Sunday, November 13, 2011

Negative calories for weight loss

by Ishi Khosla  

Time and again one hears on special foods for weight loss. With the search for a magic bullet for weight loss, some foods too have been tagged as negative calories implying that they have no calories. 

It is believed that one can lose weight by eating these negative calorie foods as they supposedly take more energy to process and digest than they provide in calories. 

For example, one will burn about 60 calories digesting a 15-calorie piece of celery, with a loss of 45 calories. This is because it is predominantly composed of water and indigestible fiber in the form of cellulose. Other examples include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, berries, turnip, radish, asparagus, grapefruit, cucumber, lettuce and spinach. 

The fact is that about 10 per cent of a meal’s energy value is used up in digestion and storage of nutrients in the food we eat. This happens when the metabolism is stepped up in the about five or so hours after finishing a meal.

Hence, low calorie foods require a large amount of energy to digest compared with the amount of calories they provide. However, they are not zero calorie foods.

All foods have some calories. No food is actually “negative calorie” food. But the overall effect of certain foods in our body is that of “negative calories”.

There are no reputable scientific studies to prove that certain foods are negative calories or they aid in weight loss. Fruits and vegetables in general are low in calories and can help in losing weight as a part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Remember to include about 5-9 servings of ½ cup on a daily basis. Following extreme diets and choosing foods on the basis of negative calories can cause imbalance and nutrient deficiencies.

The only thing which is zero calories is water.

Zero calories beverages do take more than zero calories to process within the body, however they do not offer the dietary sustenance that other so-called negative calorie foods do in the form of fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, etc. and as such, are not generally regarded as being negative calorie.

Combining negative calorie foods with other food groups like whole grains, pulses, low fat dairy and lean protein like soy, fish, poultry, nuts and seeds can be a positive start to making weight loss healthy and long term. 

To find out how many calories you need to consume use the BodyEngine caloric intake calculator.


Karen said...

All foods have some calories, as you said there is no food with negative calorie. The most important thing to be careful when one trying weight loss is the consumption of calories food.
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