Shedding the extra pounds does not mean starvation. A diet plan that recommends staying on an empty stomach will never work. But at the same time gorging on food is a strict NO NO when it comes to losing the flab to get fit. So what do you do? Here’s an idea. Some foods have no calories at all, how about trying out them? Surprised? Here’s a fun fact. You can now eat to your heart’s content thanks to the zero calorie and highly nutritious foods.
What are calories?
A calorie is a unit for measuring the energy obtained from foods. The total energy that food provides on consumption by a human body depends on its calorific value or calories.
How does Calories in food affect weight?
Intake in the number of calories beyond the reasonable limit of 2000 kilocalories per day leads to a sharp rise in body weight which ultimately takes the form of obesity when the body can no longer metabolize the calories consumed.
What are zero calorie foods?
Zero calorie foods are foods that have almost zero or negligible calorific value. Such foods are incredibly beneficial for boosting the loss of weight and in taking care of hunger cravings and blood detoxification as well(1).
List of foods with zero calories
Some foods have no calories at all in them. Here is a compilation of fruits with zero or decidedly less unhealthy calories.
It is one of the best zero calorie foods that are incredibly low in calories (only 4 in a cup), fatty acids, saturated fats, and cholesterol. Arugula is a crunchy and peppery vegetable richly loaded with healthy dietary fibers, vitamins A, C, K, and other essential nutrients. It is a perfectly healthy and zero calorie ingredient for soups and salads, and besides being packed with antioxidants and minerals, the peppery greens can spark off your sexual vigor and energy with their ability to block the toxins that adversely affect the libido.
Asparagus makes for an excellent part of the zero calorie diet plan. It helps in detoxification because of its rich content of amino acids that make it a diuretic and aids in the flushing out of toxins and fluids from the body. A cup of Asparagus with only 27 calories is a grand powerhouse of nutrients like vitamins and minerals that include vitamins A, C, E, K, B6 and folate and minerals like iron and copper. It is also rich in proteins and tastes delicious too when tossed in with other leafy greens into soups and salads.
Broccoli ranks high on the list of zero calorie foods. Its low calorific content (one cup equals 31) paired with a precious load of dietary fibers, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients makes it a perfectly healthy and zero calorie ingredient for soups and salads and besides, being packed with antioxidants, broccoli can significantly increase the survival chances of cancer patients(2).
Read More: Health Benefits of Broccoli
Consumption of crunchy and chilled celery sticks(3) seasoned with salt and pepper for a healthy and delicious snack with the content of calories in celery incredibly low, only 16 in a cup. It is fulfilling and can curb your appetite instantly. Celery is richly packed with fibers and phytonutrients and is highly beneficial for a healthy digestive system.
Cucumber is a vibrant snack that you can eat in multiple styles. It is very healthy, and a cup of it contains just 16 calories. Due to the low content of calories in cucumber and great taste when clubbed with salt and pepper as a seasoning, you will find a cucumber in a variety of salads. It is fulfilling and can curb your appetite instantly. Cucumber is crisp, watery and refreshing and richly packed with fibrous content and phytonutrients that make it highly beneficial for a healthy digestive system.
Also Read: Benefits of Cool Cucumber Water
If you are suffering from crazy hunger cravings in the middle of the night, try a bowl of crunchy and chilled lettuce seasoned with salt and pepper for a healthy and delicious midnight snack. Calories in lettuce are meager (5 in a cup). It is fulfilling and can curb your appetite instantly. Consumption of lettuce provides the body with vitamin B-Complex and manganese and helps in curing diabetes and can efficiently boost the immune system.
7. Brussel sprouts
Brussel sprouts are one of the healthiest foods to eat to lose weight. Not only are these incredibly low in calories, 38 in a cup, but are also richly packed with fibrous content and phytonutrients. Brussel sprouts might taste a little bland but when taken with a sauce of your choice can make for a considerably healthy and delicious snack.
