Friday, June 24, 2011

Low and No Calorie Foods

The amount of calories found in the food that we eat is a big deal for many people in current times as we become a nation of weight watchers! With calorie counting becoming something of a regular activity people are constantly on the lookout for low calories foods to eat in order to try and lose weight. Low calorie foods are great but what about negative calorie foods? You may or may not be aware that there really is such a thing as a negative calorie food but now you do.
The phrase "Negative Calories" seems to be causing some confusion as it suggests there are foods which possess no calories at all. You may have though that negative calorie foods are a myth but that is not the case and here is where you will find out why! All food contains some energy because they include an amount of carbohydrate, protein or fat either alone or in varying amounts. All these macronutrients are energy sources, and thus all food contains some energy.
The negative calorie phrase refers to foods are believed to be are in actual fact are foods that if consumed into the body either raw, or in a few instances cooked only slightly on their own with nothing added to them, will use more calories to process and digest than the amount that they contain. There are many foods that are known as metabolism boosting foods and these are foods that will burn calories when they are consumed because the body is forced to work that extra little bit hard to process, digest and actually extract the calories from them. In the case of negative calorie foods the concept is the same but these are already very low calorie so the number required for the body to burn will turn the total into a negative figure, pretty amazing huh?
Foods that have am overall negative calorie value generally contain vitamins and minerals that will produce enzymes that are able to break down the food's own calories and also further calories from the body in digestion too. This useful effect is referred to as 'the negative calorie effect'. A basic example of how negative calorie foods are believed to work compared to a regular piece of food:
  • Food A contains 50 calories ----} The body will have to burn 100 calories in order to process and digest food A ----} 50 calories minus 100 calories gives a total of 150 calories so food A is therefore a negative calorie food
  • Food B contains 300 calories ----} The body will require 100 calories in order to process and digest food B ----} 300 minus 100 still leaves a high amount of calories absorbed into the body that will need to be burned in another way so food B is a positive calorie food
The table below lists the foods which are supposed to have a negative calorie effect on the body. One thing to remember is that the body needs a certain amount of calories and nutrients each day for healthy functioning. Eating a lot more of these negative calorie fruits and vegetables may help you lose weight but they should still only make up part of a balanced diet.If you wish to try the negative calorie food diet, seek advice from your doctor before introducing new foods to your diet plan.
List of foods with Negative Calories
Negative Calorie Vegetables
Aubergine, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chicory, Cress, Cucumber, Fennel, Gourd, Leek, Lettuce, Marrow,Peppers, Radish, Spinach,Tomato, Turnip, etc.
Negative Calorie Fruits
Apricot, Blackberry Blackcurrant, Clementines, Damsons, Grapefruit, Guava, Honeydew Melon, Lemon, Mandarin orange, Melon Cantaloupe, Peaches, Plums, Raspberry, Rhubarb, Strawberry, Tangerine, Watermelon
Negative Calorie Nuts
Almonds, Barcelona nuts, Brazil nuts, chestnuts, coconuts, filberts, hazelnuts, macadamias, peanuts, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts
Other Low Calorie Foods
Low fat cottage cheese, light yogurt, pickles, apple cinnamon rice cakes, fresh poached fish, Muesli and porridge oats, lentils, Canadian bacon, ground turkey, egg whites.
Berries stand out amongst the negative calorie fruits as they contain decent amounts of protein. Protein is something that is valuable in dieting, and is something that people often do not recognise that they need. They instead prefer to sacrifice heavier foods in favor of those that are generally empty of any nutritional value. Many berries taste great on their own, and can easily be added to other foods. They are rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C and a wide range of other nutrients that boost the efficiency of your immune system. Cranberries and blueberries help flush out your system and keep you regular. Blueberries are also known, along with raspberries, to aid your eyesight. All these factors combined with a very low calorie count make berries a highly valuable negative calorie food, by low calorie count they are on average under 50 calories per cupful. 
Combining negative calorie foods with good protein sources not only helps control appetite but will help maintain the metabolism because total calories are not cut too much, plus the amino acid pool is maintained which limits the loss of muscle.
The negative calorie foods controversy
There is indeed much controversy about the negative calorie diet and some experts believe it to be total rubbish. Some believe the amount of energy used may be relative to the amount and complexity of the meal ingested. In other words, the energy cost to digest and absorb may be set as a general percentage of the energy contained in each specific food, thus there cannot ever be foods with negative calories However, some research has proved that Celery does cause a negative energy intake, but this is mainly because the energy is "sealed" making the digestive system work harder to obtain its energy content.
Why is it interesting to consume negative calorie foods?
We are unsure as to whether negative calorie foods are fact or fiction. There needs to be more research done in order to prove or disprove the theory. Although we do believe negative calorie foods help people consume fewer calories AND eat healthier foods then it can be a positive start to permanent weight loss!

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