Dr Oz: What Are Negative Calorie Foods?
Have you heard about negative calorie foods? They’re one of the latest and hottest diet trends, and there are all kinds of diet plans that claim to use them to help you lose weight without going hungry. The idea is that when you eat negative calorie foods, your body burns more calories digesting them than you ingest, so the more you eat, the more you lose. So what’s the truth about negative calorie foods?
Dr Oz provided an example, saying if you eat an apple, orange, and mango together as a fruit salad, it would be 175 calories, but your body would, in theory, use 220 calories to digest that salad. That means you would burn an extra 45 calories while eating. It sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?
Dr Oz sent Jenna Wolfe to one of the top labs in the country to learn more about the science of metabolism and negative calorie foods.
Dr Oz: Are There Really Negative Foods?
Jenna was at George Washington University with Dr Todd Miller, the director of the weight management lab. Dr Miller explained that different foods metabolize differently in the body. He was going to measure whether the foods labeled as negative calorie, actually have an effect on the metabolism. Jenna hadn’t yet eaten anything, so they first had to measure her resting metabolic rate, which is the rate at which her body breaks down calories at rest. Without moving or eating, she was burning 1,437 per day.
Next, Jenna put together a plate full of foods that supposedly give you the biggest negative calorie benefit. She munched on cucumber, apples, celery, strawberries, carrots, and watermelon, consuming a total of 500 calories worth of those foods. She then had her metabolic rate tested again and that number was revealed to her by Dr Oz. After eating all those negative calorie foods, it was revealed that she burned 72 calories to get through that meal.
Basically, Jenna ate 500 calories, but her body thought she ate just 428 calories. If she were to eat three meals like that, she would burn 216 calories extra, making her new metabolic rate 1,653. “This is a big deal everybody,” Dr Oz exclaimed. “Because small little shifts like that every single day of your life, add up.”
Dr Oz: Burn More Calories
Dr Neal Barnard, explained that as soon as you eat those foods, you get a burn that you wouldn’t get otherwise. He explained that as soon as Jenna began eating, her body started a process called thermogenesis, so she’s burning more calories minute-by-minute. If she had eaten something different like heavy cream, it wouldn’t have worked because they don’t have that thermogenic ability.
Dr Oz: Why Eat Negative Calorie Foods
Jenna Wolfe shared that for her, it’s exciting to hear that there’s truly something you can do to boost your metabolism. Dr Barnard further explained that there are three key components to negative calorie foods, water, fiber, and no fat. Fiber tricks your body into thinking you’ve eaten a lot, without having to. There are fruits, vegetables (including sweet potatoes), legumes, and whole grains. Dr Barnard pointed out that all the foods are plant-derived, which is why he always tells his patients “eat your plants, you’ll look good in your pants!”
The good news is that those foods are also loaded in protein, which is all the more reason why a vegan diet can qualify as a complete diet.
Processed foods don’t require a lot of work from your body to digest, which is different than negative calorie foods. Your body has to work a lot harder to digest those foods, which is why you burn so many calories just by eating them. That serves as the example of why all calories are not created equal. Dr Barnard said your body is programmed to burn calories if you give it the right food.