There’s No Such Thing As Zero Calories

Lately, every health site seems to have an article about negative calorie foods, or zero calorie foods. It’s the percieved magic bullet to weight loss. Looking at lables can be a bit deceptive. There is a lot of wiggle room here, so let me define what makes something fall into that category.

4665700087_compA negative calorie food implies that your body uses more calories to digest it, than is present in the food itself. According to the Mayo Clinic, your body uses 5-10% of it’s energy to digest food and store it’s nutrients, making this plausable in theory. However, no reputable research supports this concept. The high fiber and water content as well as the low calorie counts of food such as celery, cucumbers and lettuce make them smart choices for those trying to lose weight, whether or not those calories are negated completly.

A zero calorie food could potentially have more than that. The FDA allows manufacturs to state that the food is calorie free if it has less than 5 calories per serving. If you only use one serving, it won’t make much of a difference in your weight, so while mildly deceptive, it’s really no big deal. That is, if you only use one serving.

A woman in Nebraska is suing Parkay spray butter for false advertising claims. It seems that the fat free, calorie free product actually has 832 calories and 93 grams of fat in an 8 oz. container. The woman in question consumed two bottles a week, before realizing something was up.

A 1.2 pound bag of Splenda contains 1,100 teaspoon sized servings. It also contains 2,200 calories per bag, and 96 calories per cup. That’s a lot of nothing, isn’t it?

More importantly, these faux foods are made up of potentially harmful ingredients. Chances are, if you “can’t believe it’s not butter,” it’s because it’s not.

While drowning your diet friendly vegetables in mock butter isn’t that common (is it?) using more than the 5 squirts recommended on the label probably is. And many people I know, use 2 Splenda’s in their coffee or tea, and consume many cups per day.
While these items do have less calories than their counterparts, they have many more reasons to avoid them.

Bottom line: There’s no such thing as a free ride.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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2 Responses to “There’s No Such Thing As Zero Calories”

  1. Marla Aaron Says:

    Debbie downer😘i shd have read this before i ate the loaf of bread.

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