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10 zero-calorie foods to add to your plate

Zero-calorie foods can greatly aid your weight loss journey.

10 Zero-Calorie Foods To Add to Your Plate | Juniper

No matter what your goals are, the weight loss journey is one that inevitably sees all of us take a discerning eye to our diets.

From distinguishing the fad diets from those that work with our lifestyles to eliminating entire food groups simply with the hope of shedding those unwanted kilos quickly, it’s safe to say that dieting can be a minefield of heightened emotions, disappointment, and cravings. 

But by shifting your attention from foods to avoid and focusing instead on the right foods to eat, the weight loss journey becomes all the more enjoyable.

Where it used to be the case that you bemoaned tiny portions that left you craving sweet treats in need of an energy boost, you can instead satiate your hunger with nutrient-rich foods that promote a healthy, balanced diet. 

If zero-calorie foods sound too good to be true, we don’t blame you.

But as you’ll discover in this article, several low-calorie foods can help with weight management and energy levels, and even keep you from mindlessly snacking throughout the day.

If you’re looking to kickstart your weight loss journey and curb those unhealthy habits that are holding you back, here’s what you need to know about zero-calorie foods.

What are zero-calorie foods?

Otherwise known as “negative calorie foods”, zero calorie foods have a caloric content so low that the body expends more energy digesting these foods than they contain themselves.

Typically, most foods with very few calories are those that are primarily made up of water and dietary fibre, which have a low energy content — think leafy greens, cucumbers, celery, broccoli, citrus fruits, and cauliflower. 

While the thought of consuming these foods to your heart’s content is appealing, some experts have been quick to argue against foods with zero calories.

Though the body indeed burns calories when breaking down foods, the negative calorie balance is minimal.

Add to the fact that solely consuming zero-calorie foods can leave you deprived of essential nutrients and the energy needed to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle, and the zero-calorie foods myth begins to sound too good to be true. 

Still, there are benefits to consuming almost zero-calorie foods.

We wouldn’t recommend they be the only foods you eat, but they can aid you on your weight loss journey if consumed as part of a healthy, balanced diet, as you’ll discover below.

What are the benefits of eating zero-calorie foods?

If you’ve been trying to lose weight, you may have tried simply eating less — only to find that it’s not really sustainable. Aside from the constant hunger and cravings, it can also greatly deplete your energy levels and leave you fatigued.

Negative-calorie foods can be a great alternative.

Being low in calories and requiring more energy to digest, they can reduce your overall calorie intake, help curb cravings, satiate hunger, and provide essential nutrients as part of a healthy diet. 

With several zero-calorie foods being high in fibre, like asparagus, broccoli, carrots, and celery, they can also help you stay fuller for longer by slowing down digestion.

As a result, you’ll be more inclined to consume fewer calories over a day, which is great for those who struggle with unhealthy habits like compulsive snacking. 

The benefits of dietary fibre can’t be underestimated, with a 2015 study published in Harvard’s Annals of Internal Medicine showing that 30 grams of fibre each day can help you lose weight, lower blood pressure, and improve your body's response to insulin just as effectively as a more complex diet [1].

Do zero-calorie foods help you lose weight?

When incorporated into a balanced diet, zero-calorie foods can greatly aid your weight loss journey.

Eating fewer high-calorie foods is imperative for weight loss, and nutrient-rich, high-fibre foods that are low in calories are a great alternative. 

Overeating and excessive snacking are big contributors to weight gain, even leading to conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and indigestion.

By incorporating a range of zero-calorie food options into your diet, you can overcome the impulse to snack or at least switch your unhealthy snacks to a more nutrient-rich alternative. So, not only do zero-calorie foods assist with weight loss, but they can also help you feel fuller for longer, which is essential for weight management and overall health. 

What happens if you only eat zero-calorie foods?

As we've mentioned already, while zero-calorie foods can certainly aid you on your weight loss journey, it’s crucial that they be incorporated into a healthy diet rather than become the sole foods you consume.

If you only eat zero-calorie foods, you’ll likely feel unsatisfied.

With this excess hunger comes greater cravings, which can lead to excessive snacking and, in some instances, binge eating. 

Like any crash diet, only eating zero-calorie foods can be a recipe for disaster. As well as missing out on essential food groups and their nutrients, you’ll find that this isn’t the kind of diet you can incorporate into your lifestyle for long-lasting results. 

