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Are there really foods that are negative calories, like celery and broccoli?

On Sunday, February 15, 2009 by dotFIT experts

Answer: Negative calorie foods are a myth. It is a common misconception that foods high in fiber such as the ones mentioned above burn more calories during digestion than they contain. It’s true that your body doesn’t absorb fiber, but it does absorb the calories associated within the fibrous food. For example, the act of chewing gum burns 11 calories per hour (.183 calories/min). Applying this to a 2 oz serving of celery that contains 8 calories, it would take 43 minutes of chewing to burn 8 calories! No one has that kind of time or could live with a diet that contains a high percentage of total calories coming from these types of foods. The bottom line is you could not include enough of these foods nor chew each one as mentioned in order to make any significant contribution to weight/fat loss.

Fiber-rich foods that are low in calories may aid in weight loss by providing greater volume than, for example, an energy-dense, low volume cheeseburger. Added fiber in the diet may lower your risk of digestive disorders, improve blood cholesterol and reduce diabetes risk. Women under the age of 50 should strive for 25 grams per day while men 50 years and younger should consume 38 grams/day. If you are over the age of 50, the recommendation is 30 and 21 grams for males and females respectively.

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dotFIT
Nov 28, 2011, 06:18 PM
Thermic affect of food, also called Diet Induced Thermogenesis, is factored in on the calorie expenditure side of things. Generally 10% of total calorie intake is considered to be attributed to the work required to digest, absorb, etc the food eaten. Diet composition can certainly affect this. A high complex carbohydrate diet and even higher protein diets can yield a DIT of up to 15%, whereas a high fat diet can dip to as low as 5%. A few food items will likely have a very minor impact, but a more committed dietary approach can be significant. Keep in mind that calorie content of foods, such as celery, take into account the indigestible fiber portion...so calories take this into account on the front end. Also to your point cooked vs uncooked may make a difference in calorie yield as well. Cooking may make some foods more digestible and therefore yield more calories.
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TheRUSH247-Oak Ridge
Nov 27, 2011, 11:05 PM
I agree with the above statement where negative calories are concerned, however they make no mention of the thermic effect and the calories needed to digest the food. Foods higher in fiber would take longer to digest and would use up more energy. So in the long run the net caloric value of the item consumed would be much less then the total caloric potential of the same item. What are your thoughts?
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