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List of Foods That Burn Calories to Digest

author image Alia Butler
Alia Butler holds a Master of Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis, concentrating in mental health, and a Master of Arts in social-organizational psychology from Columbia University. Currently, Butler is a freelance writer, penning articles focusing on mental health, healthy living and issues surrounding work-life balance. She is the principle/owner of ALIA Living, LLC, providing residential interior design services, professional organizing and life coaching.
List of Foods That Burn Calories to Digest
Mixed nuts with dried fruit in a bowl. Photo Credit Stepan Popov/iStock/Getty Images


Fuel your body needs to function comes in the form of food. The act of digesting this food for fuel requires your body to expend energy. Therefore, eating any foods will cause your body to burn calories in the digestive process. Some foods require you to use more energy and, therefore, more calories are burned during digestion.


Nuts are a food that requires your body to expend a significant amount of calories as they are digested. Although nuts are high in calories, the extra calories that are required to digest nuts help make up for some of the added calories. The reason that nuts require more energy to digest is due to their high amounts of protein and fiber.

In addition, to their increased calorie burning qualities nuts are high in healthy unsaturated fat, which means that they have heart healthy benefits. It is important to eat nuts in moderation because their high calorie amount could lead to some unnecessary weight gain. Nuts can be used to top salads, as snacks and mixed into dishes. Eating nuts in this way will increase the calories burned as the meal or snack digests.

Spicy Food

Adding hot peppers or other spicy herbs to your meal can increase the amount of calories your body burns in the act of digestion The Diet Channel website reports that spicy foods have been shown to raise your metabolic rate. When your metabolic rate increases, your body is using more energy, which increases the amount of calories you burn.

Cold Water

Drinking cold water requires your body to expend more energy than room temperature water or hot water. When you drink cold water, your body uses slightly more energy to warm the water up as it moves through your body. Since water is a calorie-free drink, the act of drinking cold water results in burning more calories.


Foods rich in fiber digest slowly in your body. This slow digestive process requires your body to use energy for longer periods of time. Therefore, high fiber foods burn more calories in the digestive process when compared to foods low in fiber such as refined carbohydrates. High fiber food choices include beans, whole grains and vegetables.

The benefits of eating high fiber foods is that they keep you feeling full for longer periods of time and they are generally low in calories.

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