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Zero Calorie Foods

<p>Zero Calorie Foods</p>
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 6 min read

You've probably heard about so called "€˜zero calorie' foods and wondered if it is nothing but a common myth. In this case you'd be right on the money"€”as far as nutrition goes there aren't actually any foods that will burn calories for you. As nice as it would be spending a night chomping down on celery to justify skipping a night at the gym, that simply isn't a reality.


Don't lose hope! The foods that are frequently thought of as "€˜zero calorie' may not put you in a caloric deficit, but they certainly have a lot of great benefits that may be just as useful to helping you lose weight.


A list of zero calorie foods

So what do you think of when you think of "€˜zero calorie' foods? Here are some common food items that may come to mind:



    • Arugula


    • Beets


    • Brussels Sprouts


    • Carrots


    • Cauliflower


    • Celery


    • Cucumbers


    • Lettuce


    • Spinach


    • Turnips


    • Zucchini


So what does the food on this list have in common? Well, you can see that most of them are low in calories, high in fiber and packed with nutrients.  Even those the choices on this list won't burn your calories for you, they actually have a lot to offer when it comes to losing weight. Did you know that because of the fiber content, vegetables can be equally as filling as high calorie foods? It's true!


This list shouldn't be a guide to your entire diet"€”after all, you still need sources of protein and fat that these vegetables just won't provide. But what it should be is a good guideline of what you can add into your diet in order to start losing weight.


Carrots and hummus instead of chips and dip

Trade in that bag of chips for a container of baby carrots and substitute the dip for hummus. Try one of the many delicious zucchini brownie recipes on the internet"€”I promise you, they'll taste just as decicant as a batch you might buy from the store.


Snacking on these low calorie choices not only provides your body with much needed vitamins, minerals and other nutrition, it also fills you up in between meals, which means you won't go overboard when you sit down for lunch or dinner.  It's a win-win situation for you!


Zero calorie foods don't really exist

So, let's recap what we know so far: the idea of "€˜zero calorie' foods, or foods that will burn calories for you by eating them doesn't really exist.   But there are a lot of "€˜low calorie' foods that can actually help you lose weight"€”and most of them exist in the realms of the vegetable.   But, you ask, what about those of us who have a sweet tooth? Don't worry"€”I have a low calorie solution for you!


Fruits that can reduce your dessert cravings

There is a huge selection of fruits that work great for curbing those dessert cravings, and with the added benefits of fiber these treats will ensure that you won't need to go in for a second helping.


Ask yourself"€”what kind of fruits do you think exist on this "€˜low calorie' list? Well, the answer is simple: pretty much all of them! Here are some of the top choices:



    • Apples


    • Apricot


    • Peaches


    • Strawberries


    • Watermelon


    • Cantaloupe


    • Blueberries


    • Grapefruit


    • Oranges


    • Blackberries


Pretty great selection, am I right? The key here is to remember that all of these choices should be fresh"€”dried fruit has a lot more concentrated sugar and is basically like eating candy. Fresh fruit is a great choice for snacking, slicing into salads and mixing into smoothies.


So what is the benefit of eating these "€˜low calorie' foods in place of other desserts we might enjoy? Swapping an apple for your morning muffin may seem like a tiny change, but it actually can make a huge difference. The same goes for snacking on fruit during the day, be it berries, citrus or anything else that you feel a craving for.


You probably know that fruit is good for you, but you may not know how much of a difference adding more of it into your diet can make. For starters, eating it in place of more sugary and unhealthy desserts can make a hugely positive impact on your health over time. It's a habit that is good to get into, and the sooner you start the better.


A diet rich in fruit can ward off health problems

Eating a diet that is rich in fruit can actually help prevent and ward off a lot of health problems as well.   It can reduce your risk of type-2 diabetes, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. For women fruit can hold a special benefit"€”the folate, or folic acid is a vital vitamin during pregnancy and can actually prevent neural tube birth defects.


If you see something advertised as "€˜zero calorie' then you should know that it's usually too good to be true"€”artificial sugars which promise a guilt free treat often come with negative consequences. Did you know that some artificial sugar had side effects that are similar to laxatives?


If you have a digestive sensitivity to any of these additives then you may find yourself dealing with these undesirable effects on your body. The long term effects of these additives are also not widely studied or known, and they are associated with several chronic illnesses and health problems.


The idea of something being "€˜zero calories' seems incredibly appealing, but you should keep in mind that everything that you put into your body should have some health benefit. Whether it be protein, fat or complex carbs"€”containing vitamins, minerals or antioxidants, you're going to need all of these things to make up a complete diet that will fuel and strengthen your body.


Losing weight should be what happens when you find a diet and lifestyle that you can sustain.  In the realms of health discover foods that you like to eat, snacks you enjoy and exercises that you have fun doing. It may take some getting used to (any good change will!) but the benefits to your body and mind will absolutely be worth it. Get out there, educate yourself about health, make goals and reach them.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.