One of the most popular food fads that has grabbed everyone’s attention in recent times is the notion of ‘negative calorie’ foods. According to this theory, you can have as much of these foods as you like without any weight gain, and that’s because digesting these foods takes up more calories than what they inherently contain. Hence, nullifying the calorie addition. This does not mean that these foods do not contain calories but only the fact that your body ends up burning more calories than what you consume. A win-win situation. Isn’t it?
Renowned Bangalore-based Nutritionist, Dr. Anju Sood, explains, “We classify calories in two categories. Empty calories and negative calories. Empty calories are the ones, which when consumed generate immense amount of calories (main sources being fast food and refined sugar). These contain no nutritional value. The other, negative calories, come from foods that are nutritious and low on calories. They are great to be added to your diet if you want to lose weight as your body does require bare minimum calories to generate energy and sustain.”
“High fiber foods or those that have a low glycemic index can be called as negative calorie foods. High fiber foods fulfill two purposes. Our body takes longer to flush out fiber from the body, hence they stay in the body and delay hunger. And secondly, they release sugar slowly and so, the incidence of it turning into fat is low,” says Dr. Sood. Rich in nutrition and extremely low on calories, load your plate with these delicious foods.
Containing barely 16 calories per 100 grams (as per USDA), celery is ranked high among negative calorie foods. Packed with fiber, celery is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate.
Indulge in these sweet and tangy treats without feeling guilty. Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries contain just 32 calories per half a cup (as per USDA). Known for their anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, berries are really good for your heart too.
Containing about 40 calories per 100 grams, grapefruit is a storehouse of vitamin C, folic acid and potassium along with soluble fibre pectin. In the book ‘Healing Foods’ by DK publishing, the authors suggest that foods rich in vitamin C can help reduce the severity of inflammatory conditions such as asthma.
Carrots contain about 41 calories per 100 grams. They are also low in cholesterol and saturated fats which can work wonders if you happen to be struggling with hypertension issues. Along with being a good source of dietary fiber, carrots are also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and potassium
This tangy delight contains a minimal of 19 calories per 100 grams. Apart from being a juicy and delicious source of dietary fiber, potassium and vitamin C. They also contain lycopene, an antioxidant known to protect the skin from harmful UV rays. Tomatoes can also prove effective in lowering your cholesterol levels.
16 calories per 100 grams! Yes our favourite salad is that low on calories. Cucumbers are full of minerals, vitamins and electrolytes and are extremely hydrating. It is also known as the classic cooling food which helps maintain the body’s water balance on hot days.
Another summer favourite, watermelons contain 30 calories per 100 grams. Watermelons are also rich in lycopene which can help protect the heart. The citrulline in the rind and the flesh of watermelon can also ensure smooth blood flow and enhanced immunity.
Now they don’t say ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ for nothing. Containing about 50 calories per 100 grams, apple is the fibre-rich snack you must keep in your bag to beat your mid-day hunger pangs. Apples are high in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that encourages weight loss, and releases sugar gradually to help regulate the body’s blood sugar levels. The fiber present in apples also provides relief from constipation.
Containing as low as 18 calories per 100 grams, zucchini is one of the highly recommended negative calorie foods by the nutritionists. The phytonutrients in Zucchini also promote bowel regularity and aid water balance in the body.
As suggested by Dr. Anju Sood, plant-based foods are high in fiber and great calorie burners. Containing barely 34 calories per 100 grams. Broccoli is ranked high amongst superfoods. It is packed with fibers and antioxidants and studies have shown that they may also have certain anti-cancer properties.
Next time you whip up a salad, add some more lettuce. Containing only 6 calories per 100 grams, lettuce is not only low in calories but it is also rich in fiber, vitamin B, folic acid, and manganese.
Include these foods in your daily diet, if you are looking to shed some pounds. While these low-calorie foods can really help, remember that it is equally essential to maintain a balanced diet with all-round nutrition.