by Alexa Bjorkin

Why is it that some foods that make you fat and others don’t? This because the foods that cause you to gain weight take very little energy to burn. They are processed almost immediately and usually stored in your body as fat. Foods that make you skinnier are usually foods are harder to digest and therefore speed up metabolism by using up more energy during the digestion.

These foods that speed up metabolism are called “negative calorie foods.” Now, these foods do not have some magical properties to just erase the number of calories in your body and write a new, lower number. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Instead, what these foods do is make your body work harder when digesting them. These foods possess a low amount of calories to begin with but are full of fibrous materials that the body cannot easily break down.

What this means is that your body creates more energy to turn the food into fuel (burns more calories) than the total amount of calories in the food to begin with. Thus, there is a negative amount of calories; you’ve used enough energy to burn off the calories of the food you ate PLUS some! Your body then has to use stored fat to convert into energy to finish the digestion process. In turn, you speed up your metabolism.

Did I confuse you? Here is another example. I’ll keep it simple.

Half of a grapefruit contains about 40 calories and it takes your body 90 calories to digest it. You have used all of the grapefruit’s 40 calories PLUS 50 additional calories from stored fat resulting in a net calorie loss. This is where the term negative calories comes from.

For most of us, it works just the opposite. We devour a rich chocolate brownie that contains 175 calories but our body on uses 75 calories to digest it. We now have GAINED 100 calories to be stored as fat for later use. That’s not a good thing. Unless you are working out regularly to burn up those calories, they’re going to just sit there around your waist adding to your already bulging midsection.

I have included below, a comprehensive list consisting of mostly fruits and vegetables, which should help get you started with negative calorie foods that help to raise your metabolism. Use these along with your regular menu items and you should start to see and feel some noticeable changes in your body.

Salads are always a good choice. Create your own using lettuce, tomato, onion, carrots cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower and radish. Be sure not to load up on the salad dressing. You can add toppings like raisins or sunflower used in smaller quantities.

Steamed vegetables make a healthy side dish using foods like broccoli, green beans, spinach, zucchini, carrots, onion, cauliflower, cabbage and asparagus. You can add garlic if you choose.

A low fat fruit cup is a healthy dessert. Try using strawberries, cranberries, mango, orange, pineapple, raspberries, tangerine, papaya, grapefruit, cantaloupe, honeydew, apple slices, and watermelon.

Smoothies are one of my favorites. You can use any combination of the fruits above mixed with ice or low fat frozen yogurt. Remember, you can also use these fruits in their juice form but fresh-squeezed is healthier than juice from concentrate.

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