Negative Calorie Diet

the-negative-calorie-dietThe 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.

Example Green Vegetables

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Zucchini (courgette)

Proponents of the Negative Calorie Diet suggest that eating a stick of celery (5 calories) will burn up 95 calories.

This is pure speculation and lacks scientific basis.

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.

To benefit from negative calorie foods, simply include a lot of them in your reduced calorie diet.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Barnard, N. D., Brown, J., & Bates, D. R. (1999). Foods that Cause You to Lose Weight: The Negative Calorie Effect. Whole Care, an Avon Book. link
  • Drewnowski, A. (2005). Concept of a nutritious food: toward a nutrient density score. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 82(4), 721-732. link

32 Comments or Reviews

Comments now closed
  1. RainbowJewel190

    Realistically, there is no magical food or single type of foods that will help you lose weight immediately. Instead of trying to eat β€œnegative-calorie foods,” focus on the positives that can lead to real lifestyle changes, like portion control, appropriate food choices, consistent exercise, and balance.

  2. guywitharms

    By the way “guywithabs”, we all have abs, stupid.

  3. Kimmy

    I Think That The “Neqative Calories” Does Work. I’ve Been Eating Fruits More For The Past Three Months And I’ve Dropped Almost 15lbs.! That Miqht Not Sound Like Alot To You but For Me Its Awsome.!!(: My Eatinq Habbits Didnt Really Chanqe At First But The More I Eat Fruits The Fuller I Get And Sometimes An Entire Meal Is Too Much For Me Too Eat. I Can Get Full Off A Hot N Spicey And Medium Fries From Mc Donalds…Thats Not Much But Thats Alot To Me. And Plus Fruits And Veggies Are Hiqh In Fiber So Duhh Of Course Your Gonna Lose Somethinq.!

  4. Bethania

    i wanna try this diet xcept add lean meats, lo-fat dairy, and whole grains with lots of water and a vitamin supplement. Exercise 2!

  5. your mom

    wow, u guys are angry

  6. Angela

    Well, “GUY WITH ABS” I don’t believe you, there is no picture… you’re probably fat as hell.

  7. Angela

    Well, ERIN, I am 18 years old, and just to stick up for the 15 year olds, we haven’t played with barbies and G.I. Joes in like, 10 years… if not longer, so why don’t you shut your fat ass up because obviously you don’t know what you’re talking about… and you really shouldn’t be giving “advise” to people either, because you can’t even correctly spell “advice”. But nice try… you should probably take a spelling class… πŸ™‚

  8. tuhok

    A doctor once told me “If you eat a ton of celery, you will weigh a ton.” The same is to be said about muscle weighing more than fat. A pound is a pound is a pound. The difference is that muscle is more condensed and is in a smaller mass for the same amount of weight, therefore you are smaller if you have more muscle than fat. Most negative calorie foods are natural, good for you and will promote weight loss, but balance and moderation of all food groups is key if you expect to stay on any food plan. So eat negative calorie foods, just not exclusively or the lbs will just return.

  9. anonymous

    The “official” ebook is a total con! Do not buy this, its nothing you don’t know already!!

  10. Anonymous

    OK, I am in college and I asked my NUTRITION PROFESSOR about this diet. Yes, a low protien diet will make you lose weight. But the weight that you lose is not from fat, it is from muscle. Muscle holds a lot of water weight so that is why you lose weight so fast. But when your body isn’t getting the 2000 calories a day it needs it starts breaking down muscles. Also, anyone on this diet will be defficient in fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Just think about it, you are completely eliminating 2 of the 3 main food sources. This is not a good diet!

  11. JustMe


    Thank you SO much for the information! It totally makes sense. I have heard of that sort of thing before, but having it plainly explained helps.

    Thanks again, and take care! =)

  12. JustMe

    “Guywithabs” – Get over yourself! How do YOU know you are in better shape than any of “us”. And if that were true, what the h*ll are you doing HERE?! Give me a break, dude! lol

  13. guywithabs

    Hi, I’m 20, and in better shape than any of you. This is the most retarded “diet” I’ve ever seen. If you do this, I guarantee you’ll yo-yo back to and beyond your initial weight. And any weight you do lose on this “diet” will be water and muscle.

  14. Ally

    At the minute, im in the process of becoming a personal training and have just attended an non-medical nutrition course.

    The first point i have to make is that metabolism is the rate at which the body burn calories to maintain itself.

    You can increase your metabolic rate by taking up exercise. Lean muscle burns up alot of calories so take up some light weight bearing activities to build up lean muscles. The more lean muscle you have the more your body will burn calories at rest. Also, by doing cardiovascular exercise you will lose weight aswell. Moderation is the key.

    Indead, if you take up this diet (which i dont recommend) you will not only lose body FAT (yeah!) but you will also lose LEAN MUSCLES (no!)

    This is turn will decrease your metabolic rate more which you dont want to do.

    The reason why people lose weight on fad diets is because of the low calorie intake. Your body will literally, and i mean literally, begin to eats itself to stay alive (catabolism) taken from the term canabal. Your body will break down protein and your lean muscle which you need just to satisfy your body’s needs.

    Ok so the person has reached their desired goal on their restricted diet (say 1000 cals) and they return to eating normally (2500 cals). Because the body has lost some of its lean muscle, their metabolic engine has decreased. So instead of their body needing 2500 calories to maintain their new body mass, they might only need 2000. Thats an extra 500 cals that your body doesnt need as its metabolic engine doesnt burn up as many calories. So the body stores it as FAT.

