A New Version of an Old-Fashioned Theory

A man standing at a window eating a bowl of leafy greens

The Negative Calorie Diet is the newest version of the old-fashioned theory that certain foods have no impact on your weight because they contain negative calories. This means it takes more energy to chew, breakdown and process them than they contain.

Superstar chef Rocco Dispirito published the book, "The Negative Calorie Diet" in 2015 to capitalize on the myth that certain foods won't impact your weight. The book and diet plan are simple. Dispirito offers delicious-sounding recipes made with wholesome ingredients that promise to help you burn more fat, lose weight and provide a boost to your metabolism.

The Negative Calorie Diet is not a miraculous way to drop pounds, but it does give you a way to clean up your eating habits and potentially lose weight in the process. While you'll enjoy smaller portion sizes, the foods included tend to make you feel full and satisfied.

How the Plan Works

Dispirito's plan begins with a kick-start cleanse that lasts 10 days. Following this detox plan, you'll move on to a 20-day meal plan. The book provides a step-by-step guide so there's no confusion about when to eat, nor will you have to worry about straying by making the "wrong" choices.

The foods he lists as being "negative" in calories are almonds, apples, berries, celery, citrus, cucumbers, leafy greens, mushrooms, cruciferous vegetables and nightshades – specifically peppers, tomatoes and eggplant.

He also includes 75 recipes, grocery shopping lists, adaptions for kids and families and a guide to eating out. Additionally, the book provides tools that can help you develop more healthful, plant-based eating habits for long-term weight control and good health.

The Myth of Negative Calories

Although Dispirito offers a solid way to manage your weight, the assertion that certain foods truly have negative calories is a bit misleading.

No research supports the theory that certain foods have negative calories. You'll notice many of the foods on Dispirito's list – such as leafy greens and celery – have negligible calories to start. Eating large amounts of them aren't going to put you in a calorie deficit, but they're certainly unlikely to make a major impact on your calorie intake either.

Purported negative calorie foods also tend to have high fiber and water contents, too. This makes them more filling, so they contribute to greater satiation. If you increase your intake of these foods, you won't automatically lose weight – but they could have the effect of filling you up faster so you're less likely to reach for second helpings and high calorie snacks.