These are also referred to as konjac noodles or miracle noodles. And they’re called miracle noodles for a reason. These noodles are unique in that they are very filling yet very low in calories.
Just an eight-ounce serving contains only about 20 calories. Meanwhile the same amount of regular pasta could “cost you” as much as 300 calories. On top of that, the calories come in the form of insoluble fiber.
When you eat insoluble fiber you take in fewer carb calories, compared to other forms of carbohydrates like soluble fiber, and starches. This is because this type of fiber doesn’t get absorbed entirely.
To be exact, humans only absorb about 1.5 calories per gram of insoluble fiber, compared to the 4 calories per gram that you would absorb if you ate a regular carbohydrate source (full of starch or sugar) instead.
This means that for an eight-ounce serving of shirataki noodles, you effectively only intake 7.5 calories. This effectively makes shirataki noodles one of the best carbohydrates for weight loss and management.
Another carbohydrate that’s similar to shirataki noodles is slim rice, and it can be used as an alternative to it. It only contains about 7 to 9 calories for every 100-gram serving.
To put that into perspective, the same amount of brown rice would give you a little over 110 calories. Slim rice is also gluten-free and made from non-GMO konjac flour. This is the same ingredient that’s used in shirataki noodles. But you can eat it in rice form instead, which might be more suitable for certain meals.
And the good news is that the texture and consistency of the product is similar to regular rice. Since most veggies are also very low in calories, it might not be a bad idea to try steaming some vegetables and serving them along with slim rice for an almost calorie-free meal.
You should know that there are also many claims about konjac root having appetite-suppressing effects. Unfortunately, more studies are needed to confirm this. But if it does help suppress appetite on top of being really low in calories, then it could really help with fat loss even more, especially if you find yourself hungry throughout the day.
Cucumbers are very low in calories and very high in water content, which helps fill you up. Indeed, 97 percent of a cucumber is made up of water and a 100-gram serving of cucumber contains only 15 calories.
This makes adding cucumber to your diet easy, without bumping up your caloric intake by much.
On top of that, research indicates that cucumbers may help reduce and control blood sugar levels, which can help reduce hunger cravings caused by irregular blood sugar levels. (1) For weight loss purposes you should eat the cucumber unpeeled. That’s because it will increase the amount of fiber, helping you feel fuller, and the skin contains much of the vitamins and minerals.
Another very low-calorie food is sugar-free jell-o. This tasty snack contains only 5-10 calories and can help you satisfy your sweet tooth without skyrocketing your caloric intake.
Aside from the low amount of calories, it contains gelatin which has been shown to help reduce appetite and increase the feelings of fullness. (2) There are also brands that contain no preservatives, and if you buy the jell-o pouches you can easily take them on the go with you.
Not only is zucchini mostly made up of water, but it can be used to replace one of the highest-calorie carbs: pasta.
All you need is a spiralizer, and you can very easily crank out some zucchini noodles that can be used in many delicious low-calorie meals.
One simple option for example is to cook them, add salsa, and a little bit of parmesan cheese. Plus, there are plenty of other low-calorie options, like pesto zucchini pasta, that will blow your mind.
Zucchini contains only 17 calories per 100 grams. Meanwhile the same amount of pasta contains 131 calories, and it’s much less filling.
Moreover, just like cucumber, research indicates that zucchini might help reduce and regulate blood sugar levels, which can be beneficial for managing hunger cravings. (3)
Going somewhat back to cucumbers, our next food is pickles. A whole cup of pickles only has 17 calories, and one medium-sized pickle contains only about 1 gram of carbs.
Since pickles are fermented in brine, they offer a unique flavor to your diet. And there are plenty of varieties. For example, if you’re craving a sweet taste, you can get bread-and-butter spears with no sugar added. They’ll only give you around 5-7 calories per spear.
The one thing that you do want to be careful with these is the high amount of salt because it can lead to bloating. But, unless you need to look your best very soon, that water weight can easily be flushed out later.
