While there are really no negative calorie foods, several products have extremely low calorie content.

A low-calorie diet can help people who are overweight or obese shed pounds. A doctor may recommend healthy weight loss. A few dangers do exist, however.

Low-calorie diets are defined, as well as the number of calories in various foods and the benefits of intermittent fasting in this article. Weight loss and almost zero calorie foods will also be included in the guide. (1

Let’s start!

Requirements for Daily Calories

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 recommends a daily calorie intake based on age, gender, and physical activity level.

However, this serves as a general guide because calorie needs vary widely from person to person and are influenced by various variables such as height, weight, and weight loss objectives. (1)

Weight Loss Tips

Experts say that to shed pounds properly, and people should:

  • For six months, your weight loss goal should be 1–2 pounds per week.
  • Reduce their daily calorie intake by 500–1,000.
  • On most days, do 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise.

The weight loss should be evaluated after six months, and future actions should be considered. (1)

Diets That Have Very Few Calories

Some low-calorie diets set daily caloric intake limits, such as 1,200 or 1,500 calories for women and 1,500 for men. (2)

When trying to shed pounds on a low-calorie diet, it's critical to ensure that the food you're consuming is well-balanced nutritionally. (2)

On the internet, you can get a wide variety of meal plans. A nutritionist-designed diet is preferable because it ensures that the meals are rich in essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which are necessary for good health. (2)

Getting adequate nutrition requires consuming sufficient calories from whole, unprocessed foods. As an example, a 1,320-calorie burger dinner with fries and cola would not be enough to meet a person's daily nutrient requirements. (2)

Diets with Low Calorie Count

You're following an extremely low-calorie diet at a daily caloric intake of less than 800. Some extremely low-calorie diets call for a daily calorie intake of just 500. It is perilous for a person to embark on a calorie-restricted diet without medical supervision. (2)

Those with obesity who cannot have bariatric surgery may benefit from a highly low-calorie diet to lose weight rapidly and safely.

A doctor may prescribe a liquid form of an extremely low-calorie diet for a set period. Vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and fatty acids will all be included in the concoction. Monitor weight loss and blood pressure and do blood tests to confirm that the patient is within healthy norms. (2)

Intermittent Fasting

An intermittent fasting diet entails alternating fasting times and periods of eating normally. In this method, a person alternates between days of normal eating and days in which they restrict their caloric intake by 25% or more. (3)

On certain days of the week, a person can fast for the entire day. You can eat as much as you like on five days of the week and only 400–500 calories on the other two. (3)

People who follow this method only eat within a set period, such as 8 am to 3 pm, then fast for the rest of the day, allowing them to lose weight. The 16:8 diet is one of several variations on this theme. (3)

Some studies on intermittent fasting imply that the body's adaptations to calorie restriction may limit subsequent weight reduction, but this is not universally accepted. (3)

Calorie Content of Various Food Types

The amount of calories in various foods varies according to the amount of macronutrients in those foods.

This is what the USDA has to say about it:

  • carbs provide 4 calories per gram
  • fat provides 9 calories per gram
  • protein provides 4 calories per gram

People can find out how many calories are in different foods using an online calculator or app. Apps often allow people to input meals they regularly eat to calculate how many calories they consume daily. (4)

Several ways to improve or maintain one's health include low-carb, low-fat, and even high-fat diets. A low-fat diet is a simple and effective strategy to reduce calorie intake. (4)

There are more calories in fat per gram than in protein or carbs. Hence doctors may recommend a low-fat diet to patients. Some evidence suggests high-fat foods such as cookies, cakes, French fries, and another fatty fare may be less nutritionally dense than fruits and vegetables.  (4)

There are "good fats" and "bad fats" in fat consumption. People's ability to make well-informed dietary decisions is enhanced when they know the distinctions.

Low Calorie Vegetables and Fruits

A person's ability to feel complete while simultaneously reducing the number of calories they consume daily is one-way low-calorie foods can facilitate weight loss.  (4)

The consumption of nutrient-dense foods that are lower in calories can help a person reduce the overall number of calories they consume in a day, which can assist them in either losing weight or keeping it healthy.  (4)

A well-balanced diet should include both high-calorie and low-calorie foods. For example, meals heavy in good fats, such as eggs, nuts, seeds, and avocados, are significantly more caloric than foods like fruits and vegetables, yet they are still nutritious. (4)

The combination of calorie-dense foods like those described above with lower-calorie foods like fruits and vegetables can make meals more fulfilling and filling. In addition, substituting some high-calorie items for low-calorie foods will encourage healthy weight loss and enhance other health aspects. (4)

Replace your donut with an apple or some sautéed veggies, and you'll save calories and gain additional nutrients, including plant components, from your food. (4)

A complete meal can be created by combining low-calorie meals with higher-calorie ones. As mentioned above, there is no zero calorie food. However, several low-calorie foods are available on the market and here are the top 20 for your consideration.

