Some “experts” believe you can eat your way into a calorie deficit with this list of special foods.

Can You Lose Weight With Negative Calorie Foods?

Written by Russ Howe PTI, and most recently updated 1 day ago.

2 min read

Social media fitness gurus are currently telling people they can eat their way into a calorie deficit using so-called negative calorie foods.

So what in the Gwyneth Paltrow is a negative calorie food, you ask?

Well, it all revolves around the thermic effect of food. This refers to the amount of energy your body uses to break down food, and a so-called negative calorie food is said to contain fewer calories than is required to digest it (i.e. if a carrot stick contains 5 calories but the body expends 15 calories breaking it down, this would be described as a negative calorie food).

So is it really possible to eat your way into a calorie deficit?

Of course it’s fucking not!

Negative Calorie Foods Do Not Exist

A picture showing so-called negative calorie foods.

The general rule of “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is” applies here.

You see, it’s not physically possible for the body to expend more calories breaking down a food than contained within the food itself. This defies the law of thermodynamics, and is a special kind of woo which has been dreamt up by a self-appointed “expert” who, I can only imagine, spends their spare time stapling their tongue to their forehead.

When asking for examples of negative calorie foods, this is what you can expect to see:

Examples Of So-Called Negative Calorie Foods
LettuceWatermelon+ other water-based snacks

(FYI there are 116 calories in an apple, and they’re definitely not negative!)

The reason negative calorie foods do not (and will never) exist is because the thermic effect of food is too small. It equates to about 10% of the food which has been eaten, and there has never been an instance of any food with a thermic effect which is greater than 10%, which makes negative calorie foods physically impossible.

Also, anybody who is encouraging people to look for shortcuts like this may be unwittingly opening a Pandora’s Box of problems for them.

In my 20+ years working as a personal trainer, most of the of food-based behaviours clients wanted help with were created very early in their life. It takes time, patience and discipline to break these habits and create a healthier lifestyle – so it doesn’t help when some cock taboggan basically claims that you can eat all you want and still lose weight.

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I’m Russ. I’ve been a personal trainer since 2002, and I own

My job is to simplify fitness for my readers.

I send out free fitness tips to over 100,000 men and women every week, all in the same no-nonsense style as the article you’ve just read, so if you enjoyed reading it be sure to jump on my email list below.

3 responses to “Can You Lose Weight With Negative Calorie Foods?”

  1. Richie avatar

    Yet again another hilarious but informative blog from you Russ!!

  2. Tamara avatar

    I don’t know how you’ve worked in the fitness industry for so long Russ, the things people say must drive you insane! I guess this would be like paying for your shopping and expecting to get more change back 😀

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