The term “negative calories” may be misleading in suggesting that some foods have no calories at all. All food contains calories in the form of carbohydrate, protein, or fat. And contrary to public belief, fat and carbs are not all bad for you. “Negative calories” simply refers to a small list of foods that contain a small amount of calories. Ideally, your body uses more energy to digest these foods than the energy that is provided by the food. Thus, consumption of these foods will result in a net negative calorie balance, leading to weight loss. This notion may be pleasing to many dieter’s ears, but does the negative calorie diet work?
If you type “negative calories” into any search engine, you’ll end up with millions of websites confirming the existence of “negative calorie” foods. Furthermore, if you scroll to the bottom of these websites, more than likely, you’ll find an ad or a link directing you to an advertisement page for a “negative calorie” product. My point is, most of the published resources on “negative calories” on the web are from unreliable or uninformed writers.
Does the negative calorie diet work? We’ve done some research and here are our findings:
The celery myth states that it takes more calories to digest and absorb the nutrient of a celery stick than the energy that the celery provides. Eat enough celery and you’ll be on your way to a slimmer you. True? Yes. But the same is also true with lettuce, spinach, and all foods containing low calories. Each stalk of celery contains a tiny six calories. However, the body doesn’t expend more calories to chew and digest it, claims David Baer, Ph.D., a research physiologist at the USDA Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland (webMD). "No negative calorie foods have been discovered yet," he says.
Limited research was conducted on the validity of “negative calorie” food, and few researchers will confirm the existence of such food. Though there is a consensus in the science community that water and cellulose are the only “foods” that would qualify as “negative calorie.” The movement of these items through your system would burn a small amount of calories, but not enough to make a significant difference in your appearance. Water contains no calories and cellulose is inaccessible to humans (we do not have the cellulose enzyme to break it down).
The negative calorie diet has not been recommended by medical professionals as a weight loss plan and is not considered a healthy way to lose weight. Instead, it is considered to be an unhealthy, “fad” diet that may contribute to the cycle of weight loss and gain known as “yo-yo” dieting. Also, the over consumption of reported “negative calorie” food may be more harmful than publicly admitted. Though most of these foods are classically included in a healthy diet, some do not provide adequate nutrients. For example, lettuce or cabbage. The over consumption of these poor-nutrient foods may lead to malnutrition. So does the negative calorie diet work? There's no simple answer, though there is little scientific evidence to support the claim that a "negative calorie" diet will promote weight loss.
The amount of daily energy your body requires is based on your body weight, height, age, gender, and your average level of activity. For example, a healthy female in her early 20s, would need 1900 calories during a typical day to maintain "light activity," and a male would need 2300 calories. On more active days, these individuals would need more calories to keep up with their activities. If you want to lose weight, try to stay below your daily calorie needs or increase your activity level. Make sure you are getting the proper and adequate nutrients. Eating too little or losing weight too fast can be unhealthy and dangerous.
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