    That is why people lose fat (and lean muscle) on fad diets but also put the weight back on and then some, thus, becoming harder to shift the weight that already you lost, so you go on another diet.

    By restricting your calorie intake, your body will go into starvation mode and ANYTHING you eat will be stored as fat because your body is preparing itself incase it happens again. This is why you should never use a fad diet as it is a nasty cycle that is hard to break.

    Hope this helps. πŸ™‚


  15. Nic dias

    O and if anyone has suggestions of diets that have worked for them and they have kept the weight off and without health risks pls email me also.thank u

  16. Nic dias

    To erin..i’m a 14 yr old child however i do agree with you.the children posting here are childish…people sometimes have to do whatever they can to lose weight..i will be trying this because i’ve been trying really hard to lose weight for a while now..have bad genes and a slow metabolism…thats is no excuse as i will work off my excess weight someway somehow…to all posters… i have a question..after this diet will my calorie intake be damaged? As in when i start eating normally again(not the unhealthy lifestyle as i used to but…but an average lifestyle of the occasion junk food with healthy food throughout the day) will i gain it back easier than i would if i lost it slowly on a diet losing about 1 or 2 pounds a week? Email me the answer at…PLEASE help me with this!

  17. erin

    I was wondering why a bunch of 15 year olds are trying to give advise on dieting and saying learing from EXPERIENCE what experience your a damn kid if u think fad diets are so bad then why are u on this site looking at these diets. Go back to barbies and G.I. Joes when u have a few children and cannot loose weight as easy as a 15 year old then come back.Just remember they all work all u need is DEDICATION.

  18. b4real

    How do people not interested in dieting or this diet get to this page? I came here for information about this diet to see if I wanted to try it. And of course I read the comments, just wierd how there are alot of comments downgrading dieting(why are they here?). I think I’m gonna give it a shot because I’ve tried alot of diets that didnt work and I’m a very busy person with not much time for exercising and unfortunatly people do judge you on how you look. I’ll post my results in a month. Goodluck on your dieting!

  19. oxide

    Everything in moderation, including moderation. Every one of these diets will work, in the short term. Problem is, you have to return to the real world at some point. I seriously doubt that people who claim they “can’t lose weight” with proper diet and exercise are really eating a “proper diet” or exercising. I was a fat kid, fat teenager, and fat in my early 20s. I gradually changed how I looked at food, and found exercises that I enjoy. Now I’m at a normal weight. It all comes down to will-power and moderation.

  20. mike

    I’m 15 and varsity wrestler this diet isn’t good, I’ve never tried this and never will. All you really need is a good work out scheduale and a healthy eating habit.

  21. Evangeline Saint claire

    Diets are the best thing since sliced bread πŸ™‚ “negative calorie foods” are good but you can’t eat them all the time joined with a balanced diet you should have a beach body in no time at all πŸ˜›

  22. 9shadowcat9

    I personally think diets are idiotic at best. Be happy with who you are and others will follow. I’m 16 and I know that from experience.

  23. arclacrosse

    I’ve tried this diet as well and it does seem to work. You don’t have to cut everything else out of your diet to do it. You simply watch your portion size with everything else (something that I do anyway) and eat more of the “negative calorie” foods.

  24. tesra

    yah.. I used to do this and I did it for about two to three weeks and lost about ten pounds =]
    it was great. I mean. it didn’t all stay off since obviously some was water weight, but I lost about 7-8 pounds and I felt so good and healthy. I tried not to eat all that I wanted thought. I simply ate 3-6 times a day and it worked very well. I have tried other stupid crap diets and this was teh one that helped me lose the most weight and keep it off. I am starting it again since yesterday and I feel better already :]

  25. lola

    I dont know about the whole “negative calorie” thing, but I do that diet works amazingly well. I went from 16 stone to 10 stone in 6 weeks with no bad effects, even went to the doctor to make sure I was ok, and he said I was in amazing shape. I got my life back with this diet, dont be put off with the pseudo science stuff, just try it, and live your life again!

  26. simon

    This would not be a healthy diet to try because it is not balanced with the dairy, meat and fish you need for all the other components of food. You could lose a lot of weight with this diet but it would not be a healthy way of doing it and most likely not permanent either. The best thing to do is simply to eat all types of food in moderation – a third fruit and veg, a third carbohydrate (rice, pasta, bread), a sixth meat, a sixth dairy, and treat yourself once in a while to sweets and treats

  27. noseproblem

    i’v put off dieting to long now i am looking at fad diet.which will be exercise and not give up. so dificult and i must cleanse. i am crying thinking i failed that i have to stoop to this. will i lose 5 lbs i am sitting on my butt.i am goingto do better .i am getting up i’m going to do diet to lose weight but my face is so ugly/it don’t help when hair and face is ugly.i’m 50 i don’t enjoy it.

  28. JJ


    Glad to know that you’re young and (maybe) have more brains than some others. However referring to Anonymous (1) as “you old person” is more or less rude. He/she may or may not be old or older. Whatever the reason for he/she not grasping the information does not justify anyone directing rude comments to him/her.

  29. Anonymous

    why is a 13-year old looking up diets? youre still growing!

  30. youngone

    wow !!! you old person its saying that you need energy to digest food. so say u east celery your body wil use the caliores form it to digeste it. AND YOUR FULL with less caliores then you started with even though you ate. im 13 and got that

  31. Ashen

    I’ve heard of this… Wouldn’t mind trying it, but the link is dead =(

  32. Anonymous

    …it lost me at ‘negayive calorie effect’