Eating healthy while trying to lose weight is easier when consuming foods that are fat-free and contain little or no calories. Finding nonfat foods is relatively easy because most fruits and vegetables fall in to this category. However, locating calorie-free foods is more difficult because all foods contain calories. It is important to understand that a calorie is considered food energy when food is consumed, as well as physical energy when the body engages in movement, such as running, walking, gardening or cleaning. While calories are necessary for the body to function on a daily basis, eating too many calories causes weight gain.
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Most solid food items contain calories. However, diet beverages, such as diet sodas or sugar-free sport drinks, contain few or no calories. Beverages that qualify as non-calorie drinks include water and some vegetable and fruit juices. Always check package labeling to understand calories contained in beverages. Drinking plenty of water provides additional benefits including curbing appetite, flushing toxins from the body and speeding up metabolism, or the rate at which the body burns calories.
Condiments spice up the foods we eat and are particularly important when dieting. Condiments such as mustard, garlic and balsamic vinegar are practically calorie-free and they add flavor to meals.
Negative-Calorie Fruits and Vegetables
While certain food items can be fat-free, all foods contain calories. However, there are certain fruits and vegetables that are considered negative-calorie foods, or foods that are believed to cause the body to burn more calories than a food item contains. Negative-calorie fruits and vegetables — such as apples, celery, cucumbers, garlic, grapefruit, lettuce and mangoes — make great choices. These foods prompt the body to work harder to break them down during the digestion process. Other foods on the list include broccoli, cabbage, beets, asparagus, cauliflower, lemons, spinach, strawberries, onions and zucchini, to name a few.
Fat-Burning Vegetables and Beverages
Foods that accelerate your metabolism, the rate at which your body burns calories, are defined as fat-burning foods, according to the "New York Daily News." The higher the metabolic rate, the better ability you have to maintain your ideal weight or to lose weight. Fat-burning foods include milk, jalapenos, cayenne pepper, green tea, coffee and lean proteins, such as chicken and salmon. Because these foods contain certain minerals, such as calcium, or chemicals, such as caffeine and capsaicin, ingesting them causes the heart to beat faster and the body temperature to increase. These both impact the metabolism by triggering the body to burn calories at a faster rate.
Natural Nonfat Food and Manufactured Nonfat Food
There are many fat-free food choices for dieters, including fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains, according to the University of Iowa Health Care. Additionally, many food manufacturers now produce fat-free alternatives, such as ice cream, cream cheese, cookies, chips and soups. Package labeling lists fat content of foods based on defined portions. However, keep in mind that most fat-free foods contain calories, and weight gain results when more calories are consumed than burned.