This is one of my favorite fruits. And even though watermelon doesn’t have zero calories, it still has very few of them for a typical fruit. It contains only 30 calories per 100 gram (roughly 2/3 of a cup). This makes watermelon an excellent weight-loss-friendly food.
For example, one study found that if overweight people eat two cups of watermelon daily, they generally end up consuming fewer calories than they would otherwise, causing them to lose fat over time. (4)
On the other hand, if the overweight participants consumed that same number of calories in the form of cookies, they would feel a lot less full, causing them to overeat and gain fat.
This led researchers to the conclusion that eating watermelon daily could help reduce body weight, BMI, and blood pressure. (5)
One big reason why watermelon is excellent for weight loss is that, as the name implies, it contains a lot of water – 92 percent, to be exact.
This high water content causes the stretch receptors in your stomach’s wall to be activated sending signals to your brain indicating that your stomach is full, leading to a reduction in caloric intake.
Another green vegetable that’s made up of 96 percent water is lettuce. There are all different kinds of lettuce, but what they have in common is that they are all very low in calories.
Every 100-gram serving of lettuce only provides an average of 17 calories, making it an excellent food for controlling your appetite and supporting weight loss.
Now, if you want to select the lettuce variety with the lowest caloric value, you can go for either butterhead lettuce or red leaf lettuce. Both contain only about 13 calories per 100-gram serving.
I know technically chewing gum isn’t a food, since you don’t swallow it. But if you’re looking for a way to reduce cravings between meals, consider sugar-free chewing gum, which usually contains less than 5 calories per piece.
Research from the University of Rhode Island showed that people who chewed gum consumed 68 fewer calories at lunch and they didn’t compensate by eating more later in the day. (6) Chewing gum also helped the study participants satisfy their cravings and resist high-calorie snacks.
Just keep in mind there are now many delicious chewing gum flavors out there, and if you’re not careful you definitely won’t be doing yourself any favors by eating an entire pack of gum all at once.
Celery is a super low-calorie vegetable that is often used as a snack when dieting. Once again, celery has a very high water content. It’s made up of about 95 percent water and contains only 14 calories per 100 grams.
Interestingly, aside from assisting with weight loss, it might provide additional benefits for men. For example, one study found that supplementing with celery leaf extract led to an increase in sperm production, which is beneficial for fertility. (7)
On top of that, data indicates that celery might help you control blood pressure, likely because it contains nitrates. (8) This can also help with one of the major side effects of high blood pressure which is erectile dysfunction. (9)
Moving on to a low-calorie beverage. For a while many nutritionists believed that diet soda was bad for weight loss, even though it’s almost calorie-free. That was because artificial sweeteners were believed to increase hunger along with sugar cravings.
But more recent data showed that some artificial sweeteners can actually be beneficial for weight loss.
For example, one study compared the effects of water and water sweetened with zero-calorie artificial sweeteners.
They aimed to see how each of these would influence weight loss over a 12 week period. They followed up for a full year to observe the participants’ weight trends. (10)
The results showed that the sweetener group lost more fat and regained less of it back during maintenance. And in contrast to what you might expect, the sweetener group was less hungry overall during the diet and they had better dietary compliance. This showed that sweeteners could be an effective tool for weight loss and maintenance.
But aside from weight loss, what about the effect that these sweeteners have on your health? Well in general, artificial sweeteners are not harmful as long as you don’t take in more than the maximum recommended amount, as shown by a wide range of studies. (11)
The only controlled studies that have been able to find side-effects, since these theories emerged, are studies on animals that would consume more sweetener than any sane person ever would, often going 100 or even more than 1,000 times above the maximum recommended daily amount.
Next, I want to give you another great, virtually calorie-free, vegetable – Bok Choy. This is a Chinese white cabbage variety that belongs to the cruciferous category along with vegetables like kale, Brussel sprouts and broccoli.
Bok Choy is made up of about 95 percent water and only has 13 calories per 100-gram serving. It’s also a great addition to soups. Soup in itself, tends to score low in calories while scoring high in relation to filling your stomach.
