The principle behind the idea of a negative calorie food is pretty simple. Since your body uses calories to digest food, it is theoretically possible that certain low-calorie foods could take more energy to digest than they contain, meaning that you could burn calories just by eating them.

It's a nice idea, but, unfortunately, the myth of the negative calorie food seems to be based on a misunderstanding. We do use some energy to digest our food, but it's a pretty small proportion of the total number of calories we use in a day, accounting for between only five to fifteen percent of our BMR.

It's also true that the type of food we eat impacts how much of that food gets absorbed. On average, twenty to thirty percent of the calories consumed in a protein will be used in digesting it, as will five to fifteen percent of those consumed in carbohydrates.

Fat has the worst ratio, as digesting it only takes between 0 and 3 percent of the calories it contains, which is why we limit fat intake so strictly on the 123Diet.

How a food is cooked or prepared also affects how many calories we will absorb from it. Raw veggies, for instance, take more calories to digest than cooked ones, and we will burn more calories eating whole fruit than drinking a fruit smoothie.

It has also been shown that while people only used 10 percent of the energy contained in a processed meal to digest it, they used twice as much (20 percent) to digest a similar meal made up of less processed whole foods.


Furthermore, a study that tested the metabolic effect of the commonly touted "negative calorie food" celery in lizards showed that they retained at least a quarter of the calories they consumed. Granted, we are not lizards, but most experts still think that the amount of calories we use to digest a food being larger than the amount of calories in the food is incredibly unlikely.One study also showed that a diet of "negative-calorie-foods" wasn't any more effective for weight loss than an ordinary low-calorie diet. However, both diets were indeed effective. This is not because "negative-calorie" foods have any special fat-burning properties but simply because they are healthy, satiating low-calorie foods that are very difficult to overeat.

For example, if our metabolism is anything like a lizard's, the amount of calories we would absorb from a sixteen calorie cup of celery would be about four. Therefore, while they are not negative calorie foods, it would probably be safe to call most of the vegetables allowed on Phase 2 of the 123Diet negligible calorie foods.

Kale, spinach, celery, lettuce, arugula, chard, radishes and cucumbers all have less than twenty calories per cup. Asparagus has less than thirty, tomatoes and cabbage have less than forty, and even onions, the highest calorie vegetable on our list, comes in at under seventy—and how many of us were planning to eat a whole cup of onion anyhow?

Other negligible-calorie foods you can experiment with once you've reached phase 3 of the 123Diet are zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, and mushrooms, which all contain under forty calories per cup.

Though some fruits are also sometimes called negative-calorie, their comparatively high calorie and sugar content means that these claims make even less sense than the claims about veggies, hence why fruit is more strictly regulated on the 123Diet.

Finally, while there is no such thing as a negative calorie food, there is, at least theoretically, a such thing as a negative calorie drink. Drinking enough calorie free cold water, or, if you're really committed, eating ice cubes, should cause you to burn a small amount of extra calories as your body works to warm itself back up.

Unsweetened tea and coffee also have practically no calories, plus the caffeine in them can have a metabolism-boosting effect, leading to a negative calorie impact overall. It's also possible to end up in the calorie-negative if you chew a piece of gum longer than is required to burn off the minimal calories it contains. However, all of these effects are so minuscule as to be of no real use unless you're also eating a healthy diet.

The last piece of good news about negative calorie foods is that you in no way need them to lose weight. Our signature fat-burning drops, which contain green tea extract along with a variety of other natural metabolism-boosting ingredients, are more than enough to ensure weight loss when combined with our healthy meal plan.

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