Negative Calorie Foods Myth

The negative calorie foods myth

Do negative calorie foods actually exist or is it a myth? If you do a quick search online, you will find a wide range of purported negative calorie foods. The most commonly cited examples are celery, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower and cabbage. These foods supposedly take more calories to process than they deliver.  According to this theory, your body will spend more calories to process celery than the calories it contains. Some people even give exact numbers. For example, they claim that your body will spend 80 calories to digest a piece of broccoli that contains 25 calories and this would create a calorie deficit of 50 calories. So, the more broccoli you eat the more weight you lose, right?

If only things were that easy!

Unfortunately, the reality is that on average your body burns only about 10 percent of the calories contained in foods through digestion. This is called the thermic effect of food. Of course, some macronutrients cause a greater thermic effect (such as protein). Most of the “negative calorie foods” do require a pretty large amount of energy to get digested. What is more, they contain lots of indigestible fiber, which means that you won’t be absorbing the full amount of calories. However, don’t believe that these foods can actually help you lose weight. The calories burned during digestion, will only be a percentage of the calorie content of these foods.