Low calories food chart is very important for everyone wants to lose weight. On the contrary of calorie bombs (foods high in calories: high-sugar sweets, high-fat dishes such as chips, and alcoholic beverages), low calories food chart contains fewer calories foods that are known as life-saving foods. What are these life-saving foods? You will discover them and their lists of calories in this article.
What exactly are calories?
Before we focus on low-calorie foods and ask if there are foods without calories, you first need to know what the calories are.
The word “calorie” comes from the Latin word “calor” meaning “heat”. We shorten this word “cal”. The unit “calorie” describes the energy value of a food, that is to say, the amount of energy that the body can draw from this food. Here is, for example, a common definition:
A calorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of liquid water by 1 degree Celsius.
When we talk about calories on a daily basis, we are very imprecise and actually talk about kilocalories, which is a thousand times higher energy. With a kilocalorie, it is no longer a gram of water, but a kilogram of water, the temperature of which can be raised one degree Celsius. This is why we find on food packaging, for energy values, the abbreviation “kcal” corresponding to kilocalories.
Since we are talking about energy values, you have probably already noticed that the number of calories is always indicated as an alternative value. First, we note the energy value in kilojoules (kJ).
In fact, since the end of 2014, the measure in joules has been the only one that is officially valid, because, unlike joules, calories are not part of the measurement units of international physical quantities. Manufacturers then add caloric energy value to their packaging. The conversion coefficient of these two units of measure is as follows:
1 kcal = 4.185 kJ
1 kJ = 0.239 kcal
Finally, with regard to the number of calories contained in food, it is important to know the energy values of the three macro-nutrients, namely carbohydrates, fats and proteins, as well as that of alcohol:
1 g of fat = 9.3 kcal (39 kJ)
1 g carbohydrate = 4.1 kcal (17kJ)
1 g of protein = 4.1 kcal (17 kJ)
1 g of alcohol = 7.1 kcal (30kJ)
What are your energy needs?
Energy needs are individual and depend on various factors such as gender, age, weight, height, and physical activity. To determine your daily energy needs, you first need to calculate your basal metabolic rate. To do this, you can use various formulas, for example this one:
Basic metabolism (females): 655 + (9.5 x [weight in kg]) + (1.9 x [height in cm]) – (4.7 x [age in years])
Basic metabolism (men): 66 + (13.8 x [weight in kg]) + (5.0 x [height in cm]) – (6.8 x [age in years])
When you know how many calories your body needs to function when it is at rest, you can calculate your exact energy needs relatively precisely. This requires taking into account the PAL (Physical Activity Level), the degree of physical activity.
PAL 0,95 – Sleeping
PAL 1,2 – Position only sitting or lying down
PAL 1,4 to 1,5 – Sitting with little or no physical activity
PAL 1.6 to 1.7 – Sitting with physical activity (movement and standing) momentary
PAL 1.8 to 1.9 – Majority movement and standing
PAL 2.0 to 2.4 – Occupation or physically demanding sport
Multiply the PAL value for the above activities by their duration (in hours) on a typical day (24-hour period) and you will get your average PAL Factor, to combine with your basal metabolism to determine your actual energy needs.
Complicated ? Here is an example: we did the calculations for a 35 year old woman, very active saleswoman, measuring 1m73 for 65 kg:
655 + (9.5 x 65) + (1.9 x 173) – (4.7 x 35) = 655 + (617.5) + (328.7) – (164.5) = 1.437 kcal
((0.95 x [7 hours of sleep]) + (1.8 x [8 hours of work as a sales clerk]) + (2 x [2 hours of sport]) + (1.6 x [3 hours of housework] and races]) + (1.4 x [4 hours break / relax])) / 24 = 1.48
Daily energy needs:
1.437 x 1.48 = 2.127 kcal
Good to know: you are reading this page probably because you want to know more about low calorie foods to lose weight. It is clear that to lose extra pounds, you have to buy and eat low calorie foods. Which ? You will know it soon.
Before that, another tip: for a successful diet, no need to take drastic measures and consume as few calories as possible, it’s far from an intelligent solution. A reduced calorie diet must always be accompanied by a higher energy expenditure.
By choosing daily mainly low calorie foods and adopting a significant physical activity, no need to turn for example to sweets without sugar (see below) in case of greedy desire; a forbidden food here and there will do you absolutely no harm. You have to be honest: low-calorie snacks, sugar-free sweets … they are snacks and sweets without any pleasure either. Even if you want to nibble, do it well!
Low calorie foods
If you look at the calories displayed by the three macro-nutrients, you can guess that low-calorie foods certainly contain little fat and that strong alcohols obviously have no place in the group of low-calorie beverages. .
For a low calorie diet, reduce the sugar!
We note that carbohydrates – sugar too – contain as many calories as proteins. So, why do we say that foods containing sugar make you fat and, conversely, that protein-rich foods are perfect for a slimming diet?
One of the answers to this question is that it all depends on the quantity. There is a lot of sugar in a lot of products because sugar, like fat, is a great flavor enhancer. Proteins, on the other hand, are more neutral or even bland in terms of taste, so they are not used to make a product more “tasty”.
