Understanding “No-Calorie Foods”

I first heard of “No-Calorie” or “Negative Calorie” foods back in 2012, however, I suspect that these terms have been around longer than that. The concept of these food terms is that it takes the same amount of energy, or more energy, to chew and digest these no calorie foods than they contain. While the amount of calories are low in these foods, they do still contain calories that contribute to our total daily caloric intake. A few of the foods commonly found on these lists are:

  • Celery

  • Lettuce

  • Cucumbers

  • Oranges

  • Watermelon

  • Tomatoes


Programs like Weight Watchers, now known as Wellness that Works, have a list of zero point foods that include lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. While it is wonderful that programs like these promote choosing lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables, calling these foods “zero point foods” suggests that these foods do not contain calories. It also takes focus away from learning portion-control and suggests that you can eat as much as you want. At the end of the day, these foods still have calories in them and no matter what foods you eat, a calorie surplus will lead to weight gain.


Taking your focus away from miracle foods, like the no calorie foods, and placing it on forming a healthy eating pattern will promote a more sustainable eating approach. Consult with a registered dietitian before starting a weight loss program to help work with you and create a balanced eating plan that fits into your lifestyle.


#balanceddiet #nocaloriefoods #healthylifestyle #nutritiontips

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