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Here's The Truth About Zero-Calorie Food

July 05, 2015 2 min read

Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were foods that were so low in calories that it took that many calories, or more to actually digest them? Those are the weight loss claims that come with the diet discussions around zero-calorie or negative-calorie foods. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Kimberly Lummus, MS, RD, Texas Dietetic Association media representative and public relations coordinator for the Austin Dietetic Association in Austin, Texas, says there is no such thing as zero-calorie/negative-calorie foods outside of water and diet sodas. Sugar substitutes are engineered to have zero calories but otherwise all foods have calories. The idea that eating certain foods will leave you with a negative calorie balance is hogwash. "Some foods do require more energy to digest, but digesting foods that are so-called 'zero-calorie' such as celery or cucumbers is not going to have much impact" when it comes to your weight loss efforts according to Lummus. "It wouldn't be smart nutritionally to think that you are somehow tricking your body and subtracting calories." Some foods that are often celebrated as zero calorie are:
  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Lettuce
  • Mangos
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Turnips
  • Zucchini
But Lummus says you would have to eat massive amounts of these foods to get your body to work hard enough to cancel the calories so it really isn't worth it. Just because these foods don't give you those negative calories, doesn't mean you shouldn't eat them. The foods listed are all fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber and are very nutritious. And when it comes to weight loss, they can be particularly helpful as they fill you up, as well as higher calorie foods without giving you those high calorie counts. Start by trying to add vegetables to your main dishes, eating fruit as a snack, throwing vegetables on your sandwiches, and picking fruit instead of dessert. This will help you feel satisfied while eating fewer calories and upping your vitamin and nutrient consumption. And just because you can never hear it enough: drink your water. It is the only true calorie free beverage and can actually save you calories when you drink it instead of soda! These fruits and veggies may not be miracle weight loss foods but they sure are good for you. How do you like to incorporate these foods into your diet? h/t: Everyday Health Have you seen our fitness videos? We post full-body workouts daily! And they're FREE. Check out the video below (and subscribe to our email list) for the latest in fitness and weight loss. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK_s2X65gTU

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