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Zero Calorie Foods For Healthy Weight Loss 2023 – What Foods Have Zero Calories?
When trying to lose weight, the most likely saboteur to beware of is high-calorie foods. Calories are simply the potential energy that is in food. Therefore, when trying to lose weight, typically a person focuses on eating less calorie intake than what they burn, resulting in a calorie deficit that results in weight loss. If you are trying to eat fewer calories than you burn for this calorie deficit, you might wonder what foods can help you on your weight loss journey. Specifically, you might wonder if there is any negative or zero-calorie food.
The term zero or negative calorie diet (NCD) refers to a diet that burns more calories to consume and digest than calories the food contains. If these negative calorie foods existed, you could lose weight by sitting at home on the couch eating them.
What Foods Have Zero Calories?
- Vegetables: Bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, spinach
- Fruits: Apples, blueberries, cantaloupe, tomatoes, grapefruit
- Meat and fish: Chicken breast, cod, venison
- Beverages: Apple vider Vinegarv, seltzerseltzera, water, tea
Best Zero Calorie Foods List
Traditionally, most fruits, vegetables, and other superfoods are termed negative calorie foods as they are mostly made of water and significant amounts of fiber. The reality, however, is that there is no such thing as a negative-calorie food. Every food contains calories, and no research shows any evidence that any food requires additional calories to digest than is currently provided in the food itself.
A 2019 study that measured the gain/loss ratios of the much-touted “negative calorie” food, celery, determined that such a designation is probably a myth.
However, do not despair. Even though 0-calorie foods and snacks most likely do not exist, many of the foods that are seen as negative or zero calories are some of the most nutritious on the planet and contain very few calories. Additionally, since these foods are low in calories, high in fiber, and high in water content, you can typically eat huge servings without feeling remorseful.
Regardless of the negative calorie in reality disappointment, the bright side is that they are still very low-calorie and can be very important in a low-calorie diet used for weight loss.
Keep in mind, however, that being healthy is about more than weight and cutting calories. Instead, being healthy is primarily about focusing on nutrient-dense foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and other components your body needs.
Below is a “negative calorie” list with foods abundant in nutrition and minimal in calories.
These brightly colored vegetables have a fabulous crunchy texture and are incredibly easy to add to your diet. Additionally, they will provide you with excellent nutrition, such as vitamins A and C, potassium, and lots of dietary fiber.
Broccoli contains vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, iron, and fiber. Interestingly, broccoli also contains about 2 grams of protein per 1 cup serving, which is rare for vegetables. Therefore, broccoli is a great choice to get in some additional protein if you are looking for low-calorie meals and are a vegetarian. Additionally, some studies show eating veggies such as broccoli might decrease your risk of cancer and heart disease.
Carrots come in colors other than the widely known orange. For example, there are varieties of white and even purple carrots on the market. All carrots are rich in a potent antioxidant called carotenoids. These types of antioxidants are beneficial for healthy vision since they support the macula, the area of visual acuity on the retina that can experience age-related macular degeneration.
Cauliflower is another chameleon that has recently emerged in the health food market. You can find cauliflower as several different substitutes, from pizza crust to rice. Trying these cauliflower substitutes is an excellent way to cut out some unnecessary carbohydrates and calories. Cauliflower is also high in antioxidants and fiber.
Again, celery is almost made up entirely of water. Plus, it contains antioxidants, calcium, and potassium, in terms of health benefits, and fiber. It is also inexpensive, making it a great low-calorie food to buy if you are on a budget.
Cucumbers are almost all water (96%), yet they are rich in vitamins C, K, and magnesium. A one-cup serving will only set you back about 15 calories; therefore, if you are looking for low-calorie foods you can eat a lot of, cucumbers are the answer.
Spinach is the chameleon of vegetables. It takes on any flavor it is surrounded by. Therefore, it is easily added to soups, smoothies, or even an egg omelet to start your day off with a massive boost of nutrition. This green leaf packs calcium, iron, vitamin C, and magnesium.
It doesn’t matter the kind of apple (Fuji, Gala, red delicious, etc.). All are low in calories and high in fiber, making them an excellent snack or addition to oatmeal and other hot cereals. Apples will start your day with a rich serving of nutrients and fiber.
These tiny blue jewels are loaded with antioxidants that help fight off free radicals (damaging products of metabolism) within the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause horrible diseases such as diabetes and cancer. These berries can help not only with disease prevention but also weight loss. Plus, they have lots of vitamin C to help your immune system during cold and flu season.
