Energy in foods can be measured using various methods. One of the measures of energy is calorie. 1 calorie is equivalent to 4.184 joule.
Our body needs energy to maintain various bodily and biological functions. One such function is digesting food, for which body burns the calories or energy. The foods that use more energy to be digested than the energy or calories they actually have are called negative calorie food. This definitely does not mean that these foods don’t have any calorific value.
The basic principle of losing weight is to lose more calories than you consume. It can be done in many ways, and one of the best ways is to exercise regularly and maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy food. Eating negative calorie foods aids this process of losing weight by using up more energy or calories in digestion compared to the calories they contain.
Calorie is a unit of energy and it has some value. It can be low or high. A food may have 500 calories. When we eat such foods, 100 calories may be used to digest that food. Rest 400 calories are stored in our body as fat. Our body uses 10-20% of calorie intake for digesting and absorbing the food we eat. No food is calorie free, but eating the foods that are rich in water and fiber give bulk and volume to your diet. And eating negative calorie foods help in losing stored fat in the body.
Now, when we eat foods that have negative calorie value, e.g. celery, it has very less calories but it may require much more calories to digest it. And these calories come from the fat of our body. As a result, there is net loss of few calories or fat.
Every food we eat has the following:-
- Nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats etc)
Vitamins in the food are responsible for producing enzymes to breakdown the calories contained in the food. Negative calorie foods have enough vitamins and they produce enzymes which are sufficient to break down not only the calories that they contain, but also additional calories as well. It is called “negative calorie effect”. Negative calorie foods must not be thought as foods that do not have any calories.
Proteins are good source of amino acids. So, if we take negative calorie foods along with foods that are rich in proteins, it will help you eat less and at the same time the amino acids are maintained at a certain level which prevents loss of muscle.
Many fruits and vegetables that have negative calorie effect are :-.
- cabbage (green)
- celeriac (celery root)
- celery chicory
- Chile peppers (hot)
- garden cress
- green beans
- lamb's lettuce
- lemon mango
When you are trying to lose weight, in addition to your other efforts, negative calorie foods can also help. As these are natural, there are no side effects. Try to replace the high calorie foods with such foods.
.It is not advisable to stay on such diets for a long time. Negative calorie foods are good after a period of consuming high fat and calorie foods. It usually happens during vacations. Such foods are a good way to cleanse your system and detoxicate it. After the procedure of cleansing the system is over, you must get back to the normal food, gradually. Don’t make any sudden changes.
It is better to prefer consuming less of these foods. These foods also have acids that are harmful to the body. Plan and schedule your diet. Eat slowly and chew your food. It is more enjoyable and burns more calories. As far as possible, such foods must be eaten raw.
Vary your diet. Try to eat different negative calorie foods through out the day so that you get different nutrients required by the body each time.
Negative energy foods are however still under debate. It is yet not proved if they are fact or fiction. What causes these foods to consume more calories than they actually have is still largely unknown. Celery is one such food which is said to have this effect. But the reason could also be that it has sealed energy which makes the digestive system to work harder to get the energy out of it. Even if negative calorie food is not the wonder diet as it is thought to be, it is still a very healthy way to eat.