1. Apples

Apples are highly nutritious, and it's no surprise that they are one of the most popular fruits in the United States.  Apple slices include 62 calories and about 3 grams of dietary fiber per cup (109 grams). Apples are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, as well as the flavonoid quercetin, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. (5)

2. Asparagus 

Asparagus comes in three colors: green, white, and purple, and it is a flowering plant. All forms of asparagus are good for you because they contain a wide range of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and plant chemicals that fight inflammation and free radicals. (5)

Studies have shown, for example, that asparagus includes phenolic components such as flavonoids and sulfur-containing compounds such as asparagusic acid. Cooked asparagus provides only 38 calories and is a good source of vitamin K and folate, contributing 67% and 21% of the DVs, respectively. (5)

3. Beets

In addition to red and orange, beets come in various colorful hues, such as yellow, green, and purple. Vitamins such as folate and manganese, as well as phytonutrients like betalains and phenolic compounds, may have heart-healthy characteristics. Cooked beets offer 17% of the daily value (DV) for folate and 11% of the daily value (DV) for manganese in a 1-cup serving (170 grams). (5)

4. Broccoli

Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers in persons who eat a lot of them. Broccoli calories only amount to 54 calories per cup (155 grams) and provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommended vitamin C intake for most people. (5)

5. Brussels sprouts and Alfalfa sprouts

A vegetable that resembles miniature cabbages is deliciously served, either raw or cooked. Brussels sprouts are a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, including broccoli. Vitamin C, a substance that protects cells from oxidative damage, is abundant in them. In only one cooked cup (155 grams) of these nutrient-dense foods, you'll get 70 calories and 119% of your daily need for vitamin C. (5)

Alfalfa sprouts calories are lesser though. It only has 23 calories per 100 grams.

6. Cabbage

In addition to cabbage, cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. Slaws, salads, and fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi all use it as a key ingredient. Cabbage calories is very minimal, with just 22 calories in a cup (89 grams). (5)

7. Carrots 

Carrots have a mild sweetness and a crisp texture and are packed with vitamins and minerals. The most common kind is orange, but carrots come in many hues, including white, yellow, and purple. (5)

Carotenoids, including lutein and beta carotene, are crucial for eye health, immunological function, and other functions. The body can turn some carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, into vitamin A's active metabolite. (5)

Carrot slices in a 1-cup portion (122 grams) have 50 calories and over 100% of the daily value (DV) for vitamin A. (5)

8. Cauliflower

As a white blossom with green foliage, cauliflower is commonly recognized. Some variants have heads that are purple, orange, or yellow. Cauliflower has grown in popularity as a low-carbohydrate replacement in recent years. Among individuals on low-carb diets, cauliflower "rice" and cauliflower pizza crusts are popular. A cooked cauliflower serving weighs about 155 grams and has 40 calories and 8 grams carbohydrates.  (5)

9. Celery

Celery is low in calories because of its high water content. For a classic combo of protein, fat, and fiber in a snack, try dipping celery sticks in natural peanut butter and topping them with a sprinkle of raisins. Celery calories is juts 17 in 120 grams. (5)

10. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a popular salad ingredient because of their cooling properties. Fruits and herbs can also be used to flavor water or produce a low-calorie basis for protein meals like tuna or chicken salad. Half a cup (52 grams) of cucumbers, which contain only 8 calories, is an excellent low-calorie snack. (5)

11. Grapefruit

Citrus fruits, like grapefruits, are well-known for their acidic taste. They're delicious on their own or as a garnish for yogurt, salad, or even grilled fish. Grapefruits and other citrus fruits contain nutrients and plant chemicals that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. (5)

Because of this, it may be beneficial to include citrus fruits in your diet to improve the health of your heart, brain, and other vital organs. Half a grapefruit (123 grams) contains 37 calories. (5)

12. Iceberg lettuce

The high water content of iceberg lettuce is well-known. Salads and burgers, and sandwiches both benefit from their inclusion.