Moving on we have a vegetable that’s actually not green, but it’s still one of the best virtually calorie-free foods – the radish. Radishes are full of potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.
They’re 95 percent water and they contain about 16 calories per 100 grams. They also contain some fiber, and are excellent for your teeth, gums, nerves, hair and nails.
Throwing them into a salad can help add some flavor, without the additional calories.
#14 Walden Farms Calorie-Free Dressings
Next on our list is the wide variety of Walden Farms Calorie Free Dressings. Many of the foods we’ve covered so far are water-rich vegetables such as cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, celery, Bok Choy, and radishes.
So, what would be a better near-calorie-free meal or appetizer other than a salad? Well, one addition that often turns a low-calorie salad into a calorie-loaded disaster is the dressing that goes along with it.
Salad dressings often contain high amounts of oils that can significantly increase the caloric value of any given meal.
Fortunately, there are alternatives at your disposal. For example, Walden Farms offers calorie-free salad dressings that contain no fat, carbs, or sugars.
They offer a wide range of dressings, including calorie-free French dressing, bacon dressing, balsamic vinaigrette, raspberry vinaigrette, and more. (12)
Just keep in mind – if you dump a ton of dressing into your salad, you will still likely add calories.
Remember the “calorie-free” label is based on the serving size indicated on the bottle. So feel free to add some, just don’t dump the whole bottle into your salad.
Watercress is another great vegetable that can also be thrown into your salad. Just like many of the other vegetables, it’s made up of 95 percent water.
It also contains nitrates, and we’ve already mentioned the benefits that these provide for blood pressure, but dietary nitrates can also help improve exercise performance by relaxing blood vessels and increasing nitric oxide levels.
This helps improve blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles. Also, for dieting purposes, it doesn’t hurt that watercress only contains about 11 calories per 100 grams.
#16 Super low-calorie condiments
Next, I want to mention some super low-calorie condiments that’ll add flavor, while helping with fat loss.
Mustard only has 3 calories per packet or per teaspoon. Frank’s Red Hot, or most hot sauce in general, has virtually zero calories. Horseradish sauce only has about 6 calories per tablespoon.
Salsa only has 4 calories per tablespoon. Heinz reduced Sugar ketchup only has 1 gram of sugar and 5 calories per tablespoon. Soy sauce contains only 9 calories and about 1-2 grams of protein per tablespoon.
So these are all super low-calorie and flavorful condiments that you can add to your meals.
Moving on to another fruit that’s low in calories and great for fat loss – the kiwi fruit. Each unit will give you on average just 42 calories and out of those calories 2.1 grams are in the form of dietary fiber.
Many people experience hunger cravings in the evening. And if you’re on a diet, those cravings might even become so severe that it becomes tough to fall asleep.
Research shows that eating kiwis before bed can help you fall asleep.
For example, in a study where participants ate two kiwifruits one hour before bedtime every night for four weeks, (13) researchers found that they fell asleep faster, experienced better sleep quality, and slept for longer.
They concluded that “kiwifruit could help people get to sleep and stay asleep”. (14)
Tomato is a fruit that’s often confused for a vegetable. Tomatoes are also made up of 95 percent water, and even though many people avoid them when dieting, they only contain 18 calories per 100 grams.
Tomatoes are also one of the best sources of vitamin C and beta carotene, which both support heart health.
They’re also great for your eyes, skin, and immunity, because they are loaded with lycopene as well as a bunch of vitamins including vitamin K, B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6.
Tomato soup can be excellent on a diet because it’s very effective at satiating hunger since it takes up a lot of space in the stomach without costing a lot of calories. Of course, it does depend on where you get or how you make your tomato soup.
While there are some good pre-made tomato soups in the supermarket, many of them contain additions that spike up the calories. So ideally, you’ll want to make it yourself instead. The good news is that it’s really easy.
