You have probably heard of negative calories, a theory that states that some foods use up more energy to digest than the calories they contain.

What is a Calorie?

People are constantly checking food labels and counting calories without really understanding what a calorie is. A calorie is the amount of energy stored in a particular food. High calorie foods have more energy than low calorie foods, and foods that contain lots of water are low in calories.

The amount of calories you need per day depends on your sex, weight, height, activity levels, and health status. There is no ‘one size fits all’ figure.

So Do Negative Calorie Foods Exist?

Celery and cucumber are commonly referred to as negative calorie foods, but in reality there are no foods out there that provide our bodies with negative calories. Most foods use up 5-20% of their calorie content for digestion. For example, a food that contains 100 calories will use up 20 calories for processing and digestion, and the remaining 80 calories will stay in your body.

That being said; foods such as celery, grapefruit, mushrooms, onions, spinach, and lettuce are impressively low in calories while being high in fibre and micronutrients. They are great foods to add to your diet if you are looking to lose weight, as they will fill you up and nourish you without packing on calories. So, although they are not negative in calories, they will aid in weight loss and contribute positively to your health.

Although most people don’t like to hear it, the most effective and sustainable way of losing weight is a well tailored plan combining healthy eating habits with exercise; a real calorie deficit approach rather than focusing on specific foods to burn calories or boost your metabolism. Shortcuts don’t exist when it comes to nutrition.