However, there is actually no such thing as a negative calorie food, if your definition of negative calorie food is that more calories are required to digest, aborb and assimilate the food than are contained in the food. You may notice that fruits and vegetables make up most negative calorie food lists, but protein foods have the highest thermic effect. Not only do lean proteins have the highest thermic effect, research has proven that proteins are the most satiating and they help suppress the appetite better than other foods. In this context, there is a grain of truth to the theory of negative calorie foods, but only if you're referring to the fact that some calories are burned in the digestive process, leaving a net calorie intake lower than the gross calories.
Another possible interpretation of negative calorie foods is in the case of high fiber foods. Certain foods such as low calorie fruits and especially fibrous and green vegetables, which are extremely low in calorie density, do not provide very many metabolizable calories and some of the calories are not absorbed.
For nutritional bang for your buck, you're actually better off choosing darker greens such as Romaine lettuce, spinach, collard greens, kale, arugula, swiss chard, mustard greens and turnip greens. When you look at various foods from this perspective you can see that eating more lean protein foods and more fruits and vegetables which have a high fiber content, may be more conducive to a fat loss program.
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Since the process of digestion requires the use of calories for energy, sometimes the net amount of metabolizable energy available from a food is less than the gross number of calories contained in the food. In reality, the energy required to digest the food is only a small percentage of the total calories. Part of the caloric energy in fiber cannot be used by the human body and is passed through the digestive tract unabsorbed. In that sense, like the thermic effect of food, you could say there is a "negative calorie" effect. Since we can't absorb the calories from this dietary fiber, this probably helps explain the origin of the myth that celery has negative calories. However, it is a myth that there are negative calorie foods which require more calories to digest than they contain.
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In a protein food like a chicken breast, if a serving contained 200 calories, 30% or 60 calories may be required for the process of digestion. The truth of the matter is that celery doesn't contain much of anything - it's very low in nutrients and calories. I find that by adding celery into some of my recipes, it adds crunch and gives a meal more bulk, so you feel fuller on less calories. Two large stalks of celery contain only 20 calories, with 1 gram of protein, 2 grams of carbs and no fat.
However, that does NOT mean it takes more calories to digest the celery than the celery contains.
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