How Can Something Have Zero Calories?
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How Can Something Have Zero Calories?

This episode of Dnews is brought to you by Zero-calorie foods are all the rage these
days – but are they REALLY zero calories? And is it even possible for a food to HAVE
zero calories? Hey guys, Tara here for Dnews – and I’m
sure a lot of you out there drink diet soda on occasion, and if so – perhaps you’ve
found yourself wondering at times, “How is it possible that this has zero calories?”
Or for that matter, how can any food have zero calories? It’s an interesting question, and the truth
is – they really can’t. Aside from water, there is no truly zero calorie
food or beverage. And here’s why you probably didn’t know that. First off, most foods labeled as having “zero
calories” – actually DO contain a small amount of calories. But as long as it’s
less than 5, then the FDA legally allows manufacturers to round down – meaning a food with 4.9 calories,
can still be listed as having zero. Splenda, the “zero calorie sweetener,” actually has 3.4 calories per packet. But
for an even better example, let’s look at this product: I Can’t Believe It’s Not
Butter spray. It’s advertised as a non-fat, zero-calorie food with a serving size of 5
sprays. But it’s actually not zero-calorie, it contains 4 calories for every 5 sprays.
And when you consider the fact that its main ingredient, soybean oil – contains about 120
calories per tbsp, then that means the entire bottle – has almost 900 calories, even though
it’s advertising suggests that it is a zero calorie food. So misleading labels are definitely part of
the problem. Another problem is the myth perpetuated around “negative calorie foods.” These
are things like celery or cucumbers, that contain very few calories – and it’s a common
misconception that your body expends more energy digesting them, than the amount of
calories it takes in. Unfortunately, there’s really no science to back that up. Let’s go back to the example of celery.
A single stalk of celery has 6 calories, and the “thermic effect” of celery – which
is the percentage of its calories you burn by digesting it – is around 8%. 8% of 6 calories
is about half of a calorie – which means that even after you account for digestion, your
net calorie consumption is still 5 ½. Obviously that’s negligible in the long run, but it
proves an important point. Foods with the highest thermic effect, are
proteins – which still only have a thermic effect of around 20-35%. Meaning there are
no truly negative-calorie foods or beverages. Except… for ice water. Ice water technically
has zero calories, but your body has to expend extra energy to bring it back up to your normal
body temperature – and for 8 oz of water, that burns about 8 calories. So theoretically,
if you were drinking 8 8oz glasses of ice water a day, you’d be burning about 64 calories
a day – for a year, that equates to 6 ½ pounds. Now as far as weight loss is concerned, it’s
minimal – but of course the other benefits from drinking that much water definitely aren’t. Now, what about foods that are heavy in mass,
but claim to have zero or very low calories? How do those work? Well, the idea is that
those foods are made up of ingredients your body simply can’t break down. If you were
to think about it in very abstract terms, you could almost liken it to eating a piece
of plastic – your body can’t digest it, so it simply passes through your system, meaning
you don’t consume or burn calories from eating it. Now most of the time, foods that are like
that, contain a lot of fiber, which is indigestible by humans – although we still consume it,
because it keeps our intestines flowing and healthy. So if you were to eat a big, heavy
hunk of food that was almost entirely fiber, it would still have an extremely low calorie
count, because your body can’t absorb any of it. So you see, the idea of a zero calorie food
– is pretty much a misconception. Almost all foods, even those labeled as “zero calorie”
– do contain a small amount of calories. And the only true “negative calorie” food
– is water. Which isn’t even a food. EVERYTHING WE KNOW IS WRONG! Switching gears for a second, if you’ve
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what you think of this episode – and if there are any other misconceptions about food you’d
like cleared up. That’s it for me, but as always – thank you guys for watching!


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