Most melons are very high in water content, making them an excellent choice for weight loss. In addition, cantaloupe provides almost your entire daily needs for vitamins A and C in just one serving!
The rich red, the signature color for tomatoes, comes from a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. Lycopene provides many things for your body, such as cancer prevention and heart protection.
Just like tomatoes, grapefruit contains lots of lycopene. It’s bursting with tons of vitamin C as well. It has a unique flavor that is tart yet sweet. Be careful if you are eating grapefruit for the first time, as it can interact with many medications. If you are on medications or have a medical condition, consult with your health professional first.
Meat And Fish
There is a reason why people desiring to build muscle are always eating chicken breast. It provides a considerable amount of protein with meager calories. One 3-ounce serving provides 140 calories with a monumental 26 grams of protein. In addition, protein provides satiation, which is essential when trying to lose weight.
Like other types of fish, cod is a low-calorie food that is high in protein. One serving of cod (3 ounces) will only set you back 80 calories, but it will provide you with almost 20 grams of protein. It is also high in niacin, vitamin B12, and phosphorus, making it a great energy-giving food.
Venison, or deer meat, is very lean but has lots of protein in each serving. One serving (4 ounces) provides only 130 calories but provides you with 25 grams of protein. Venison has a rich flavor that goes well with soups and stews.
If you are looking for more high-protein foods to fit into your weight loss diet, check out Health Canal’s list of high-protein foods. And if you want a low-calorie protein powder, check out our favorites here.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been studied for many possible health benefits. One of these benefits is the potential to increase a person’s satiety and thus lead to weight loss by eating fewer calories.
A study showed that taking vinegar increased a person’s level of fullness and caused participations to eat approximately 250 calories less daily than the control group. In addition, ACV is very low in calories (3 calories per Tbsp).
As stated before, water is the only 0-calorie food, and seltzer water (which is a fancy term for carbonated water) is also 0 calories. Plus, it contains additional minerals which are beneficial for your health. Water, of any kind, has been verified to help with weight loss on many levels.
There is a multitude of different teas on the market today. All are zero to minimal calories. Teas also typically contain many plant compounds with varying health benefits, from cancer prevention to protection from diabetes. Whichever type of tea you choose, ensure you add low-calorie mix-ins that will not undermine the otherwise nutritious drink.
*For additional information about low-calorie foods, check out this low-calorie food chart provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also gives tips on making lower-calorie swaps in recipes and composing a healthy eating plan.
Are Zero Calorie Foods Healthy?
When you are on your weight loss journey creating a calorie deficit may seem like the most beneficial way to lose weight.
However, it is possible to decrease your calories too much or leave out what you may actually need in the way of fat, for example; fat is involved in building the cell membranes of all the body’s tissues and organs, as well as makes possible absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. And too much fiber can decrease absorption of zinc, iron, and calcium.
Globally, if your body doesn’t have adequate energy from calories, you might see some adverse effects, such as
- Decreased energy
- Impaired immune system
- Nutritional deficiencies
Therefore, aim to decrease your daily calories by about 500 per day but within the framework of a healthy diet. This will give you a gradual and healthy weight loss and result in about a pound weekly of lost weight.
To decrease your calories by 500 daily, you can swap some high-calorie foods for low-calorie foods, such as switching regular white rice to cauliflower rice. You can also incorporate physical activity into your regimen.
If you notice sluggishness or fatigue, consider giving your body more calories. You can also consult a registered dietitian about a meal plan and healthy weight-loss strategy that will work specifically for you.
The Bottom Line
Starting a weight loss journey can be challenging, but don’t be fooled by the hype of what are called negative calorie foods. Yet, while not being the fairy tale negative or 0-calorie foods, their low-calorie attributes make them important for the weight loss journey.
However, if you have cravings, many low-calorie food and drink options meet those cravings and will not make you feel deprived. There are also lots of low-calorie yet high-nutrient-dense foods to include in your diet, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, and beverages that will give your diet plenty of variety and provide weight loss.
Be mindful, though, of how your body feels on a lower-calorie diet. If you feel tired or weak, you might be restricting yourself too much and depriving yourself of essential nutrients to function correctly. A registered dietitian can help you on your weight loss journey. And lastly, consider incorporating low-calorie foods and physical activity into your daily regimen to provide long-term healthy habits and lasting weight loss.
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