Start by mixing 500 grams or about 17 ounces of canned, whole tomatoes in juice, and add one chicken stock cube. Then, bring it to a boil in a large saucepan or pot.
Once it is boiling, sprinkle in a bit of stevia and seasoning like garlic to improve the taste. That’s all there is to it. You’ll now have a filling bowl of soup that has only about 59 calories.
Last but not least, water is the best calorie free beverage. Not only does water have 0 calories, but it can help reduce hunger, and assist with weight loss.
Research shows that people that drink water frequently wind up taking in 9% fewer calories on average. (15) Data also shows that it’s especially beneficial to drink water before your meals.
One study found that drinking 500 milliliters of water, or about 17 ounces, 30 minutes before breakfast lowered total calorie intake by 13 percent. (16)
So, try to down a glass of water when eating one or more of the near-calorie-free foods outlined in this post.
So those are 20 of the best lowest-calorie foods. Now I want to provide an example of how you can put all these foods together to create a full course meal consisting of hardly any calories.
You can start by drinking a glass of water at the beginning of your meal. Then start your meal with the tomato soup recipe provided above.
Next you can create a low-calorie noodle salad by boiling shirataki noodles and a bunch of your favorite low-calorie vegetables (like zucchini, celery, Bok choy, broccoli, or cauliflower) and serve it with a calorie-free Walden Farms dressing.
Finish off the meal with a piece of watermelon or a kiwi. If you have an average-sized serving of all of this, you’ll end up with a highly satiating full course meal containing only around 150 calories in total.
So that’s it guys. I really hope this article has helped you out. Also, if you want any extra help with burning fat or losing weight, you should definitely take my fat loss challenge.
You’ll get a customized diet plan, a recipe book, a full workout plan, and an accountability coach to mentor and guide you.
As a bonus, if you’re like many of my clients that are losing 20 pounds or 5 percent of their body fat just by sticking to the program for 6 weeks, I’ll give you the challenge and all the materials for free. To find out more click the link below.
- Research indicates that cucumbers may help reduce and control blood sugar levels, which is beneficial because it might reduce hunger cravings caused by irregular blood sugar levels.
- “A single gelatin meal induces a rise in plasma GLP-1 followed by an increase in serum levels of insulin. These findings may be applied to maximize satiety in obese patients”
- Just like cucumber, research indicates that zucchini might help reduce and regulate blood sugar levels, which can be beneficial for managing hunger cravings.
- Researchers found that if you have overweight people eat two cups of watermelon daily, they generally end up consuming fewer calories than they otherwise would, causing them to lose fat over time.
- “This study shows that reductions in body weight, body mass index (BMI), and blood pressure can be achieved through daily consumption of watermelon, which also improves some factors associated with overweight and obesity”
- Research from the University of Rhode Island showed that people who chewed gum consumed 68 fewer calories at lunch and did not compensate by eating more later in the day.
- Aside from aiding weight loss, celery might be especially beneficial for males. One animal study found that supplementing with celery leaf extract increased sperm production, which is beneficial for fertility.
- Data also indicates that celery might aid blood pressure control, likely because it contains nitrates.
- High blood pressure has been consistently linked to erectile dysfunction.
- Peters et al. compared the effects of water and water sweetened with zero-calorie artificial sweeteners on weight-related outcomes over a 12-week weight-loss period, followed by a 40-week weight maintenance period (full-year study).
- Artificial sweeteners are generally not harmful if you don’t take in more than the maximum recommended amount, as shown by a wide range of studies.
- Walden farms dressings:
- “Twenty-four subjects (2 males, 22 females) 20 to 55 years of age consumed 2 kiwifruits 1 hour before bedtime nightly for 4 weeks.”
- “Kiwifruit consumption may improve sleep onset, duration, and efficiency in adults with self-reported sleep disturbances.”
- Frequent water consumers take in 9% fewer calories.
- It’s especially beneficial to drink that water before your meals. One study found that drinking 500 milliliters of water 30 minutes before breakfast lowered calorie intake by 13%.