are negative calorie foods real


A “negative calorie food” is something which requires more calories to digest than it actually contains.

The theory revolves around the thermic effect of food (i.e. how many calories our body expends breaking that food down in order to use it for fuel).


If a food contains 5 calories but the body burns through 15 calories digesting it, this would be described as a negative calorie food.

Earlier this year the topic caught on trend, with many social media “influencers” proclaiming you could essentially eat your way into a calorie deficit by gorging on these so-called miracle foods including celery, lettuce, berries, broccoli, apples, watermelon, and grapefruit.

So with that in mind, here’s my top 5 negative calorie foods:

  1. They don’t exist
  2. They don’t exist
  3. They don’t exist
  4. They don’t exist
  5. They don’t exist

are negative calorie foods real


I’m always up for shredding body fat, but “negative calorie foods” are nothing more than the latest in the long line of social media bulls**t which simply defies logic.

Ask for a list of these so-called magical foods and you’ll just get a list of good old fruits and vegetables. But while they’re great for your health, they’re definitely not free.

You know how many calories there are in an apple? 116.

But let’s go deeper…

There are two reasons they don’t work.

do negative calorie foods exist
  • The Thermic Effect Of Food Is Too Small

The thermic effect of food is a real thing, but it’s nowhere near as powerful as “gurus” claim.

The U.S. Department of Agrigulture confirms that the thermic effect of food maxes out at 10% (in many foods it’s even lower). This means if you eat something which contains 10 calories, it would only take 1 calorie to break it down and use it for fuel.

It’s like saying you can spend spend $10 and receive $20 change.

Essentially, there is no such thing as a “negative calorie food”.

  • It Creates An Unhealthy Relationship With Food

A successful body transformation doesn’t only require you to eat better food, it also requires you to build a better relationship with food.

Sometimes this involves working hard to change behaviours which have been with you for years.

Think about it; a high stress day can leave you craving junk food, and even though you really want to lose weight, you mentally associate that mountain of junk food with ‘happiness’. It takes time to change these emotional connections.

Heck, people are right when they say “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.”

The idea of so-called “negative calorie foods” does not help us to create a better relationship with food, because when people hear that they can “eat all of this and not gain weight!” most people imagine binge eating themselves to weight loss.

And that doesn’t work.

negative calorie foods

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