Now here is our carbohydrate bomb: the famous gummy bears. They contain 77% carbohydrates (46% sugar) and barely 7% protein. The amount of nutrients is thus almost three times greater, which also affects the energy value: 343 kcal per 100 g.
You see: a very sweet food usually contains a lot more nutrients than a high protein food. However, they can contain a lot of fat, like nuts or some kinds of meat, which of course increases the energy value of these foods.
The least caloric foods are vegetables.
Assuming that high-calorie foods are also high in nutrients, one can guess the characteristics of low-calorie foods: they do not have an overwhelming amount of nutrients but are composed mostly of water, without calories, and fiber, which can not be digested completely. They have an unbeatable energy value of 0-2 kcal per gram.
This is especially true for vegetables. Here is a list of low-calorie vegetables, whose energy value is less than 50 kcal per 100 g of fresh vegetables (Source: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/eat/shop_lcal_fat.htm):
12 kcal – Cucumber
12 kcal – Pak-Choi
13 kcal – Iceberg lettuce
16 kcal – black radish
16 kcal – Chinese cabbage
17 kcal – white asparagus
17 kcal – radicchio salad
17 kcal – pink radish
18 kcal – Tomato
18 kcal – Fennel
18 kcal – Green Asparagus
18 kcal – Chew
20 kcal – Chicory
20 kcal – Eggplant
21 kcal – Broccoli
21 kcal – Cellar shop
21 kcal – Swiss chard
23 kcal – Spinach
23 kcal – Green pepper
25 kcal – White cabbage
27 kcal – Celery root
27 kcal – Squash
28 kcal – Kohlrabi
28 kcal – Onion
28 kcal – Cauliflower
29 kcal – Leek
31 kcal – Jerusalem artichoke
32 kcal – Kale
36 kcal – Brussels sprouts
37 kcal – Yellow bell pepper
39 kcal – Carrot
40 kcal – Red pepper
42 kcal – Onions new
42 kcal – Beetroot
43 kcal – Artichoke
43 kcal – Red pepper
45 kcal – Kale Chou
Low calorie fruits
In addition to vegetables, fruits are also part of the lower calorie foods group. If you look at the list of fruits containing less than 50 kcal per 100 g, you will notice that aside from the rather bitter rhubarb, no fruit can compete with low calorie vegetables.
Low-calorie fruits like lime already contain twice as many calories as cucumber or iceberg lettuce. The reason: most fruits are generally sweeter than vegetables, so they contain more sugar and more nutrients. In comparison with cereals or dairy products, fruits are of course much less caloric.
We notice that, in the list of low-calorie fruits, the great classics that are often found in our fruit bowl are rather badly classified: apples, pears, bananas, mandarins, kiwis, grapes, cherries, mangoes and pineapples display more than 50 kcal per 100 g.
If you wish to adopt a low calorie diet, it will significantly reduce the consumption of fruits mentioned above and focus on berries or exotic fruits such as papaya, pomelo or jack fruit (jackfruit). Be careful with melons: they are certainly low in calories but they are rather big – and heavy. And a whole melon is no longer a low-calorie snack!
14 kcal – Rhubarb
26 kcal – Melon
32 kcal – Strawberries
33 kcal – Currants
35 kcal – Cranberries
36 kcal – Papaya
39 kcal – Watermelon
39 kcal – Lemon
42 kcal – Blueberries
42 kcal – Peaches
43 kcal – Blackberries
43 kcal – Jackfruit Fruit
43 kcal – Raspberries
44 kcal – Nectarines
45 kcal – Plum
45 kcal – Grapefruit
45 kcal – Pomelo
46 kcal – Prickly pear
46 kcal – Cranberry
47 kcal – Orange
48 kcal – Apricot
54 kcal – Apple
62 kcal – Kiwi
93 kcal – Banana
Satiating foods low in calories
There are two main factors responsible for the feeling of fullness: when the stomach is full, and when the body needs more time to separate and assimilate nutrients from food. In other words: the number of calories that one eats plays no role in the feeling of satiety.
A bar of chocolate and its hundreds of calories does not satisfy us absolutely: it weighs only 100 g and therefore takes up very little space in the stomach. In addition, it contains a lot of fat and sugar, and these two nutrients are quickly converted into energy by the body. It does not matter whether he uses this concentrated energy or not, he will very quickly demand new energy.
Another example: nuts. They contain a lot of protein, but especially a lot of fat, which explodes their energy value. Despite this, a handful of nuts cannot be really full either. While the amount of sugar is much lower than in chocolate, which is an advantage, but the stomach is not filled either.
Finally, sugary or alcoholic drinks are still proof that it is not the amount of calories that counts to be satiated. If you drink a bottle of 50 cl of coke, containing 200 calories, you can sit at the table and eat as if nothing had happened. On the other hand, if you eat four apples (200 calories also), you’ll feel stalled before you even sit down for a while.
