28 Negative Calorie Foods (to Eat for Weight Loss)

Negative calorie foods are those that require more calories in the chewing and digestion process than the actual calories contained in them. This makes the food's net calorie intake very low or negative, which can be beneficial for weight loss.

The main foods which contain negative calories are fruit, which can be eaten for breakfast, snacks and desserts, and vegetables, which can be eaten in salads, soups or sauteed for lunch and dinner.

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List of negative calorie foods

The main low-calorie foods are:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Leafy vegetables: chard, watercress, arugula, lettuce, spinach, kale and chicory
  • Onions
  • Turnip 
  • Cucumber
  • Red pepper
  • Celery
  • Eggplant
  • Raw carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes
  • Radish
  • Lemon
  • Papaya
  • Berries: strawberry, blueberry, raspberry and blackberry
  • Peaches
  • Melon
  • Watermelon
  • Apple
  • Tangerine
  • Drinks: coffee, herbal tea, water
  • Herbs and spices: cinnamon, turmeric, basil, curry, rosemary, thyme and oregano

These foods are mainly high in fiber and water, which help to keep you full and prevent overeating.

However, it is important to remember that consuming these foods alone is not enough to lose weight. Total calorie intake throughout the day must also be reduced, and regular physical activity will also contribute to weight loss.

How to use negative calorie foods in your diet

Foods with negative calories should be included in the diet so that meals have overall more fiber and fewer calories. This increases the feeling of satiety and promotes weight loss.

Low-calorie fruits can be eaten for breakfast, snacks and dessert, while vegetables should be included for lunch and dinner. In addition, zucchini and eggplant, for example, can be used to make low-calorie dishes such as eggplant lasagna and zucchini spaghetti.

It's important to remember that your weight loss diet shouldn't only revolve around negative calorie foods. In order to achieve optimal metabolism and promote weight loss, it is also necessary to consume a variety of foods that provide energy for the body, such as animal-based proteins like eggs and chicken, plant-based proteins like tofu and soy, and healthy fats like nuts, seeds and extra virgin olive oil.

Difference between thermogenic and negative calorie foods

Thermogenic foods, such as chili peppers, green tea and coffee, are those that, despite also being low in calories, boost the speed of the metabolism for a few hours. This triggers the body to spend a little more energy than normal. 

Foods with negative calories, on the other hand, are a great addition to any diet because they are low in calories, but also require more energy to digest and breakdown.