The Negative Calorie Diet – Potential Weight Loss Aid or Fad Diet?

Among popular diets, the negative calorie diet (sometimes known as the zero calorie diet) is certainly unique, at least in its approach. The diet plan works on the premise that eating certain foods with low calories can lead to effective weight loss, since they require more caloric energy to digest them.

It has its fair share of staunch supporters who claim that a loss of two pounds everyday is possible under the diet plan, a feat that sounds optimistic but highly unlikely.

Negative Calorie Foods

The weight loss program includes eating low calorie foods that largely consist of fruits and vegetables with high fiber content. Vegetables like lettuce, celery, broccoli, carrot, beets, cucumber, green beans, spinach, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, asparagus, garlic, radish and zucchini are rich sources of fiber and have low calorie content. The diet plan also recommends the consumption of fruits like mangoes, peaches, watermelon, cranberry, apples, strawberries, oranges and pineapple.

Generous quantities of the said fruits and vegetables will help a dieter to ingest fewer calories and burn fat to digest them, hence the concept of negative calories.

The Verdict on the Negative Calorie Diet

Here’s where the confusion begins; all foods contain calories so how can they cause weight loss? It is true that eating low calorie foods can keep weight gain at bay, but this is largely because they substitute high calorie foods. Health experts have asserted that there isn’t sufficient research to support the diet’s ‘negative calorie foods’. Many have slammed it as a fad diet saying that it lacks scientific backing for its claims.

While it is true that eating fruits and vegetables is nutritious, they cannot substitute the protein or fat requirements that form part of a balanced diet. As such, it is generally accepted that the negative calorie diet works only up to a point. It is correct as far as its recommendations on fibrous foods go. Starting a meal with a large low calorie salad works well, since the calorie intake during the rest of the meal, will be decidedly less.

As far as I have seen, the negative calorie diet does not constitute systematic weight loss. Only a wholesome balanced diet coupled with plenty of exercise can lead to substantial weight loss.