The importance of choosing nutrient-rich zero-calorie foods

Just because they are low in calories doesn’t mean they are low in nutrients.

In fact, most zero-calorie foods are vegetables that are high in fibre, including Brussels sprouts, crunchy root vegetables, iceberg lettuce, and capsicum. As well as being important for a balanced diet, their fibre content can also promote feelings of satiety and help you feel full for longer. 

When it comes to a zero-calorie foods list for health benefits, focusing on those that are nutrient-rich is essential. Macro- and micronutrients are imperative for overall bodily function, as well as keeping the immune system healthy, they also help with the digestive system, provide energy, and assist with muscle recovery.

Studies have found that a diet high in micronutrients even appears to decrease food cravings and overeating behaviours, resulting in sustainable eating patterns that can lead to weight loss [2].

10 zero-calorie foods to support your weight loss journey

When it comes to eating nutrient-rich, zero-calorie foods for weight loss, you want to focus on those that will help you feel satisfied while eating fewer calories.

These 10 zero-calorie foods provide valuable nutrients, all while promoting a healthy diet to support your weight loss goals:

1. Apples

A popular fruit, 1 cup of apples contains 62 calories and 3 grams of dietary fibre. As well as being low in calories, apples also contain vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidant compounds like flavonoid quercetin. 

2. Carrots

A cup of carrots has only 50 calories, but the vegetable is packed with nutrients. Rich in carotenoids, including lutein and beta carotene, carrots can help protect healthy vision and promote immune function. 

3. Broccoli

A cup of broccoli has just 54 calories, yet it provides over 100% of the amount of vitamin C people need per day.

Highly nutritious, studies have shown people who consume cruciferous vegetables like broccoli may be at a lower risk of developing conditions like heart disease and some cancers [3].

4. Papaya

This orange fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, folate, and potassium. In a small papaya, you’ll find just 68 calories, making it a great low-calorie fruit

5. Cauliflower

With 1 cup of cooked cauliflower containing just 40 calories, the vegetable has become a staple for many.

It’s also a great alternative to vegetables with higher carbohydrates or grains, such as cauliflower “rice” and cauliflower pizza bases. 

6. Celery

With its high water content, 1 cup of celery has only 17 calories. While a great snack to enjoy on its own, they can also be paired with something like organic peanut butter for a mix of protein, fat, and fibre.  

7. Cucumbers

This vegetable is versatile and can be added to salads and used to flavour water to help increase your daily water intake. Being mostly made up of water, it’s no surprise they make this list, with a half-cup containing just 8 calories. 

8. Kale

There’s a reason why it seems the world has gone nuts for the dark leafy green that is kale, incorporating it into a range of dishes from salads to curries and morning smoothies.

Packed with high amounts of vitamins A, C and K, as well as manganese and copper, 1 cup of cooked kale has just 49 calories. 

9. Capsicum

With 24 calories in 1 cup of red capsicum, this is a snack that’s worth incorporating into your diet. Research has shown that capsicum is also high in antioxidants including vitamin C and lycopene [4].

10. Strawberries

With just 53 calories in 1 cup of strawberries, you’ll find a highly nutritious and delicious snack.

Along with being packed with vitamins, studies have also shown that regularly consuming berries like strawberries can protect against conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease [5].

While eating zero-calorie foods can help satiate your hunger and see you reach your weight loss goals, it’s important to remember that there are a number of factors to consider.

From your lifestyle to activity levels, genetics, and age, these all significantly impact your weight loss goals. 

So, though zero-calorie foods can certainly help you manage your weight, if it’s long-term success you’re after, consider Juniper’s Weight Reset Programme.

We offer breakthrough weight loss medications to kick-start your journey, with 2 options available: Wegovy, which contains the active ingredient semaglutide and Mounjaro, which contains tirzepatide.

But that's not all: you’ll also receive hands-on support to make the lifestyle changes required to lose weight. If all that isn’t enough, you’ll gain access to certified clinicians who are available and ready to help you every step of the way. 

Whether you’re looking to kickstart your weight loss journey or break those unhealthy habits that may be holding you back from achieving your goal weight, Juniper’s Weight Reset Programme can help you achieve those weight loss goals sooner, and see you stick to them for life.

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