The theory behind zero calorie or negative calorie foods is that they contain such a scant amount of calories that the energy you expend eating them cancels out their calories. In essence the bottom line is that you don’t take on any excess calories, and in some instances you end up burning calories as you eat them. Whether or not this is an accurate statement, it’s clear that the following foods have such a slight caloric load they won’t put a dent in your daily total.
Each of these foods has fewer than 50 calories per 100 gram serving. Considering that chicken breast has 172 calories in that same portion size and is considered a low calorie food, it’s clear to see these foods rank very low in terms of calories.
Celery is a food that when you eat it you don’t really feel like you’re eating anything, so it’s not a total shocker to find out that it has essentially zero calories. The stringy nature of celery makes it seem as if it only exists to hold the water it contains. What you’ll typically see is celery with peanut butter or cream-based fillings inside of it, and you’ll want to avoid those if you are keeping track of calories, as they can swing it back the other way quite quickly. Total calories per 100g serving: 16
Oranges are known for their Vitamin C, but they’re also low in calories compared to other fruits. Whether or not you expend the total number of calories while eating oranges is debatable, but the point of eating foods this low in calorie is not to cancel out the calories, but to keep your total caloric load for the day lower than normal. You’re trying to create a caloric deficit, and an orange can help reach that goal. Total calories per 100g serving: 47
Cabbage often gets brought up for its ability to prevent cancer and heart disease, and it often ranks on lists of foods that help with weight loss. That’s because it has a calorie count so low you end up burning it off just by going about the normal motions of your day. Cabbage soup is one great way to eat cabbage, as it is a filling meal while containing far fewer calories than most soups. Total calories per 100g serving: 25
Asparagus shows up as a side dish to many meals, and is a great choice because its fibrous nature means it will satisfy your hunger, but the number of calories makes it so it doesn’t add much to your daily total. Eating asparagus fresh on a salad is a crunchy and satisfying treat, while grilling it or steaming it are the two best cooking methods. Be sure to go easy on the butter or oil, as that will bring the calorie count right back up. Total calories per 100g serving: 20
If you’re going to use beets as a low calorie food you should stick to fresh beets that you either steam, boil, or grill. If you go with the pickled variety you’ll be adding a bit more calories to the mix. In addition to being low in calories, beets are great for the body, containing betalains, an antioxidant that gives it its color and is only found in a few select foods. Total calories per 100g serving: 43
Cucumbers contain so much water in them it’s not surprising that they’re low in calories. That’s why cucumbers make a great adornment to most salads, especially when the salad is full of other low-cal veggies. You can eat until you feel full, while still keeping your total number of calories to a minimum. Combine this sort of eating with a more active lifestyle, and you start to tip the scales in your favor, literally and figuratively. Total calories per 100g serving: 16
It’s not as if you’re going to sit around eating lemons in order to keep your calories down, but it’s nice to know that you can use them as much as you want and you won’t be putting much of a strain on your total calories consumed in a day. That’s why lemons are great for flavoring up a glass of water, or sprinkling on top of fish and other foods to give them a bit of zest. They’re also an alkalizing food and contain antioxidants to keep you healthy. Total calories per 100g serving: 29
Cauliflower also limbos as one of the lowest ranking foods on the calorie chart. It’s also a cruciferous vegetable and has many healthy benefits to it, including being an anti-inflammatory food, and helping the body’s cardiovascular and digestive systems. It’s a great weight loss aid all the way around, not just because it’s very low in calories. You easily burn through it’s caloric load with the act of cooking it. Total calories per 100g serving: 25
No matter which mushroom you choose to go with, the chances are it’s going to be low in calories. These fungi just don’t know how to be high in calories, so you don’t have to worry when using them in a recipe, or sauteing them as a side dish. Even the big, popular portabella mushroom is low in calories, having only 22 of them in a 100 gram serving. Perhaps that’s why it makes such a great replacement to high calorie beef in mushroom burgers.Total calories per 100g serving of Chanterelle mushrooms: 38
Watermelon has a low number of calories, despite being so naturally sweet. This has to be the sweetest food on our list, while still ranking considerably low in calories. The great news is that in addition to being a crowd pleaser, watermelon has antioxidants that help your body in many ways. It’s also been shown to be able to boost your metabolism, just don’t go overboard on portion sizes. Total calories per 100g serving: 30
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