Counting your daily calorie intake has long been the golden standard of weight loss and maintenance. But recognizing low calorie foods isn’t as straightforward as reading food labels. In fact, almost 50% of food labels inaccurately list their calorie content (1). Below is a list of low calorie fruits and vegetables that will support your weight loss, but calories content isn’t everything.
The Truth About Calorie-Counting
Calories are essentially energy that your body uses to perform all of its tasks: from digestion to blood circulation, and other mechanisms of survival (2). While keeping track of calories ingested and burned can help you lose weight, there’s more to it. Calories from modified foods that contain unhealthy fats and excessive sweeteners are not as satisfying as nutrient-rich foods like avocados and leafy greens. These natural foods help your body burn fat through the digestion of their natural fibers. They also fill you up to make you less likely to overeat.
On the other hand, calories from processed foods are less nutritious, and therefore, less satisfying. This means you are more likely to crave sweets later in the day.
“…counting calories leads to failure 95.4% of the time—and often leaves people fatter,” insists Jonathan Bailor, author of The Calorie Myth. He’s isn’t wrong either.
“Food produces hormonal effects in the body,” explains Jonny Bowden, PhD., CNS, a board-certified nutritionist.”Some hormones say ‘store that fat’; others say ‘release sugar’; others say ‘build muscle.’ Study after study shows that diets based on the same amount of calories, but different proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrates, result in different amounts of weight loss.” (3)
Instead of counting calories, make your calories count by eating smaller portions of protein, fat, or carbohydrate-rich foods and fill up on the low calorie fruits and vegetables below.
14 Low Calorie Foods You Can Eat Every Day
One of these low calorie foods should make its way onto your plate every day.
Cooked onions contain roughly 44 calories per 100g. They’re also packed with phosphorous, potassium, vitamin b6, and vitamin C (4).
Onions are a part of the same family as chives, garlic, scallions and leeks. As such, it contains powerful compounds such as quercetin and sulfur (5). These compounds come together to give onions chemopreventive properties. In fact, researchers believe their rich organosulfur compounds inhibit tumor growth and mutation and fight free radicals.
Additionally, onions contain folate, which fights depression by controlling homocysteine levels in the body. Homocysteine stall nutrient flow to the brain and interferes with the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. They hormones affect mood, sleep, and appetite.
Onions add plenty of flavor to sauces, stir-frys, soups, and salads.