14 ZERO CALORIE FOODS FOR FAST WEIGHT LOSS
When people bring up zero calorie for weight loss, the first things I think about are plain water and coffee. Though they’re technically drinks, they’re also the most glaring and real examples of ingesting something with absolutely no calories.
But you can’t really live off of just water and coffee, can you? Nor is it the answer you’re looking for.
Having said that, these “zero calorie foods for weight loss” — or negative calorie foods as some people would call them — are actually foods that require equal, if not more energy to digest compared to the very few calories they hold.
Which brings us to the question…
What foods burn calories when you eat them?
Or, more specifically, what foods burn more calories than they actually have?
Basically, you’re looking at 3 things:
- Water content
- Fiber content, and
- Metabolism boosting compounds
According to research, eating foods with high water content can effectively help you eat less calories — perhaps even more so than just drinking water alone — because it promotes fullness and reduces hunger.
Fiber, on the other hand, has less calories than other forms of carbohydrates like starches and sugar. In the words of one research, some of these fibers even have “less than zero” calories.
Furthermore, the same study says that the metabolizable energy content in these fibrous foods are often lower than average — which pretty much means that most foods with high fiber content have less calories than what’s written on the label. Plus, they help with satiety, so you eat less calories throughout the day.
Lastly, some compounds that naturally occur in certain foods help boost your metabolism. Like EGCG in green tea or the capsaicin in chilli peppers, for example. We’ll get to more detail about these later but for now, let me bust one more myth for ya.
Do zero calorie drinks help you lose weight?
I see it all the time now. Athletes with Gatorade Zero; Gym buffs with some sort of low-calorie energy drink; People at a restaurant ordering Coke Zero to go with their food.
But, is Coke Zero really zero calories? Do these other drinks have less calories, too?
Well, yes, because they’re using artificial sweeteners with little to no calories instead of real sugar. When used sparingly, I do believe these drinks help people lose weight.
However, the problem is when you abuse them.
Multiple studies have associated the artificial sweeteners used in these low-cal drinks to be just as bad, if not worse than natural sugar when it comes to weight gain because it messes up your body’s chemistry.
One theory is that artificial sweeteners can’t fully satisfy your cravings because they can’t completely engage your brain’s reward systems due to their lack of calories.
Another theory is that they desensitize your taste buds to sweets. After all, artificial sweeteners are sweeter than sugar. So, when you do eat non-diet foods, you want them sweeter than usual. Ultimately, you’re left unsatisfied or you add more sugar (and calories) to an already calorie dense treat so you can fulfill those cravings.
Also, these sweeteners still trigger insulin release — and without any actual sugar to process, you may just be putting yourself at a higher risk of being insulin resistant.
With that being said, it’s finally time to answer the question you’re really here for:
“What can I eat that has zero calories?”
Take a look at the list below. I’ve categorized them into either fruits, vegetables, drinks, and others to make things easier.