Negative Calorie Foods   Leave a comment

Napoleon Bonaparte, who was given to moderation in eating and drinking, had once said, “However little one may eat, one always overeats.”

With revised obesity norms for Indians leaving a large number of them on the wrong side of the fitness divide, ‘negative calorie foods’ (NCFs) are an option worth exploring.

Negative calorie food sounds like an oxymoron, but the concept has been in vogue for some time now. An NCF is that which gives less energy than spent by the body in chewing, digesting and absorbing it. So, when one consumes it, there is a net loss of calories in the body — other things remaining same, that is. Its importance as a diet is, therefore, obvious. Heading the list of NCFs is celery. Other items are asparagus, beet, broccoli, green cabbage, carrot, cucumber, papaya, orange, apple, strawberries etc. Many other vegetables and fruits are also included in this category.

However, expert opinion is divided whether any food can actually be called a negative calorie food. Those who rubbish the concept say that however less energy a food might give, it is yet more than that is spent in ingesting and digesting it. Thus everything that can be called food must result in some positive calorie intake, they say. That sounds axiomatic but there is enough research to suggest that some food items, when consumed, actually have negative calorie effect.

It happens in two ways. First, research has proved that some foods, celery for example, are so complex that in breaking them the body has to spend more energy than it gets from their consumption. And second, fruits and vegetables that are rich in minerals and vitamins make the human body produce enzymes in greater quantities than that are necessary to digest these. The surplus of the enzymes helps in breaking down other food in digestion. Thus, there are good reasons to rely on the NCFs.

Though they themselves do not constitute balanced diet — they lack in proteins — increasing their proportion in food can be a good idea. What about those people who wish to take absolutely no chances with calories and yet cannot suppress the urge to eat? Well, they needn’t despair. There is at least one wonder food whose negative calorie value for humans is decidedly negative. It is the cellulose. So, the advice for such people is: chew the newspaper.

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Posted February 27, 2009 by Rajesh_Gandhi in happiness, health, lifestyle, secrets

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