Cabbage is one of the healthiest foods to eat for weight loss. It is tasty, crunchy, readily available and affordable too. Its low calorific content (one cup contains 22) paired with a precious load of dietary fibers, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients makes it a perfectly healthy and zero calorie ingredient for steamed soups and curries. Cabbage is a powerhouse of antioxidants and phytonutrients, and as such, it can significantly increase the survival chances of cancer patients. It contains glucosinolate which boosts metabolism, aids in detoxification and can prevent cancer as well.
9. Black coffee
Black coffee has zero calories but at the same time try not to drink too much of it if you don’t want to get robbed of your sleep. A cup or two of it can keep you away from indulging in random snacks though.
Beets(4) are not only sweet and delicious but also incredibly low in calories; one cup contains 37 calories. This reddish-brown vegetable is powerfully anti-carcinogenic and is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. It is richly packed with iron, fibrous content, potassium and folate and is tasty and fulfilling as well.
It is one of the most nutritious fruits that are low in bad calories so much so that they have even got a diet plan named entire after it as the Grapefruit Diet(5). Grapefruit has vitamin C, potassium, folic acid and antioxidants that make it remarkably healthy and beneficial for shedding the extra pounds. The calories in 100 grams of grapefruit amount to 47.
Mushrooms(6) are delicious, meaty and incredibly low in calories (one cup equals 15 calories). Be it portobello, white button, shiitake or maitake, mushrooms are rich in vitamins, potassium, and fibrous content and make for a perfectly healthy, tasty and filling snack.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene which is a potent antioxidant that fights against oxidative stress and provides protection from cancer. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins, potassium and fibrous content. Further, an average-sized tomato contains only 22 calories making it an excellent choice for a perfectly healthy, tasty and filling snack.
This low-calorie cousin of potato with one cup containing 36 calories has a low glycemic index which makes it a favorite for people with diabetes. Turnips are rich in vitamin C and fibrous content and can be eaten raw cubed and tossed in salads.
The sulforaphane contained in watercress helps in protecting the body against multiple health risks. Consumption of crunchy and chilled watercress seasoned with salt and pepper for a healthy and delicious snack that is incredibly low in calories (4 in a cup). It is fulfilling and can curb your appetite instantly(7).
Zucchini is one of the best foods to eat to lose weight. It is shallow in calories (20 in a cup), and at the same time, you can gorge on loads of it without gaining a single ounce of weight. It is richly packed with iron, fibrous content and vitamin A and is appealing and fulfilling as well.
If you want to be as strong and brave as Popeye, then all that you need is a cup of steamed spinach for lunch(7). Spinach is rich in folic acid, iron, vitamins and beta-carotene and phytochemicals that fight against visual problems and cancer. Further, the calorie content of spinach is quite low, only 7 in a cup.
18. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits(8) like limes, lemons, and oranges are not only low in calories (around 20 in a fruit) but high in vitamin C and fibers. Snacking on a couple of oranges or adding a dash of lemon juice to your regular food not only nourishes you with vitamin C but helps in keeping your body weight under control as well.
Kale is an incredibly healthy superfood that forms a part of almost every zero calorie diet plan. Kale is incredibly low in calories (one cup contains only five calories) and richly packed with fibrous content and phytonutrients. Kale is a rich source of nutrients like vitamins that include vitamins A, C, E, K, B6 and folate and minerals like iron and copper. It is also rich in proteins and tastes delicious too.
Pumpkin as a variety of squash is one of the best low-calorie foods. It is shallow in calories (5 in a cup), and at the same time, you can gorge on loads of it without gaining a single ounce of weight. It is richly packed with iron, beta-carotene, fibrous content, and vitamin A and is tasty and fulfilling as well.
Recommended Read: Pumpkin Seed Oil Benefits
Radishes are rich in folic acid, potassium, antioxidants, and compounds of sulfur that help in resolving digestive troubles. Don’t miss out on the leafy crests of radishes that are rich in calcium and vitamin C.Further, calories in a cup measure only 19 making it a healthy choice for snacking.
