      Beets are a negative calorie food.
    • Grapefruit is a negative calorie food that contains a good amount of vitamins A and C.
      Grapefruit is a negative calorie food that contains a good amount of vitamins A and C.
    • Spinach is a negative calorie food.
      Spinach is a negative calorie food.
    • Celery is considered to be a negative calorie food.
      Celery is considered to be a negative calorie food.