They say everything is bigger in Texas, and apparently they meant waistline as well. Why wouldn’t it be, between the BBQ, brew, and the bake goods its hard to resist, that’s probably why you bought into the the zero-calorie diet. You know that diet where the foods consume has less calories than the calories it takes to digest it.
It would be quite an unique weight loss solution if you could snack on calorie-free food all day long, but this is a myth. Even in a dreamland like Texas the only zero-calorie or negative-calorie food is water or diet soda. You can’t net a negative calorie balance by zero-calorie diet, but don’t rule them out. Here’s how:
The notion that foods like celery and cucumber require more energy to digest that they have is true, but this doesn’t put you in a negative calorie balance.
Apart from foods that have been engineered to be calorie-free, like sugar substitutes, virtually all foods contain calories. Some foods contain very few calories, and we do burn a few calories when we chew and digest the foods we eat. But the notion that eating certain foods can put us into a negative calorie balance just isn’t true.
“Some foods do require more energy to digest, but digesting foods that are so-called ‘zero-calorie’ such as celery or cucumbers is not going to have much impact” on your total calorie expenditure or weight-loss efforts, notes Lummus. “It wouldn’t be smart nutritionally to think that you are somehow tricking your body and subtracting calories.”
Foods that are seen as zero-calorie or negative-calorie:
“You would have to eat such large amounts of these foods to make your body work hard enough to cancel out the calories that it wouldn’t be worth it,” according to Kimberly Lummus, MS, RD, Texas Dietetic Association media representative and public relations coordinator for the Austin Dietetic Association in Austin, Texas.
Zero to Hero
These supposed “zero-calorie” may not put you into a negative calorie balance, but there are other great benefits to eating them. These foods are also high in fiber and full of nutrition. Fruits and vegetables are “nutrient-dense,” meaning that they have fewer calories in comparison to their high level of nutrients. They can be just as filling as higher-calorie foods, but with far fewer calories and often a lot more bulk.
If you are trying to lose weight, start by adding vegetables to your BBQ foodlist, snacking on fruit, piling your sandwiches with fresh vegetables, and having fruit instead of that pie à la mode. This doesn’t deceive your body into a calorie deficit, but it can help you feel full and satisfied while still eating fewer calories and getting lots of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.
The only true “zero-calorie” beverage to make sure you are getting enough of, is water. Not only is it healthy to drink enough water, but substituting water for sugar-sweetened beverages can save you hundreds of calories – six to eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day.
The next time you get invited to an old-fashion Texan BBQ, don’t get caught in the corner nibbling on a celery – that’s not the Texas way. Instead, set up an appointment at Masoud S. Isat, MSN, MSHS, FNP-C clinic for your unique weight loss solution.