Thursday, March 26, 2009

Diet: Negative Calorie Diet

The concept of a food with negative calories seems like a joke. Many fad diets are about foods with ‘magical’ properties, and many offer only very temporary weight loss solutions - and who can maintain a monotonous diet of only one or two foods?

There are no foods with a negative calorie value. However it can be possible to obtain a ‘negative’ calorie effect.
Negative Calorie Effect

Fibrous complex carbohydrates are generally good for us. The American Heart Association recommends that 55% of our daily calories should come from complex carbohydrates. Fiber (in the correct amounts) is good for the digestive process, helping food to be processed and eliminated efficiently (it keeps us running smoothly!) - and can prevent gastro-intestinal ailments.

What is a fibrous complex carbohydrate? Green vegetables.

Green vegetables are low in calories. You can eat a lot of them without getting fat - yet at the same time the fibrous content can ‘fill you up’. There are some green vegetables in particular that are very low in calories.

Every food requires some energy in order to digest it (called the thermic effect of food). Some green vegetables may actually have some of their calories burnt up just to digest them. This is the "negative calorie" process. When a person eats a piece of food the first thing that happens is chewing and this action consumes energy. Foods that are higher in stringy fibers, such as celery, generally require more chewing, and hence more energy expenditure, than other foods such as cake which do not require as much chewing. After chewing, the food is moved down the esophagus and into the stomach, where it begins to be broken down as it mixes with stomach acid. Then it is moved into the small intestine where it is liquefied and absorption into the body begins. Then the mass moves into the large intestine where fluids are absorbed and then the residual mass is excreted.

The Negative Calorie diet believes that this entire process of digestion uses many calories, and so by eating foods that are low in calories, and take longer to digest, the body will actually be using more calories than are taken by processing the foods. The diet claims that these extra calories required for digestion are taken from fat stores in the body, and that the more of these negative calorie foods the dieter eats, the more weight will be lost.

The Negative Calorie diet gives, as an example, the net calorie consumption from eating broccoli. It says that if you eat a serving of 100 grams of broccoli, which contains 25 calories, it will take the body 80 calories worth of energy to digest it. This results in a negative net calorie use of 55 calories which are supposed to be taken from fat stores on the body. As a counter example the diet says that if a dieter eats a piece of cake that contains 400 calories, it will take the body 150 calories to digest it, and the net 250 calories taken into the body will be stored as fat.

The Negative Calorie diet contains more than 100 foods which are considered negative calorie. These are mostly fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber. Some of the vegetables include: asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, chilies, garlic, lettuce, spinach, and zucchini. Some fruits considered negative calorie include: apples, grapefruits, lemons, oranges, and pineapple.

There are 3 diet plans that a dieter can select from, depending on how fast the dieter wants to lose weight. Also provided are a variety of recipes and suggestions for how to continue to include negative calorie foods in the diet once the desired weight loss has been achieved.

The diet says that eating these negative calorie foods can actually increase the body's metabolism. One suggestion is breathing better and more deeply. The diet says that this will increase metabolism and let the body rid itself of toxins. The diet also provides a set of exercises. It claims that the three exercises provided will tone 85% of the body's muscles. These exercises are recommended to be done for 15 minutes, three times a week.

The Negative Calorie diet claims that dieters can lose up to 14 pounds in 7 days. Although this has not been proven, there are many benefits to a diet that includes many of the foods on the negative calorie list. Eating a diet that includes many different fruits and vegetables will provide a dieter with many vitamins and minerals that are important to good health.

Including many of the foods listed as negative calorie foods may be able to help promote weight loss if part of an otherwise balanced and healthy diet. This is because foods that are low in calories, but full of fiber, can make the dieter feel fuller after eating fewer calories, and because fibrous foods may take longer for the stomach to break down, they may help the dieter to feel full longer. There are many benefits to losing weight if it is done at a moderate pace through healthy eating and increased exercise. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many other diseases and conditions. Losing weight can reduce the risks of these and other obesity-related diseases as well as may be able reduce the severity of the symptoms if the diseases have already occurred.

There are some risks with any diet, and these risks are often especially great when the diet severely limits the foods that can be eaten. It is often difficult to get enough of some vitamins and minerals when eating a limited variety of foods. The Negative Calorie diet limits the dieter mainly to the list of foods that are believed to be negative calorie. Although these foods are fruits and vegetables, which are good sources of many important vitamins and minerals, they are not enough to maintain good health.

The Negative Calorie diet limits dairy products, as they are not considered to be negative calorie. Because these foods are excellent sources of calcium, it is possible that people who do not eat any of these foods may not get enough calcium in their diet. Lack of calcium can lead to many different disease and conditions such as osteoporosis and rickets. Anyone considering this diet might want to consider taking a supplement or vitamin to help reduce the risk of this and other similar deficiencies.

Protein and fat are also not included in any of the foods that are considered to be negative calorie. Although too much fat in the diet can be harmful, some is required to maintain good health. Protein is also necessary for good health. Not getting enough protein can have many negative effects on the body and people considering this diet should closely monitor their intake to make sure that they are getting enough.

The Negative Calorie diet severely limits the intake of dairy products for dieters. Dairy products are generally considered to be part of a healthy diet. MyPyramid recommends the equivalent of 3 cups of low-fat or non-fat dairy per day for healthy adults. Following the Negative Calorie diet would generally not meet this recommendation.

Starches and grains are also severely restricted on the Negative Calorie diet. Whole grains are generally considered a necessary and important part of any healthy diet. MyPyramid recommends that healthy adults eat the equivalent of 3 to 4 ounces of grains each day, of which at least half should be whole grains. The Negative Calorie diet would not generally meet this recommendation.

Weight Loss From Negative Calorie Diet

It is likely that all weight loss on the Negative Calorie Diet comes simply from consuming low calories. It is very unlikely that any diet consisting of a certain group of foods will have any ‘magical’ properties.

Fibrous vegetables are filling, very nutritious yet low in calories - any diet consisting of large portions of vegetables will aid in weight loss.

Vegetables Fruits Liquids Spices
Asparagus Apple Ice Cinnamon
Beet root Blueberries Diet soda
Broccoli Cantaloupe
Cabbage Cranberry
Carrot Grapefruit
Cauliflower Honeydew
Celery Lemon/Lime
Chicory Mango
Hot chili oil Orange

Garden cress Peach
Garlic Pineapple
Green bean Raspberry
Lettuce Strawberry
Onion Tomato
Radish Tangerine
Spinach Turnip