Negative calorie foods? Like the elusive unicorn we keep seeking them out. Every few years there’s a diet book that soars to the top of the bestseller list with the claim of “negative calories.”
But behind the hype there’s truth to these claims. Some foods require more digestion — they’re typically high in fiber. As a bonus, with the high fiber content they’re often foods that enable you to feel full. That’s a bonus in dieting and can help in willpower.
So what’s the real story? Is there really a list of foods that burn more calories to digest than they contain, say, when you look them up in your favorite calorie counter?
Well, here is such a list, with a caveat! You can’t eat unlimited quantities and expect favorable results. But with most of these, the fiber and/or water makes overeating a challenge. You may like broccoli, yes, truly like to eat it and not just hide it in a smoothie. But can you really eat ten cups of it in one sitting? If you did so, that would only set you back in measured calories by about 350. But, as mentioned, with the high fiber content, and the work your body had to do to digest them, you’ll probably skate by just fine with your broccoli binge!
So here’s a list culled from Dr. Neal Barnard’s bestseller, ‘Foods That Cause You to Lose Weight: The Negative Calorie Effect.’ Yes, it’s available at Amazon – including Kindle. (Click here to get the free Kindle Reading App for your computer or favorite mobile device if you don’t yet have it).
Here’s a list of ten more foods. You’ll find some overlap in these lists.
Cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower
Green leafy vegetables
Nightshades including sweet peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, eggplant
Both books offer guidance and meal plans — there’s some variance, of course as these authors have vastly different backgrounds and approaches. But the common theme is one that more and more diet plans are beginning to embrace. Eating foods that are high in fiber and water and minimizing the foods that are more dense in calories.
While the Mediterranean diet may be known for olive oil, you can get many more benefits by eating the olives themselves. Lots of antioxidants and fiber. And again, this is a case in point on caloric density. A tablespoon of olive oil versus 45 black olives! But the key is being creative with the foods.
Agreed, that that many olives would be a bit much, but sprinkling in a dozen on a salad that’s got plenty of tomatoes, lots of cucumbers and lettuce might be followed by a meal with lentils and broccoli. That’s minimal calories. Spice it up with your favorite Condiments. As you may know, some of these spices are thermogenic, meaning they raise the body temperature. Think cayenne pepper, black pepper, turmeric, mustard and so on.
That’s the real philosophy of negative calorie foods. Incorporating these healthy foods into your daily diet!
Below are a couple of helpful videos. The first is a lecture by Dr Neal Barnard, giving an overview of the negative calorie diet approach. It’s well worth checking out if you want to get started right away and/or if you prefer learning through videos rather than reading books.
The second is a quick interview with Rocco DiSpirito, while not as involved, he does give a quick overview of the diet.
But as I always stress here at Skinny Bliss. The diet that works is the one that you can follow and sustain and that is as healthy as it is sustainable. You don’t want to live your life dependent on meal subscription services, perhaps — they are expensive after all!
Check them out below.
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