Are negative calorie foods healthy?
Nutritionists have debated for years around the label of ‘zero calorie’ foods, and because calories in vs. calories used when digesting is not an exact science as everybody has a different metabolic rate and processes food differently. Therefore ‘zero calorie; is not a tagline many health professionals are willing to use. To say that your body burns more calories digesting the food than the food actually contains has not definitely been proven. One thing nutritionists can agree on though is that there are foods, namely fruits and vegetables, that are very low in calories and very good for you.
It is not recommended that you eat only these foods however, as everyone needs to eat a certain amount of calories every day to have their body function properly and these ‘zero calorie’ foods won’t give you enough calories or provide a balanced diet in the long term. Following any extreme diet can be dangerous to your health and these low calorie foods are meant to be eaten as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
8 'zero calorie’ foods
Strawberries are well loved for their juicy sweetness and bright red colour. The seasonal berry is versatile and can be used in salads, baking or eaten alone as a snack.
Calorie count: 32 calories per 100 grams
Nutrition: Strawberries contain polyphenols which are believed to have a preventive effect against heart disease. They contain antioxidants, potassium, fibre, vitamin C and are low in fat.
Watermelon, like many melons, are considered a dieters best friend as they can be eaten in large portions and are low in calories. Watermelon is 91% water which is why it is so low in calories. Refreshing watermelon can be used in salads, eaten alone or blended into delicious smoothies.
Calorie count: 30 calories per 100 grams
Nutrition: Watermelon contains no fat. It is a source of vitamins C, B5 and A. It also contains potassium and copper (a mineral bodies need), amino acid citrulline and the antioxidant lycopene.
3. Green apple
Green apple, also known as Granny Smith apple, are a tart but tasty apple variety that can be found all year round in supermarkets. They’re great as a snack or served on cereal or yoghurt.
Calorie count: 58 calories per 100 grams
Nutrition: Green apples contain procyanidins (a type of flavonoid that lowers bad cholesterol), polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamin A and a high fibre count.
Leafy greens are an important part of any diet and broccoli is considered a leafy green. While many only eat the top (or ’leaves’), the stalk of broccoli can be eaten also. Broccoli is great in many savoury dishes such as stir fries, vegetable bakes or as a healthy side at dinner.
Calorie count: 33 calories per 100 grams
Nutrition: Unlike most vegetables, broccoli contains iron and protein. It is also a rich source of fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K and antioxidants.
The long fibrous stalks of celery makes it a filling and satisfying snack with crunch. It can be eaten cooked or raw in a variety of dishes such as salads and soups. Celery is also more recently consumed in the health community as a juice.
Calorie count: 18 calories per 100 grams
Nutrition: Celery contains no fat and is low in carbohydrates. It is high in fibre, vitamin K, vitamin A, potassium and folate.
Kale is a green and leafy cruciferous vegetable that has been growing in popularity over the last few years as an alternative to spinach. It can be cooked into savoury dishes, baked into kale ‘chips’ or eaten in salad.
Calorie count: 28 calories per 100 grams
Nutrition: Kale contains potassium, calcium, fibre, vitamin K and chlorophyll (which is beneficial in detoxing).
Lettuce comes in many varieties, shapes and sizes, but all are healthy for you and pack a nutritional punch. Whether purple, iceberg, butter, romaine or cos, lettuce is a great base for salads or on sandwiches.
Calorie count: 17 calories per 100 grams
Nutrition: Lettuce is a source of calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and folate.
The image of half a grapefruit for breakfast is one of the most enduring diet culture images, but grapefruit is a delicious and healthy fruit from the citrus family that shouldn’t be overlooked. Whether you prefer the sweeter pink grapefruit, or the more tart yellow grapefruit, both are well suited to being used in fruit salads, as a snack or in fresh juices.
Calorie count: 42 calories per 100 grams
Nutrition: Grapefruit are a rich source of vitamin A, C, B1 and B5. They contain antioxidants, phytonutrients and are low in saturated fat.