Let’s take a closer look at low-calorie foods with good satiating power. They should therefore be relatively bulky and consist mainly of nutrients long to digest (complex carbohydrates and proteins) and fiber.
Which foods have these characteristics and can be considered low-calorie satiating foods?
Fish, meat and tofu
Fish and meat contain a lot of protein, which is ideal for feeling full: unlike carbohydrates and fats, proteins are not, in themselves, a source of energy for the body but a raw material to be transformed into energy – a process that requires energy itself, so it burns calories. In addition, meat and fish have a high water content, which makes them bulky in the stomach.
All criteria are met when it is a portion of meat or lean fish of 200 g. A 200g beef steak brings about 20g of fat and 40g of protein – for about 330 calories.
The turkey breast is also low in calories: 200 g of turkey breast contains 45 g of protein and only 5 g of fat, for only 220 calories. Even lower in calories: some kinds of fish! 200 g of hake net provides 34 g of protein and less than 2 g of fat, an almost ridiculous energy value of 150 calories.
For vegetarians and vegans, “protein” is also the watchword for being satiated without detonating the calorie counter. 200 g of tofu contain about 32 g of protein, 3 g of fiber for just 20 g of fat and a water content of 75%, for a total of 320 calories.
Fruits, vegetables and legumes
Generally, fruits and vegetables contain a lot of fiber. Both are often not only low in calories (see above) but also make you feel full quickly. The cabbage and its different varieties are also on the first step of the podium in terms of low calorie foods and high satiating power.
The most well-known accompaniment to arrive quickly to satiety is yet the potato. It can be named in this category of food without a bad conscience: 200 g of raw potato brings 150 calories, which is little when one considers its multiple nutriments – in particular its proteins, particularly easy to assimilate – and its good satiating power.
Pulses are among the best foods low in calories and high satiating power of plant origin. They are rich in proteins and complex carbohydrates. A classic box of 255 g of red beans provides 40 g of carbohydrates and 19 g of protein, as well as about 1 g of fat, for 273 kcal and a good satiating power.
Good to know: a good protein shake as a dessert after a vegetable dish improves the macro-nutrient balance for a small amount of calories; a vegetable dish is low in calories and, by nature, low in protein therefore imbalanced if one considers the amount of the three macro-nutrients present.
Low-fat dairy products are good sources of low-calorie protein. The classic for people wishing to lose weight but also bodybuilders and athletes in general, is of course the fresh lean cheese.
The small portions of 250 g already make you feel full – and for good reason: 30 g of protein, 10 g of carbohydrates and barely 1 g of fat for only 170 kcal. Just add a few pieces of fresh, low-calorie fruit and you’ll have a great healthy snack. If you are still hungry, take the large portion of 500 g; with its 340 kcal, it remains relatively low in calories.
The best alternative to lean cream cheese is skyr. Originally from Iceland, this dairy specialty has almost the same nutritional value with one difference: a lighter, creamier consistency, and a slightly more acidic flavor. The skyr is ideal for your salad sauces or various dips.
Whole grain foods
Bread, pasta and rice are now somewhat “demonized” in these times when the trend is low carb, especially when we aim for a diet low in calories. And yet! When you choose wholegrain foods, you will certainly consume calories, but above all, a lot of fiber, a lot of protein and important micronutrients.
And since breads, pasta and whole rice have a strong satiating power, we do not consume gigantic portions either. The total number of calories consumed therefore remains reasonable. We can thus count 60 g of raw rice to accompany a main course, bringing only 200 kcal but especially of sustainable energy and a feeling of satiety faster.
Or why not whole bread: a slice of whole bread weighs about fifty grams, for a hundred calories. A breakfast consisting of three slices of wholemeal bread and their low-calorie accompaniment (spreadable or in slices of cold cuts or cheese) does not even count 500 kcal but allows you to hold until lunch without any problem. In low-calorie, low-sugar diets, the white bread baguette will be your worst enemy food stall.
Are there foods containing zero calories?
Yes there is ! These are mainly drinks: apart from water, black coffee and unsweetened tea contain very few calories, or even zero. There are also drinks called “light”, whose energy value is close to 0 kcal.
However, it does not help to draw up a list of drinks without calories since everything has already been said. Anything other than your glass will contain calories. Foods containing very few calories are also liquid; among them are very fine and diluted soups and broths.
Apart from these drinks and soups, it is impossible to find another food containing no calories (except salt): the calories come, as we mentioned before, macronutrients; macronutrients that must contain food to have a more or less solid consistency, otherwise they would have no shape.
The body needs energy, therefore calories, during the digestion process. To digest some very low calorie foods, the body needs more energy than the amount delivered by this food.
It is difficult to say exactly how many calories and with what foods this phenomenon takes place, but there are situations where we no longer speak of a food without calories but rather of a food with “negative calories”.
On paper, there is no food without calories, but are there even lower calorie foods than the lowest-calorie vegetable listed above? Or, in other words: what is actually the lowest calorie food? Here are new foods that meet this criterion:
Jelly prepared with sweeteners: about 8 kcal per 100 g