Dieting to lose weight is entirely a matter of restricting your intake of calories. Calories are essentially the energy value of your food, and by restricting the amount of energy that comes in from your food your body will be forced to turn to other sources of energy – specifically the fat stored around your body.
By limiting the amount of energy you consume you will ensure that you are left with no additional sugar in your system which would otherwise be converted to fat once the body didn’t need it. It is in fact possible to calculate how many calories your body needs to operate and then to calculate the exact number you need to consume in order to lose the amount of weight you want to.
Why Zero Calorie Foods?
Normally, restricting your caloric intake unfortunately means not eating, and this is the difficult aspect of the whole process. Of course we all enjoy eating and not being able to eat at all can be very disheartening and can somewhat take the joy out of life. Furthermore, if we don’t eat, it can leave us feeling hungry and our stomach grumbling – our body is telling us that we need to eat but it’s not getting feedback to reassure it that food is indeed being consumed. Our stomach will feel empty and smaller and generally this is what makes it hard to stick to our diet and to avoid grabbing the nearest cake we find in the kitchen…
So if you could eat zero calorie foods – foods that didn’t add to your caloric intake at all that would be a perfect way to tide us over.
What Are Zero Calorie Foods?
Luckily such zero calorie foods actually do exist – though they’re more technically known as ‘negative calorie foods’.
Of course it is possible to eat some things that have no nutritional value such as cotton wool which will fill your stomach without adding any calories at all. However this is not particularly healthy for you as it can be hard for your body to empty it out, and as it will cause the production of stomach acids. Cotton wool adds no nutritional value whatsoever and that means that you get nothing from eating it. And it’s not exactly a way to make your diet more bearable as it tastes unpleasant and feels uncomfortable going down.
In fact, real ‘zero calorie foods’ do contain some calories and they do have nutritional value. However what makes them so good for dieting is the fact that they take more calories to digest. In other words these foods have very few calories in them, and are quite tricky to digest normally containing a lot of fiber. Digestion like any other function of the body requires energy to occur and that means that any energy you get from the food is counteracted by the process of digesting.
A great example of a zero calorie food is celery. This is perhaps the most famous of the negative calorie foods taking 40 calories to digest on average but only supplying the body with 6. Thus after eating celery you will have lost 34 calories in total – and you’ll still have absorbed the calcium, iron and other minerals important for your health.
How to Use Zero Calorie Foods
Zero calorie foods then are the perfect snack for helping you suppress your hunger while you wait for your next meal. Of course your body will very quickly need to consume more calories, so it won’t be effective as a way to completely prevent your hunger. However in the short term it will mean that your stomach is filled and this will release chemicals in the brain telling you not to feel hungry anymore for a short time making them perfect to help you survive until your next meal (eradicating snacking is one of the best ways to diet).
Some people will go too far with this of course, and looking online it is easy to find ‘zero calorie diets’ which consist of only zero calorie foods. This is highly ill-advised however as it will cause your body to go into a ‘fasting mode’ where the mitochondria become more efficient at using energy – and that will mean that when you do eat more again you will very rapidly put on weight.
Likewise starving yourself of calories is ill advised as it causes your body to become starved of energy and this will cause it to start burning off supplies. Your body needs energy for the most basic functions such as digestion, your heart beat, breathing and thinking. Thus your body will be struggling to maintain your very basic bodily functions and you will feel constantly out of breath. Once your body has burned all of your fat stores it will then go on to burn your protein which will cause muscle wastage and damage to your internal organs – it will literally cannibalize itself.
When dieting you should calculate the number of calories you need by working out your ‘BMR’ (Basal Metabolic Rate) which is what your body needs just to run and perform these basic functions. You then make sure you always eat that number of calories, but on top of this you exercise and make sure that you lose more calories through exercise than you gain in your diet. Your zero calorie foods then are just used to make this a little easier and to tide you over to your next meal.
List of Zero Calorie Foods
Those foods which will lose you calories through eating are:
- Egg Cress