Calorie Counters - Negative Calorie Foods?

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Hades Handmaiden
02-08-2010, 12:12 PM
Has anyone heard of this? Foods that allegedly use more calories to digest than actually in the foods themselves. I found a brief list on one website and it included: apsparagus, apples, beets, berries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili, cucumber, garlic, lettuce, grapefruit, lemon, mango, onion, orange, papaya, pineapple, spinach, turnips, and zucchini. I have heard celery is a negative calorie food but not all those other foods. I find it hard to believe but maybe it's true.

02-08-2010, 12:19 PM
If digestion created a caloric deficit we'd all be thinner! :lol:

I completed a 2 year long holistic nutritionist training program and like many fat women, I have years of lay experience researching health, nutrition, weight loss etc as well and think that there are many ways people try to "trick" themselves (and the scale) in to moving down, and that they then tell themselves that this particular thing was the "answer" even if there's no science to back it up. Call me Spock, but I don't subscribe to "Magical Thinking". ;)

IMO at the end of the day, calories are calories. It's splitting hairs to look at some foods as having "negative calories" just because they contain more fiber.

There are many people here who got fat eating a whole foods diet which included all you've listed (myself included) as a bulk of those eaten.

I feel that the quality of food certainly matters for a number of reasons, but ultimately calories are calories and they all count when it comes to weight loss.

Hades Handmaiden
02-08-2010, 12:52 PM
IMO at the end of the day, calories are calories.
And I don't believe that in the least. See, I didn't get fat by eating "whole foods" ~ I got overweight because I like beer and I ate crap. I also don't believe in the whole holistic movement but if it works for you, that's great.

Saying calories are calories is the same as saying gas is gas but if you put regular unleaded in a stock car, that car can't run. If you fill up on 1200 calories of beer and chips, your body can't run efficiently and you won't lose weight ~ that I guarantee. Well, I guarantee I can't lose weight eating 1200 calories worth of beer and chips.

02-08-2010, 01:03 PM
Regardless, "negative calorie" foods are bunk. Those "eat 1500 calories a day" calculations or what have you all take into account the amount of calories you need to digest your's part of your BMR. So any difference between the "average" digestion burn and the burn you'd get with any of these so-called "negative calorie" foods is going to be minimal.

Also, any list that includes tropical fruit, which is fairly high in sugar, is suspect. I mean, celery may end up being very few calories once digested, primarily because it has so few to begin with, but pineapple has 100 calories a takes nowhere near that much energy to digest it.,28804,1896439_1896359_1896346,00.html

02-08-2010, 01:09 PM
I haven't heard it in reference to all those foods - especially pineapple!

Pineapple, grapefruit and papaya do have enzymes that aid digestion, though. Maybe that's being factored in to the negative-calorie computation?

Kind of reminds me of how the weight watchers points formula assigns zero points to foods with high fiber and low fat. I even found a bran bread that would compute to zero points for a one ounce slice.

Is it true? Don't know....I do believe that no one ever got fat eating too many apples or too much celery. My experience is like yours...I get fat from eating too much fatty, white-starchy, salty stuff. Not from too many fruits & vegetables.

Hades Handmaiden
02-08-2010, 01:17 PM

Regardless of what? I'm confused.

And what is with the link? Sorry but what I saw was a just a magazine article with statements that are contra-indicated to almost everything I learned in nutrition class.

Maybe my original question was unclear. I'm looking for people who know more about it than magazine articles. I'm wondering if anyone has experience with the thought process in a practical situation. I've found articles, both pro and con, I'm looking for personal experience.

02-08-2010, 01:20 PM,28804,1896439_1896359_1896346,00.html

Thanks, I hadn't yet read that and it's good information that not everyone knows!

02-08-2010, 01:25 PM
OK, here's the scientific answer.

The calories you burn (your BMR) include a number calculated for the thermic effect of food (the number of calories you burn digesting your food). That effect is not enough to counteract the calories in any food (with the minor exception that water, drunk ice cold, does require a tiny number of calories to warm up to body temperature, thus making ice cold water negative-calorie by less than 10 calories per glass).

Most foods average about 10% of their calories burned in digestion...that's the average taken into account when calculating the thermal effect of food portion of your BMR. Some foods, including some protein foods (because protein takes more energy to break down to usable parts than, say, white bread), and some vegetables with a high fiber content, go up to a thermal effect of about 20% of calories burned. But even in that case, 80% of the calories in that food are still left after digestion, so they're definitely not "negative".

The difference between 10% of the calories burned and 20% of the calories burned during digestion can make a difference over the day (for example, a diet consisting of only protein and high fiber veggies, all day, would increase your calories burned from digestion in a 1500 calorie diet from 150 calories 250-300 you would be burning *more*. But you'd never burn more than the food contained, because there is no food that takes more than about 20% of its total energy quantity to digest.

02-09-2010, 09:09 AM
Can I chime in? I just want to quote someone else... "cows get fat eating grass". I read that on here somewhere and it applys to me. If I let myself think that any food was a free food I would be eating it all day non stop! lol

Hades Handmaiden
02-09-2010, 09:16 AM
Can I chime in? I just want to quote someone else... "cows get fat eating grass". I read that on here somewhere and it applys to me. If I let myself think that any food was a free food I would be eating it all day non stop! lol

The physiology of a cow, which has THREE stomachs, and a human are not the same and, therefore, not relevant. I was not asking if there are "free foods" ~ I've done Weight Watchers, I know the point system, I was asking if there were foods that burn through your body more effectively.

02-09-2010, 09:36 AM
I don't understand your question.

I think toobig's point was somewhat similar to the fact that the largest land animals on earth are herbivores and even though they have to eat constantly, it is still only veggies they are eating.

I have seen calculations on how much calories you have to burn to digest protein, fat and carbs but most natural foods are a mix of those 3 things anyway so there is no real way to calculate that out unless you calculate the percentages of carb/fat/protein and then the amount that it takes your body to burn each type of category.

Basically overall I say just eat a mix of foods and don't try to worry too much about the details of how your body handles each one exactly. I've found eating a plant based diet helps me feel better and I eat tons of veggies.

Hades Handmaiden
02-09-2010, 10:12 AM
I don't understand your question.

It's of no matter now. The question was answered in the post above toobig. And, in essence, by everyone who replied. No one had actually heard of this method working and no one here believes it although there are some foods that may burn differently because of their makeup. End of story, end of question, end of discussion. It's all good. The answer is a simple "No." That's good enough for me.