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Negative Calorie Foods and Weight Loss

I’ve heard that eating negative calorie foods might be a good diet strategy. But what exactly are they?  Some dieters suggest that eating “negative calorie foods” can help you to lose weight. But what are negative calorie foods, and are they really the answer to long-term weight loss?

Negative calorie foods are foods that, in theory, take more energy to process and digest than they provide in calories. For example, it’s been suggested that you will burn 80 calories digesting a 25-calorie piece of broccoli, for a net loss of 55 calories. Cauliflower, asparagus, celery , berries, cabbage, and grapefruit are other foods that are commonly thought of as “negative calorie” foods.

The truth is that there are no reputable scientific studies to prove that any specific foods require more energy to digest than they contain, or that eating negative calorie foods can lead to weight loss. It is true, however, that about 10% of your total calories burned during the day comes from digestion and storing the nutrients in the food you eat. Foods that contain very few calories, including many fruits and vegetables, may require more energy to digest than the calories they contain, but there’s no proof that they are actually “negative calorie” or that any difference is significant enough to cause weight loss.

Most foods that are said to be negative calories are fruits and vegetables that should be eaten as part of an overall healthy and balanced diet. While it’s good to incorporate these foods into your diet, consuming only one type of food—even healthy ones—won’t provide your body with the wide range of nutrients needed for good health.


One response to “Negative Calorie Foods and Weight Loss”

  1. Michelle C. Avatar
    Michelle C.

    I think we all get wrapped in wanting to decrease calories that we often forget that you actually need a certain amount of calories to fuel the body so you can lose weight. A quick formula for knowing how many calories per day you need: take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms. Multiply your weight in kilograms by 15. That is approximately how many calories you need per day. 250lbs/2.2= 113.6 x 15=1704 calories.

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