The idea of negative calorie foods has been around for a while. The idea is that certain foods are so low in calories and so hard for our bodies to digest, that you burn more calories trying to digest them than actually come in the food, so you can eat as much as you like and actually cause weight loss.

Common foods cited as being negative are water dense fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, celery, cabbage, lettuce, strawberries, zucchini and oranges.

If you’ve done Weight Watchers, these are the foods that are given zero point ratings, which means you can eat them all day long and they don’t really count.

But is this for real? Can you actually lose weight by eating more?

No food actually has a negative amount of calories, because all foods have some caloric value. The overall result from eating them, however, can lead to a negative calorie outcome.

That’s all well and good, but I don’t like labeling healthy fruits and veggies as ‘negative calories’ like they are some magic fat burner. Don’t expect to be able to burn off a piece of pizza with a few strawberries. The difference is almost negligible, and won’t result in measurable weight loss, especially if you do not eat healthy otherwise, or do not exercise.

Here’s why I don’t like this line of thinking: if everyone ate fruits and veggies till they were blue in the face, I would be the happiest person alive. We all know fruits and veggies are filled with tons of great vitamins, minerals and fiber, but eating them because you can stuff your face guilt-free and think it will help you lose weight isn’t the right mind-set to making healthy changes. The goal of living a healthy lifestyle is to learn to listen to your body and to eat in a way that fuels you right. Even though you are scarfing healthy foods, you are still pigging out because you can’t control your urge to eat. Finding a loophole that won’t make you gain weight isn’t truly getting healthy, because your mind isn’t in the right place.

By all means, eat as many fruits and veggies as you want, but don’t eat them in mass quantities to try and lose weight, or eat them in place of other nutritious food with the calories you need to maintain your health.  You need calories, you just need them from the right sources.

There is no secret or magic tip to lasting weight loss.

You can’t take the easy way out.

You know my favorite source of negative calories? Exercise. A walk will burn more calories than trying to digest a stomach full of celery, and will also do wonders to increase you mood, energy level, and your health.