Whether, green, black, oolong or white, tea in its natural and pure form, unsweetened and unadulterated has zero calories. Besides, tea gets steeped in polyphenolic compounds that are potent antioxidants which fight against oxidative stress, protect against cardiac issues and prevent digestive problems as well.
Recommended Read: EarlGrey Tea Benefits
Fennel is deliciously crunchy and delicious and possesses a smooth licorice flavor. It can soothe a sore throat and even enhance cognitive function. Fennel is very low in calories (one cup amounting to 27 calories) and is highly beneficial for the loss of excess body weight.
24. Chili peppers
Red hot chili peppers(8) are rich in capsaicin and make for deliciously hot and spicy snack when stuffed with veggies and seasoned with salt and lime juice. They are rich in vitamin C as well and incredibly useful for curbing the appetite. Further, these provide much fewer calories. One cup contains around 30.
Plums are one of the best nutritious fruits that are remarkably low in calories (one cup of plum provides 30 calories) and are juicy and delicious. These stone fruits loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients that make it incredibly beneficial for health. These bite-sized snacks are the most nutritious fruits that boost body immunity and even decrease the risks of cardiac problems and cancer.
Read More: Health Benefits of Plum
Here’s something light and fun. Popcorn is a super light snack that you can have whenever you feel a wave of hunger pangs. The calories in a cup of popcorn amount to 31, thus you can enjoy the snack whenever you wish to. Make sure that you don’t add even a spoon of melting butter to it otherwise the light snack will turn into a giant calorie bomb.
27. Honeydew melon
Honeydew melon is one of the best foods to eat to lose weight. It is comparatively low in calories (one cup containing 61), and at the same time, you can gorge on loads of it without gaining a single ounce of weight. It is richly packed with iron, fibrous content and vitamin A and is delicious and fulfilling as well.
Berries(9) of any variety like strawberries, blackberries, blueberries or raspberries are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients that make it incredibly beneficial for health. Half a cup berries contain 32 calories thus you can devour them without much worry. These bite-sized snacks are the most nutritious fruits that boost body immunity and even decrease the risks of cardiac problems and cancer.
Carrots(10) are not only tender and delicious but also incredibly low in calories (half a cup equals 22 calories). This reddish-brown vegetable is powerfully anti-carcinogenic and is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. It is rich with iron, fibrous content, potassium, and folate and is appealing and fulfilling as well. It is also rich in beta-carotene and phytochemicals that fight against visual problems and cancer.
30. Shirataki noodles
Shirataki noodles are gelatinous, translucent, tasty, and provides negligible calories. Although it might not suit everyone’s digestive system, still shirataki noodles is a fun food that ranks high on the list of foods with zero calories.
Zero Calorie Foods That you should Avoid:
Don’t get fooled by the label of zero calorie foods at the retail counters. Long-term consumption of some of these has detrimental effects on the body.
- Fat-free salad dressings
- Sugar-free gums and mints
- Matcha green tea
- Diet Sodas
Zero calorie foods are incredibly beneficial for shedding the excessive body weight but at the same time make sure that your diet is well balanced so that you can stay healthy and fit.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are there negative-calorie foods?
Negative-calorie is a term coined for foods that are extremely low in calories and almost all the calories they produce even more get used up in digesting the food. However, there is no such food. Negative-calorie foods do not exist.
2. Do Calorie-free drinks make you fat?
Yes, calorie-free drinks can make you fat. These may have no calories, but artificial sweeteners may increase your sugar craving, and you end up gulping something unhealthy and loaded with calories.
3. Are very low-calorie diets beneficial for weight loss?
Very low-calorie diets help in breaking the body fat. But these are safe for only those that have BMI over 30. Persons who are overweight but not obese should not include them as one may tend to lose much more fat. It may also result in the formation of gallstones.