Iceberg lettuce is a good source of several nutrients, including vitamin K, provitamin A, and folate, despite the common belief that it is less nutritious than other lettuce. Iceberg lettuce provides only 8 calories per cup (57 grams). (5)

13. Jicama

Jicama is a white potato-looking tuber vegetable. The texture of this vegetable is similar to that of a crisp apple, and it is commonly eaten raw. Fiber, vitamin C, and potassium are all abundant in jicama. (5)

Over 29% of the daily value (DV) for vitamin C may be found in only one cup (130 grams) of raw jicama, which has only 49 calories. (5)

14. Kale

Over the last few years, Kale has become increasingly popular as a result of its outstanding nutritional profile. (5)

There are many different ways to incorporate kale into your diet. Kale is an excellent source of provitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and copper, among other nutrients. (5)

Cooked kale has only 49 calories per cup (130 grams) and provides more than 100% of the daily value (DV) for vitamins C and K. (5)

15. White mushrooms

Some fungi produce reproductive bodies called mushrooms, which are neither a vegetable nor meat. Nevertheless, some vegetarians and vegans substitute them for meat. (5)

For each cooked cup of mushrooms, you'll get about 44 calories and a variety of key minerals, including B vitamins and selenium (156 grams).  (5)

16. Onions

There are numerous health benefits of eating onions, which are low in calories. A high-allium vegetable diet, like onions and garlic, has been shown to lessen the risk of heart and renal disease, among other things. A medium-cooked onion (148 grams) has about 70 calories, even though the flavor varies depending on the variety. (5

17. Peppers

Peppers occur in a wide range of hues, forms, and sizes. Bell peppers and jalapenos are two common varieties. According to studies, vitamin C and lycopene are found in significant concentrations in bell peppers, according to studies. One cup (92 grams) of sliced red bell peppers has only 24 calories. (5)

18. Papaya

The papaya is a bright orange fruit with black seeds. Typically, it is grown in tropical areas. Provitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and potassium are just a few of the nutrients abundant in this food. There are only 68 calories in 157-gram papaya. (5)

19. Radish

Radishes are a lovely and healthful complement to salads and grain dishes and are available in various colors. Vitamin C, potassium, and folate are all found in radishes and other minerals. Only 19 calories are contained in one cup (116 grams). (5)

20. Strawberries

Strawberries are both delicious and nutrient-dense. Their versatility in cooking comes from their ability to go well with sweet and salty flavors. To keep your brain and heart-healthy, you may want to eat berries like strawberries regularly. Sliced strawberries provide only 53 calories in a cup (166 grams).  (5)


There is a wide range of food that is not only low in calories but also offers a sizeable number of vitamins and minerals in just one serving. These may be found in both plant and animal sources. (6)

The vast majority of these foods are various kinds of fruits and vegetables, both of which are packed full of nutrients that are good for your body and contribute to overall wellness. (6)

People who are trying to lose weight may find it beneficial to substitute some snacks and foods that are higher in calories with alternatives that are lower in calories but higher in nutrients. This can be a helpful step in the weight loss process. (6)

However, the fact that a product has a lower overall number of calories does not necessarily imply that it is superior to meals with a more significant total number of calories. (6)

This is because other factors come into play. Your body needs an adequate amount of calories each day to function to the best of its ability and to keep you feeling as well as is humanly feasible. (6)

It is not a sound practice to choose foods based on the number of calories they offer. Instead, you should focus on selecting foods according to their nutritional density, which refers to the amount of nutrients delivered by food in relation to the number of calories it supplies. (7)

Eating a variety of meals that are lower in calories, such as fruits and vegetables, in addition to other foods with more significant amounts of protein and fats (and, as a result, calories), is an intelligent way to support maximum health and wellness because it allows you to consume a broader range of nutrients. (7)

People who follow diets that are low in calories may find that they lose weight more quickly, but it is unclear whether these diets are successful in the long run. If you want to lose weight healthily, you should follow a doctor's advice and avoid going on a very low-calorie diet unless a physician gives you special instructions. (7)

You may keep track of the calories you consume daily when using an app or an online meal planner to plan your meals for the week. A healthy diet and consistent physical activity are prerequisites for successful weight loss, but they are insufficient. (7)


  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/zero-calorie-foods 
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zero-calorie-foods 
  3. https://nypost.com/2017/01/11/20-zero-calorie-foods-to-snack-on-guilt-free/ 
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/fruits_vegetables.html 
  5. https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/low-calorie-vegetables.php 
  6. https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/get-something-for-nothing-25-nearly-calorie-free-foods 
  7. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/art-20044318 

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