PDA

View Full Version : Negative-Calorie Foods?


jason123076
06-18-2003, 12:18 PM
Is it really true that some foods, especially many fruits and vegetables, actually take more calories to digest than are contained within? I have found numerous websites saying so, but wanted to hear from the teeming millions. See, I'm trying to eat healthier, but many healthy foods don't "fill me up", so I eat more of them. Then it occured to me that eating a lot of even "healthy" foods can make me fat, so frustration set in, until I remembered something i had heard once about these negative calorie foods. So can I eat as many apples, oranges, carrotts, etc, as I want without consequence?

Thanks!

jason

Q.E.D.
06-18-2003, 12:27 PM
No, there's no such thing as "negative calories". See this (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=165377) earlier thread on this topic.

Cillasi
06-18-2003, 12:29 PM
No. Even if there is such a phenomenon as "negative calories," a point of diminishing returns must exist. Once you exceed your equilibrium caloric intake, the body will begin storing excess as fat. Plus, fruits contain a LOT of sugars, so eating them in excess is not a good thing for your blood glucose levels.

jason123076
06-18-2003, 12:34 PM
Damn I did search for an earlier thred but didn't find it- sorry for the redundancy :)

Whack-a-Mole
06-18-2003, 12:34 PM
Raw potatoes. They have calories but your body expends more energy digesting them then you get back. Cooking the potato breaks down the complex carbohydrates in the potato such that your body needn't work so hard at digestion and you get a net energy gain.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
06-18-2003, 12:35 PM
To pick a ballpark figure, let's just say it takes 2000 calories daily to maintain your body. A pound of cucumbers is about 80 calories, so to maintain your body, you would need to eat about 25 pounds. Probably similar numbers for celery and spinach.

So, while there is no such thing as "negative calories," I think the average person would have quite a struggle even maintaining weight on these high-bulk, low-calorie foods. The nutritional deficits are another story.

Lagged2Death
06-18-2003, 02:00 PM
Well, not really a food per se, but you can eat them and they will definitely have negative calories, although not that many.

ultrafilter
06-18-2003, 02:06 PM
Originally posted by Whack-a-Mole
Raw potatoes. They have calories but your body expends more energy digesting them then you get back. Cooking the potato breaks down the complex carbohydrates in the potato such that your body needn't work so hard at digestion and you get a net energy gain.

Cite?

Truth Seeker
06-18-2003, 02:06 PM
Remember that "hunger" is a pretty complex reaction. It isn't triggered by an "empty stomach," Over a hundred years of reasearch demonstrate that two of the key triggers are variations in blood sugar and ringing bells. Why, I once knew a woman who would suck down an entire bag of Fritos every time the telephone rang! You really can't be too careful about this. Many studies conclusively demonstrate that morbidly obese people get lots of telemarketing calls. Coincidence? I think not!

Oh, yeah, the blood sugar thing. Well, a sharp drop in blood sugar will trigger hunger pangs. Eating the wrong kinds of foods when you're hungry can actually make the problem worse. Sugars have the most most immediate effect on blood sugar but also have the shortest term impact. They can cause a sharp spike followed by a sharp decline. This can trigger new hunger pangs and start the cycle again.

IIRC, the foods that cause the "steadiest" blood sugar levels are, in order of best to worst, proteins, fats, complex carbohydrates, sugars. This means that eating lots of, say, watermelon, may end up making you hungrier than eating lots of, say, olives or avocados.

The bottom line here is that the idea of "healthy" foods is a crock. "Foods" are not in and of themselves "healthy" or "unhealthy." Any food, from Snickers bars to wheat germ may be "healthy" or "unhealthy" depending on the person's situation and, of course, on the quantity consumed. Fruits can be "bad" for you and fats can be "good" for you -- it all depends on what you need.

Q.E.D.
06-18-2003, 02:19 PM
Originally posted by Whack-a-Mole
Raw potatoes. They have calories but your body expends more energy digesting them then you get back. Cooking the potato breaks down the complex carbohydrates in the potato such that your body needn't work so hard at digestion and you get a net energy gain. You got a cite for this? My BS sense is tingling.

friedo
06-18-2003, 02:35 PM
Originally posted by Whack-a-Mole
Raw potatoes. They have calories but your body expends more energy digesting them then you get back. Cooking the potato breaks down the complex carbohydrates in the potato such that your body needn't work so hard at digestion and you get a net energy gain.

I've heard the same thing about celery, but I've never seen any scientifical evidence about it. I think this sort of thinking is a UL.

Besides, raw potatoes are icky.

alice_in_wonderland
06-18-2003, 02:42 PM
Well, a large stalk of celery has 10 calories.

A person can burn 10 calories taking a dump, walking for 1.5 minutes, having sex for about 3 minutes, or, I would imagine, masticating furiously for 5 minutes.

I would say it's fair to say that you can eat as much celery as you like, and not worry about weight gain.

However, the celery still has calories in it, and if you consumed it while lying still in a very slow manner, potentially you would get a calorie or two.

I got my stats from www.fitday.com. All the other info is speculation on my part, although not that far fetched.

Whack-a-Mole
06-18-2003, 03:34 PM
Originally posted by Q.E.D.
You got a cite for this? My BS sense is tingling.

Unfortunately no. I heard that on a TV show awhile back. All my searches turn up either chemical notations on carbohydrate strings, organizations expounding the value of potatoes (because they sell them) or potato recipes.

I have submitted the question at a site and they say questions submitted there are routed to legitimate experts in a given field. If they see fit to answer at all they say the answer may take as long as a week. If I get an answer I'll be sure to share it with everyone (regardless if I am right or not).

Q.E.D.
06-18-2003, 03:51 PM
According to this site (http://www.thehotpotato.com/english/nutrition.htm) a raw potato has about 100 calories in a 5.3 oz. serving. So, I'm thinking if it's not true for celery at 10 calories per stalk, then it's sure not true for a potato.

Whack-a-Mole
06-18-2003, 04:02 PM
Originally posted by Q.E.D.
According to this site (http://www.thehotpotato.com/english/nutrition.htm) a raw potato has about 100 calories in a 5.3 oz. serving. So, I'm thinking if it's not true for celery at 10 calories per stalk, then it's sure not true for a potato.

The point (if I am correct) is that potatoes contain a particularly long complex carbohydrate chain. Your body needs to break it down into something it can use and this process will take more energy out of your body than is replaced by the food (I have no idea how wide the disparity is though). You don't have the same issue with celery so while it has fewer calories those calories are presumably more available for use by your body.

I'm still looking for cites...

Whack-a-Mole
06-18-2003, 04:13 PM
Ok...here's a link suggesting negative calorie foods do exist (again...all foods contain positive calories...the point is you spend more energy digesting these foods then you get back). There's a lot there so I will only post a few tidbits and you can follow the link for all of it. Interestingly potatoes are not on their list but the premise of what I'm talking about is.

Negative Calorie Diet
From the NFPT Personal Trainer Magazine

Is this possible? Can a food actually have not only no calories, but even negative calories?

<snip>

When this subject was first brought to our attention, we immediately dismissed it as not only ludicrous, but impossible as well. We have since done some homework, and determined that in a twisted sort of way, there may actually be some truth to this innovative perspective on the composition of some foods.

<snip>

The ingestion of empty calorie foods requires the body to produce its own enzymes (usually in the lining of the intestinal tract) to be able to convert these “empty calories” into usable energy. Obviously, these enzyme producing functions in the body should be reserved for the performance of other internal, and more vital metabolic reactions.

SOURCE: Healthrecipes.Com (http://www.healthrecipes.com/negative_calorie_foods.htm)

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.