Busting the negative calorie myth

14 low calorie snacks, negative calorie foods, low calorie foods, diet snacks

I find that more often than not when I snack between meals it is for some other reason than being hungry.  Normally it’s because I’m bored.  Sometimes because I’m sad, other times because I’m anxious… Regardless of the reason, I’m consuming calories that my body doesn’t need! Generally I also go for things like potato chips or candy bars from a vending machine and that just makes the situation worse.  Instead of torturing yourself by cutting out snacking all together, wouldn’t it be amazing if you could just eat certain foods with ‘negative calories’.  Negative calorie diets claim that there are a group of food that require more calories to process and digest than they contain.  So for example, if a food item contains 10 calories but the body uses 20 calories to digest it, you are actually burning 10 calories.  Unfortunately, the only negative calorie ‘food’ is cold water.  This is because the water itself has no calories and your body has to expend energy to heat the water up to body temperature.  On a side note – drinking several glasses of ice water a day is an excellent supplement to any diet, not only does it burn a hand full of calories, it will also make you feel more full – but more on that later! So lets get back to negative calorie foods, if I get a bit sciencey here, bear with me;

The negative calorie food idea is based on the principle of the thermic effect of food (TEF). TEF = amount of energy your body expends digesting, absorbing and distributing the food.  This includes calories ‘burned’ while; chewing, swallowing or enzymatically breaking down the food, absorbing the nutrients across the walls of you intestine etc. etc.  This may seem like a lot of work for your body, but its really not, we’re very efficient.  According to (http://www.caloriesperhour.com/tutorial_thermic.php) and other sources, food generally costs about 10% of its caloric value to process, with proteins being the most costly to process and fats being the easiest.

So for a food to have ‘negative calories’ it must have TEF > the amount of calories it contains.  Unfortunately the only snack that fits this criteria is… once again, cold water.  That doesn’t mean, however, that low calorie foods like citrus fruits and celery don’t come close to being ‘zero calorie’ foods.  Read; eating an orange is going to have a pretty negligible effect on your total calorie input.  Another issue with these ‘negative calorie’ foods is that you’re never going to eat them without something else to go with them.  Who just sits there nibbling on watercress? That’s why I’ve compiled this list of 14 low calorie foods that are suitable for snacking on.  Since their caloric input is negligible you can satisfy your desire to nibble on something without ruining your diet.  Additionally, a lot of these foods contain nutrients that are actually good for you, go figure! Enjoy snacking!

Ps. Shout out to lettuce, not exactly an ideal snack food, but low calorie nonetheless.